RUINS OF ANI: A Journey Through Armenia's Medieval Capital and Its Legacy
By Krikor Balakian, Edited by Peter Balakian with Aram Arkun
From the tenth to the thirteenth centuries, the city of Ani was the jewel of the Armenian kingdom, renowned far and wide for its magnificent buildings. Known as the city of 1001 churches, Ani was a center for artistic innovation, and its architecture is a potential missing link between Byzantine and Gothic styles. By the fifteenth century, Ani was virtually abandoned, its stunning buildings left to crumble. Yet its ruins have remained a symbol of cultural accomplishment that looms large in the Armenian imagination.
The Ruins of Ani is a unique combination of history, art criticism, and travel memoir that takes readers on a thousand-year journey in search of past splendors. Today, Ani is a popular tourist site in Turkey, but the city has been falsified in its presentation by the Turkish government in order to erase Armenian history in the wake of the Armenian Genocide. This timely publication also raises questions about the preservation of major historic monuments in the face of post atrocity campaigns of cultural erasure.
Originally written by young priest Krikor Balakian in 1910, just a few years before the Armenian genocide, this book offers a powerful and poignant counterpart to Balakian’s acclaimed genocide memoir Armenian Golgotha. This new translation by the author’s great-nephew, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Peter Balakian, eloquently renders the book’s vivid descriptions and lyrical prose into English. Including a new introduction that explores Ani’s continued relevance in the twenty-first century, The Ruins of Ani will give readers a new appreciation for this lost city’s status as a pinnacle of both Armenian civilization and human achievement.