Turkey // Northeastern Anatolia //

The Armenian ruins

Centuries of Armenian rule have bequeathed eastern Turkey a series of superb ruins that pepper the modern-day border; most are made from a peach-coloured stone known as duf. Many visitors find this area even more scenic than the one that holds the Georgian ruins: think lofty, rolling fields instead of crinkle-cut valleys. You’re almost certain to pass through Kars, the main city and transport hub, especially if you’re heading to Ani, justifiably the best-known complex, and certainly up there with the best ruins in all Turkey. Once the Armenian capital, it now possesses an isolated, decaying grandeur carrying subtle echoes of former glories. Also in the area are the complexes of Karmir Vank and Horomos, though the latter is currently closed to tourists. Further afield, the churches at both Khtskonk and Mren are accessible from the small town of Digor.