Ancient settlement of Ani in the eastern province of Kars attracts more tourists during winter months. Officials say the number of visitors tripled after the Eastern Express became more accessible
A nostalgic train line from the capital Ankara to the eastern province of Kars has tripled the number of people visiting the ancient city of Ani, once the seat of an Armenian kingdom and now on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Located close to the Arpaçay district on the Turkish-Armenian border in Kars, Ani was the capital of Armenian royalties between 961 and 1045 A.D. at the time of the Bagratuni Dynasty. Home to 11th and 12th century structures of Islamic architecture, Ani entered the tentative UNESCO World Heritage list in 2012 and the permanent list on July 15, 2016.
The first settlement in Ani dates back to the 3000s B.C.; it later became home to many civilizations including the Saka Turks, Sasanians, Bagratuni Dynasty, Byzantine, Seljuk, Ottomans and Russians.
Tourists arriving in Kars, after disembarking from the Eastern Express, visit the Cıbıltepe and Sarıkamış ski centers and Çıldır Lake and then visit the the ancient city of Ani.