By Ismail Kaplan
KARS, Turkey (AA) - The ancient city of Ani, an archaeological site located in Turkey's northeastern Kars province, amazes visitors with its extraordinary waterfalls and natural beauty.
Known as "the world city" or "cradle of civilizations,” Ani was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2016.
Located on Turkey-Armenia border, Ani is one of the greatest historical and cultural gems in the country.
Ani was home to Urartu, Iskit, Persian, Macedonian, Slevkos, Arsaguni, Sasani and Kamsaragan civilizations, until it was conquered by Muslim armies in year 643.
Ani was ruled by Bagrationi dynasty in 884-1045, and by Byzantium in 1045-1064.
It was conquered by Sultan Alparslan in Aug. 16, 1064.
The site standing on an 85 hectare-area was home to many civilizations and languages throughout history, including Armenian, Greek, Turkish, Arabic, Georgian, Persian from 970 to 1320.
Muslims and Christians lived side by side in Ani for centuries.
- Ani was home to at least 23 civilizations
Ani has been home to at least 23 civilizations, and there are many historical mosques, churches, cathedrals and cultural treasures.
Ani is also the first entrance to Anatolia from the Caucasus, for that reason it has a specific importance.
It stands on Arpacay Canyon and the historical Silk Road route. Two waterfalls and the green nature in the region await the visitors.
It has hosted many local and international visitors.
Ani brings together historical and natural beauties, thus attracts many history and nature enthusiasts, Ozgen Besli, a photographer, told Anadolu Agency.
"Ani is amazing. There are two waterfalls, 4.5 kilometers away from the ruins. These waterfalls are fed with natural spring water," Besli said.
Both in winter and in summer time, waterfalls are spectacular, he added.
"I came here to admire the nature and take nature photos. The view soothes my soul. The ancient city of Ani is very beautiful and I invite everyone to come here in all seasons, to enjoy the beauties, and take photographs," the artist said.