Lately, Turkish archaeologists published their discoveries made near the ancient Armenian capital, Ani (now located in the Turkish Kars Province). They include an irrigation network and storm channels connected to a vast chain of belowground tunnels dug beneath Ani.
The ancient, powerful Ani, the capital of the state of the Armenian Bagratuni dynasty, now stands abandoned and ruined. At its peak, Ani contested with such cities as Constantinople, Baghdad, and Cairo in terms of both size and influence.
By the 11th century, the population of Ani has been over 100,000 people. Renowned for its magnificence and luxury, the city has been called the “the city of 40 gates” and “the city of 1001 churches”.
Later, the city became a battlefield for various rival empires, leading to Ani’s fall and destruction. Today, Ani is a forgotten ghost-city located in modern Turkey.
Giving a speech in the recent “International Ani-Kars symposium”, historian Sezai Yazici said that the catacombs, locked monastic cells, huge corridors, complex tunnels, incredible traps, as well as corners making people lose orientation are just a fraction of what had been discovered at this ancient site.
Over 800 underground, more than 500 meters long structures have been found. Most of them were used as residences. Other buildings included churches, water channels, dovecotes, etc. The researchers compared the underground passages and structures.
According to Yazici, these discoveries had been inspired by the works of G.I. Gurdjieff, who together with his companion Pogossian visited the ruins of Ani and found a number of passages with rotten furniture, pottery, and piles of parchments in monastic cells.
Although Gurdjieff had a perfect command of Armenian (he was born in Armenia), he could not understand a single word from the parchments as they were written in Classical Armenian (also known as Grabar).
Those records containing mentions of an ancient esoteric brotherhood intrigued Gurdjieff. According to Yazici, Gurdjieff was the first to mention the monastery beneath the ruins of Ani.
Below are several photos of the temple taken by the researchers.