Ani – An Armenian ruin overlooking the USSR

Ani is a ruined medieval Armenian city now situated in Turkey’s province of Kars, next to the closed border with Armenia. Ani is a widely recognized cultural, religious, and national heritage symbol for Armenians. Now the river marks the border between Turkey and independent Armenia, in 1983 it was the iron curtain frontier between NATO and the USSR. Ani was declared a World Heritage site by the UNESCO in 2016.

The city is located on a triangular site, visually dramatic and naturally defensive, protected on its eastern side by the ravine of the Akhurian River which marks the border. The visit was strictly regulated and required a permit from the Turkish military. No photos were allowed and we were accompanied throughout by a soldier, but I managed take a few. They let us walk down to the river bank and we threw stones into the USSR!!

Turkey 🇹🇷 to the left, USSR to the right across the river. Soviet military facilities in the background
A literal stone throw from the USSR – note the USSR watchtower in the background
Church of the Redeemers
Ani Cathedral

Only those photos I was able to take when the solider was not looking!! So much more to see and record now.

Date of Visit: August 1983

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