The City of Ani: Celebrating the 1050th Anniversary

2011 marks the 1050th Anniversary of Ani, also known as the city of one-thousand-and-one churches. This ancient Armenian city, filled with the remains of the architectural masterpieces built throughout the ages, has survived centuries of suffering, caused by both nature and man himself. Lying amongst the holy rubble is the rich history of the previous settlers of Ani, never to be forgotten.

To commemorate the anniversary of the holy city, on Saturday 5th November 2011, Hamazkayin London presented an event held at the Navasartian Centre in London, which intertwined the artistic, cultural and factual aspects of Ani. The evening began with an exhibition of amazing photographs by well-known Armenian photographer Zaven Sargsyan, of the churches and landscapes in and around Ani at present. The atmosphere captured by the images was unreal; and all of a sudden our surroundings became a derelict village, around which was scattered the crumbling remains of the handiwork of our forefathers. After the exhibition and an opening speech by Zvart Stepanian, made on behalf of Hamazkayin London’s executive committee, there followed a short extract from a film by Artur Bakhtamyan, “Yerkir Nairi”.

Following the film there were a number of short presentations performed by the youth of Hamazkayin, each of which represented Ani at a different depth and from a different stance. Anna Avekian read “A History of Ani” by Dr Richard Hovannisian, followed by Salbee Beshirian who provided the audience with a brief timeline of Ani. Ike Stepanian and Arda Haladjian performed a reading of a poem about Ani by Daniel Varoujan, and Vahé Boghosian presented an overview of Underground Ani.

This segment was followed by wine and canapés, and the opportunity for guests to enjoy the high-quality photographs. It was an excellent opportunity to widen one’s knowledge of one of the most beautiful cities of historical Armenia, as well as an evening of pride and commemoration of the city we once had.

— Ike Stepanian

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