11 May 2003, 02:40

Ani

The lock and fortress of medieval Armenia on a right coast of river Ahurjan (Arpachaj), nowadays in Vilajet Kars in Turkey. In V-VIII centuries possession of princes Kamsarakans, and then Bagrateeds, under which Ani became a capital of the Ani empire (since 961). In X-XIII centuries Ani was the largest economic, political and cultural centre of Armenia. In 1045 it was seized by Byzantium, in 1064 - by seldzhuks, who destroyed it heavily. In 1199 together with a part of Northern Armenia it was part of the Georgian empire. At the end of XII - the beginning of XIII centuries it experienced a new bloom. In 1236 it was taken by Mongols, then destroyed, and since XIV century had lost its value. In XVI centuryAni was mentioned as a village. In 1878 it joined Russia, after the I World War departed to Turkey.

Ruins of Ani were kept by one of the major centres of Armenian architecture of X-XIV centuries. As a result of excavation of 1892-93 and 1904-16 years ruins of a palace, hotels, temples and other constructions and city quarters were open. Among valuable monuments: the rests of powerful fortifications with towers (989) which were repeatidly completed and became stronger in XI-XIII centuries; a majestic cathedral (989-1001; dome 3-nave basilica) and round layer Grigory's church (Gagikashen, 1001-10), constructed by architect Trdat; graceful pluralapse centralized layer churches: Abugamrents (Grigory, 2nd part of X century), the Savior (1036), "Shepherd's" (XI century (?)); Ripsime temple of the Maiden monastery (XIII century); church of Tigran Onents (1215) like a dome hall with carved ornaments and frescos; gavit of the Apostles church (XIII century) with a flat stone mosaic ceiling, a palace of paron (XII-XIII centuries), etc. In the Gagikashen church a unique round statue of king Gagika I holding a church model was found (but was not kept).

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