Ani is a city in Eastern Anatolia. It is the ruined capital of the ancient Armenian empire. Ani exudes the eerie ambiance of a ghost town surrounded by the remote landscape of the Turkish steppe. If a visit can timed for June the vast flat plains are teeming with wildflowers. It is a truly unique and must see destination for any traveler to Eastern Anatolia.
By Taxi At the moment there is no public transportation to Ani. As of June 2008 a major highway was under construction running past Ani towards the Armenian border, possibly in anticipation of the border opening, which could allow for new bus routes. However, it is easy to hire a taxi for the day, ask at your hotel in Kars and expect to pay around 100 Lira (four people) for a five hour trip, including two hours driving time.
Ani covers a small area and is easily traversed on foot. However, access to certain areas is often restricted due to the proximity to the Armenian border and ongoing tensions between Turkey and Armenia. So make sure to ask your driver about current restrictions.
There are several well preserved Armenian churches, most of which date from the late tenth century to early eleventh century. The most distinctive is perhaps the church of Christ the Redeemer, split nearly perfectly in half by lightning, but still standing. Additionally there are smaller structures, which were once homes, the remains of the cities castle walls, and a fortress overlooking the ruins.
If the fortress is open to tourists, it is worth scrambling up the rocky path for the excellent views over Ani and the Turkish steppe
There are no accommodations in Ani, and there are only a smattering of homes surrounding it. The nearest major city is Kars, from which Ani is an easy day trip.