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March 3, 2015  15:13

Turkey targets Ani to be included in UNESCO World Heritage List

Work is continuing at the ancient ruins of Ani, a 5,000-year-old Armenian city located in present-day Turkey near the Armenian border in the eastern province of Kars, with an eye on including the site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, according to Asbarez.

STEPANAKERT, MARCH 3, ARTSAKHPRESS: Located some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the city of Kars, another historic Armenian city, Ani is today one of major tourist attractions in Turkey. Local Culture and Tourism Director Hakan Doğanay said salvage excavations in Ani will be headed this year by Pamukkale University Classical Archaeology Department Professor Fahriye Bayram.

Doğanay said projects regarding the restoration of the ancient city’s walls have now been finished, with the aim of putting Ani on the UNESCO’s heritage list. “[Ani] may enter the UNESCO list during the meeting to be held in Oslo in 2016. We predict that 2015-2016 will be the years of Kars and the ancient ruins of Ani. The Culture and Tourism Ministry has provided us with great support on this issue,” Anadolu Agency quoted him as saying. “We will also bring over 21 new artifacts from various cultures, making the best use of cultural heritage in our region,” Doğanay added.

“Ani is a treasure for us that should be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.” Ani, which occupies 78 hectares of land and is surrounded by 4,500-meter-long ramparts, was once the capital of a medieval Armenian kingdom that covered much of present-day Armenia and eastern Turkey. Ani is protected on its eastern side by a ravine formed by the Akhurian River and on its western side by the Bostanlar or Tzaghkotzadzor Balley. The Akhurian is a branch of the Aras River and forms part of the current border between Turkey and Armenia. Dubbed the “City of 1,001 Churches,” Ani stood on various trade routes, and its many religious buildings, palaces, and fortifications were among the most technically and artistically advanced structures in the world at the time, according to specialists.

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