From early antiquity, the Armenian people developed a rich and distinctive culture on the great highland plateau extending from eastern Asia Minor to the Caucasus. On that crossroad, they interacted on many levels with civilizations of the Orient and Occident.
Armenian Kars and Ani represents a departure from the preceding volumes in this series which have focused on the historic Western Armenian provinces, cities, and communities that were encompassed in the Ottoman Empire. In modern history, Kars and Ani were very much a part of Eastern or Russian Armenia, and, even after the Turkish border was pushed eastward again in the aftermath of World War I, the Russian and Caucasian influences in the region remained manifest in its urban planning and architecture and in its music, cuisine, and other forms of popular culture.
Historically, Ani, lying along the right bank of the Akhurian (Arpachai) River in the great plain of Shirak, outshone Kars (Vanand) as the medieval Bagratuni/Bagratid kingdom’s last illustrious capital city, with its great walls and grand palaces and its fabled thousand and one churches. But Kars preceded Ani as the Bagratuni capital and, what was more, continued to exist as a regional administrative center long after the decline and ultimate abandonment of Ani. Hence, while the histories of the two neighboring Armenian cities are linked, they are also quite distinct.
The UCLA conference series, “Historic Armenian Cities and Provinces,” is organized by the Holder of the Armenian Educational Foundation Chair in Modern Armenian History with the purpose of exploring and illuminating the historical, political, cultural, religious, social, and economic legacies of a people rooted for millennia on the Armenian highland.
Armenian Kars and Ani is the tenth of the conference proceedings to be published. Scholars from various disciplines present the history and culture of the region across the centuries until its de-Armenianization between 1918 and 1921. Other volumes in this series include Armenian Van/Vaspurakan; Baghesh/Bitlis and Taron/Mush; Tsopk/Kharpert; Karin/Erzerum; Sebastia/Sivas and Lesser Armenia; Tigranakert/Diarbekir and Edessa/Urfa; Cilicia; Pontus—Trebizond-Black Sea Communities; and Constantinople.