ARMENIAN KARS AND ANI
Edited by Richard G. Hovannisian
From early antiquity, the Armenian people developed a rich and distinctive culture on the great highland plateau extending from eastern Asia Minor to the Caucasus. On that crossroad, they interacted on many levels with civilizations of the Orient and Occident.
In modern history, Kars and Ani were very much a part of Eastern or Russian Armenia, and, even after the Turkish border was pushed eastward again in the aftermath of World War I, the Russian and Caucasian influences in the region remained manifest in its urban planning and architecture and in its music, cuisine, and other forms of popular culture.
Historically, Ani, lying along the right bank of the Akhurian (Arpachai) River in the great plain of Shirak, outshone Kars (Vanand) as the medieval Bagratuni/Bagratid kingdom’s last illustrious capital city, with its great walls and grand palaces and its fabled thousand and one churches. But Kars preceded Ani as the Bagratuni capital and, what was more, continued to exist as a regional administrative center long after the decline and ultimate abandonment of Ani