Near the Armenian border, this Turkish city was a part of the Armenian Kingdom during antiquity. It is now an important military town. Kars is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ani, which was the Bagratid capital in the 10th Century. Kars was captured in the 11th Century by the Seljuk Turks and then taken by the Mongols in the 13th Century. It became a part of the Ottoman Empire in 1514. The city successfully held back the Iranians and the Russians before eventually falling to the Russians in 1828. It was returned to Turkey in 1918. The Soviet Union attempted to reclaim Kars as a part of the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic in the 1940s and failed.
Kars is famous for its cheese and livestock. It has interesting architecture leftover from when it was a part of Russia and the Kars River runs down the city center. There is an ancient Seljuk bridge that connects the two sides of the city.
What Can I See When Visiting Ani?
Ani is an ancient ruined city. At one time it had 1001 churches. You can walk in and around several of the cathedrals. You can still see a large portion of the city walls. In one section of the city, you can walk among what was once streets full of shops and markets.
Pro tip: When you get to the far side of the ruins (on the back side of the large cathedral), be sure to look down the drop-off for what was once a bridge that connected the Armenian side and Turkish side of the river - prior to the areas being under their current governments.
Before entering the site, there are several shops with souvenirs and snacks. There is also a toilet.
Time of year tip: We suggest not visiting in the winter months when there could be snow. We tried to visit in February one year and it was impossible to see the road as it was covered in snow. Once we arrived, the wind was so strong that it was miserable and the visibility was low which greatly hindered the impact of the site. It would be miserable for children at this cold temperature.
The spring, summer, and fall are absolutely gorgeous.
How Long Does it Take to Walk Around Ani?
You should allot at least half a day to walk around all of the ruins.
What Can I Do with Kids at Ani?
Kids that love to run, walk, and explore will really enjoy Ani. They can run and explore the ruins to their hearts' content.
Is it Good for Kids and Toddlers?
Ani is great for kids with one warning. The newer mosque has windows that open to the cliff with no safety rails. The cliffs typically have no protective barriers. You should be mindful and keep your little ones away from the cliff edges.
Most of the dirt paths would be ok with a jogging stroller or for baby-wearing.
What are the Age Restrictions?
No age restrictions but bear in mind that there is a alot of walking.
One thing to consider is that Ani is directly on the border with Armenia. Please take this into consideration before flying drones for videography and photography.
Where is Ani?
Ani is approximately 45 minutes from Kars.
How do I get to Ani?
The best option is to stay in Kars overnight and visit Ani in the morning. From Kars, you can catch a tour bus or hire a car. There is no public transportation directly to Ani.
If you choose to travel with SilkRoad Moments Tourism, we will arrange this transportation for you.
How Much Are Tickets?
It costs 22 Turkish Lira to enter.
Where Can I Get Tickets?
You can purchase tickets at the entrance of the museum.
Details and Map
Şehitler, Şehitlik Caddesi No:87, 36000 Ocaklı/Kars Merkez/Kars