Between the biblical Mount Ararat and the Persian Gulf,
far into Iran live by the banks of the Tigris Kurds - in the focal point of the Middle East.
In the wake of waves of immigration of Indo-Aryans to West Iran and have mixed with the local population.
This region was part of the ancient oriental empires of Sumer, Assyria, Urartu and the Medes. "
(click on map to enlarge)
Down from the Pontic Mountains, we arrive to Kurdistan begins the unofficial northern border of Kurdistan
Situated on the eastern border of Turkey, across the Akhurian River from Armenia, lies the empty, crumbling site of the once-great metropolis of Ani, known as "the city of a thousand and one churches." Founded more than 1.600 years ago, Ani was situated on several trade routes, and grew to become a walled city of more than 100.000 residents by the 11th century. In the centuries that followed, Ani and the surrounding region were conquered hundreds of times -- Byzantine emperors, Ottoman Turks, Armenians, nomadic Kurds, Georgians, and Russians claimed and reclaimed the area, repeatedly attacking and chasing out residents. By the 1300s, Ani was in steep decline, and it was completely abandoned by the 1700s. Rediscovered and romanticized in the 19th century, the city had a brief moment of fame, only to be closed off by World War I and the later events of the Armenian Genocide that left the region an empty, militarized no-man's land. The ruins crumbled at the hands of many: looters, vandals, Turks who tried to eliminate Armenian history from the area, clumsy archaeological digs, well-intentioned people who made poor attempts at restoration, and Mother Nature herself. Restrictions on travel to Ani have eased in the past decade, allowing the following photos to be taken.
Panoramic view of Ani, the former capital of Armenia
Panoramic view of the the medieval north walls
A contract from the Caucasus
The Armenian, the Azerbaijani, and the Georgian Soviet Republic agreed on the 13th of October, 1921, as a predecessor of a Union of Soviet Socialist Republics with Turkey, which had not yet been formed, on the frontier in the formerly Armenian and Kurdish populated regions on the southern shores of the Black Sea . With this treaty, the former Ottoman port of Batum, together with the Adzhari region, became an autonomous region of Georgia and Nakhchivan of Azerbaijan, while Turkey was able to lay down its claim to the area of Kars between the nuclear armed forces and the Black Sea. ( see also the News article [in German] )
Click for a lot of portraits, snapshots
of people I met in Caucasus and on Silk Road
with the kind support of kulturreisen-gordion.de