Below are the reflections of Turkish writer Tacettin Durmuş on the current state of the ruins of Ani, one of the ancient capitals of Armenia. The author expresses concern about the indifference of the Turkish authorities to the historical monuments of Ani.
“Except for us, everyone thinks that “Ani is worth the world, but the world is not worth Ani”. And local and foreign tourists, walking around Ani, ask each other this question – “The ruins of Ani or Ani’s grave?”
At the same time, in the thousand-year Ani, the cradle of many civilizations that has been turned into a pasture for animals, work is underway to take measures against the pandemic.
Visitors swallow dust
Ancient Ani, surrounded by a 4.5km fence enclosing 78 hectares, is in an unenviable state due to neglect. The state of the historical monuments that have somehow survived in Ani continues to upset visitors, especially in terms of pollution.
The interior and exterior of the still-standing historical monuments simply evoke a feeling of shame, and it has become impossible to find a trash can nearby. In particular, the interior of the church of Tigran Khonents, also known as the “Church with frescoes”, has been turned into a garbage dump, and the wooden structure built to preserve the church resembles a fence.
As for the buildings adjacent to the interiors of historical monuments, visitors have to breathe the ash and dust that have sat on them for millennia.
The history of the city of Ani cannot be told through shameful billboards
In order to reveal the historical face of Ani, it is necessary that the relevant departments and local institutions take responsibility and begin to resolve this issue.
A lot of money was spent several years ago to make billboards depicting these historical monuments. However, all of them are now in a deplorable state because they have been smashed.
The poor condition of the signs depicting historic buildings surprises visitors. The signs with images of monuments that have survived for thousands of years and the inscriptions on them have become illegible, and this saddens tourists.
Visitors who spot animal waste express their surprise and pain. It became known that billboards depicting historical monuments on the ruins of Ani had been “destroyed by animals brought here for grazing.”
On the other hand, the poor condition of Ani’s all structures that have no analogs in the world and the lack of a sufficient number of billboards representing history is Ani’s tragicomic problem, the value of which we do not know.
Local and foreign visitors strolling through the ruins of Ani cannot get enough information about the preserved history of the city. Tourists leave Ani, having received false information.
It is necessary to conduct archaeological excavations over a larger area, 12 months a year, in order to extract historical samples as quickly as possible and present them to the world. Hidden underground for thousands of years, these treasures will shed light on history. Excavations need to be carried out all year round so that people living today can see them before they die.”