Ani Ruins on Verge of Vanishing


Today’s Zaman
, Istanbul, 25 October 2010

A new report issued by the San Francisco-based Global Heritage Fund (GHF) has warned that the ruins of Ani are on the verge of vanishing because of mismanagement and neglect.

Located in Turkey’s Kars province, the ruins belonged to the medieval city of Ani, once the capital of an Armenian kingdom.


Today’s Zaman
, Istanbul, 25 October 2010

A new report issued by the San Francisco-based Global Heritage Fund (GHF) has warned that the ruins of Ani are on the verge of vanishing because of mismanagement and neglect.

Located in Turkey’s Kars province, the ruins belonged to the medieval city of Ani, once the capital of an Armenian kingdom.

The report identifies nearly 200 heritage sites in developing nations as being at risk, highlighting 12 in particular as being on the verge of irreparable loss and destruction. Three sites in the Middle East — Iraq’s Nineveh, Palestine’s Hisham’s Palace, and Turkey’s Ani — are among those most in danger. The ruined city of Ani, on the border of Turkey and Armenia, dates back to the 11th century.

According to the GHF report, many of Ani’s remaining buildings are now on the brink of collapse. The report said the ruins are under threat from regular picnickers and homeless people who take shelter in its buildings.

The ruins came into spotlight last month when Turkish nationalists performed Muslim prayers there in response to a service which Ankara recently permitted to go ahead in an Armenian church in eastern Turkey. The prayers came less than two weeks after the service on Van’s Akdamar Island in a church that had been closed for services since the 1915 incidents during the World War I.

GHF executive director Jeff Morgan told CNN that Ani is probably one of the top 10 sites in the world, right up there with Machu Picchu and Angkor Wat. For him, Ani has been “caught in a political morass,” because of its position on the border of two countries — Turkey and Armenia — that don’t have diplomatic relations. Morgan also argued that restoring these heritage sites will attract tourism that can pay for their ongoing preservation and bring sustainable income to local communities.

 

1 comment
  1. Ani Ruins

    What the disreputable Global Heritage Fund (GHF) won’t say in their press releases is  how, six years ago, they manipulated and bribed their way into getting "exclusivity" over Ani. By dangling in front of the Turks the bait of getting access to millions of dollars of funds from unnamed Japanese foundations, they managed to remove from Ani the team of archaeologists from the Sorbonne who had done about a decade of work there. When they left, their funding went with them. And then the GHF’s promised "millions" failed to materialise because GHF has no money; it just acts as a middle man, seeking out sites to exploit (for a substantial fee, of course) and when it gets its required exclusive access, only then attempts to find funding from international agencies, NGOs, charities, corporate or private foundations, etc. All possibilities of getting such funding ended with the global recession.

    In August 2005 I was at Ani the same day as Jeff Morgan and his staff made a secret visit to take preliminary photographs of Ani, while trying not to be seen by any of the French archaeologists working there. The French words those archaeologists later used to describe Morgan’s unprofessional actions were not the type of words you learn in school books.

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