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Flag turkey Ani boy smoking, Turkey.

Saturday, October 10 2009

5 years, 2 months, 18 days

Ani, Turkey

About Travel Photography,
Colors of the World.

Manfred is creator of, travel photography, a travel blog and a photography blog (a journey from 2004 to 2013). 'I set out to see the colors of the world, always I try to capture the colors'.

Seeing, is understanding, so I report and photograph, but formost enjoy and live those different conceptions of life (all that TV [and the web] cannot give). I reject jealousy, animosity, bigotry. Be free!

Manfred in the desert of the Western Sahara

The mind, when pondering at night and always asked those questions. What am I doing in corporate wonderland of bank, university, office or church? Who is the other animal asleep deep inside, the thinker, punk, creative, or Indian, vagabond and healer, maybe artist, writer, photographer, traveler, globetrotter? Oh God, dare you to think. When I saw the lies, gambles and manipulations I follow the old dream and set out for the journey of life lived, the journey to see the colors of the world.

During years on the road I have taken the turns as they came along, and realized one thing: Only such a small part of the planet can be explored and such a vast land and sea mass will always remain unknown, to me; many swamps, jungles, deserts and oceans will never be traveled. But then I am father of twin boys, Daniel and David, my most important, and I show them some of the wonders and colors out there.

ThisFabTrek, Photography and Journey, the Stories from the Road and Life around the World, stopped in August 2013 after more than 9 years, Love and Peace.

Last vehicle.

G20, Chevy Gladiator.

Chevrolet Gladiator G20, The boys in Cordillera Blanca, Peru.
The boys and Chevy van, Peru.

The G20, the vehicle that came to me for the Americas adventures.

6 wheeled Land Rover.

Land Rover Defender 6x6
Link to Foley

The vehicle of the Africa adventures, a Foley 6-Wheeled Land Rover Defender.

Before, the MB307.

Manfred and MB307
Journey, Middle East.

The vehicle of the Middle-East and North-Cape Journeys. See all vehicles.

Daniel and David with nanny Aisha, the best we ever had, black African Woman carrying white twin babies, in Bamako, Mali.

current MB307 10,334km

Trekking 447km

Ferry 1,668km

Train 3,938km

Land Rover 73,588km

Other cars 80,445km

Travel Blog

contains Festival/Fiesta/Art photography.

"There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo.

"What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it, to tell the tale." Living to Tell the Tale - Gabriel García Márquez.

"They never taught wandering in any school I attended. ... they never taught the art of writing a book, either. It's all so mysterious."
"Wandering is an art in itself. Wandering and writing don't mix"
"Writing demands commitment and if one thing your wanderer is allergic to is that very quality of commitment, for once one is committed he runs that very risk of failure ..." Wanderer - Sterling Hayden.

"Photography enables you to grasp a place first time round. ... Photography is a means of exploration, it's a vital part of travel, almost as essential as a car or a plane. " - Wim Wenders.

"The worst prejudice we acquire during our youth is the idea that life is serious. Children have the right instincts: they know that life is not serious, and treat it as a game..." , Egon Friedell.

"How far you gonna go. Before you lose your way back home" - Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around The World, Achtung Baby, U2.

"If you want to be a hero well just follow me." - Working Class Hero, John Lennon.

"When I think of all the things I have done, I know that it's only just begun." - I love you, Lou Reed.

"One does not escape the Sahara - the Sahara let's you go or not" - Touareg.

"Planet earth is blue and there`s nothing I can do" - This is Ground Control to Major Tom, David Bowie.

"Glory for the crazy people/in this stupid world" - Ahmed Fouad Negm. > journey > asia > turkey > 20091010-ani

Ani is a sad/fascinating place.

Sattelite view, Ani.

Download GPS (KML) track/waypoints.

In the evening of the 10th I return from Ani (wiki) to Kars again; it is cold and rainy after a pretty clear day. It has been a sad day.

Ani lies at the farthest eastern edge of Turkey, separated from Armenia by the deep ravines of the Akhurian River.

Glorious Ani was once the capital of medieval Armenia (Virtual Ani), Ani was maybe the 4th most important city in the then world, placed on important trade routes, known for its splendour and magnificence, rivalled only by Constantinople, Cairo and Bagdad. At around 1000 A.D. Ani had 100,000 to 200,000 inhabitants; it was called the city of 1001 churches. Ani produced shapes, arches and domes in an artistic architectural way at a time when Europe was dormant, Europe would not come up with anything similar for another 200 years.

But the Christian glory was short lived. Muslims started having an influence since 1064 on when the Seljuks moved through first. Georgians and Shaddadids, a Kurdish clan exchanged powers over Ani many times thereafter. Finally with the Mongol sacking starting in 13th c. the final decline of Ani set in. And - what the wars and invasions could not accomplish the many earthquakes and thunder storms managed. By the 18th c. it was totally abandoned.

Storm struck Church of the Holy Redeemer. Ani.
Storm struck Church of the Holy Redeemer.

Kids in Ani, Turkey.
Ani childern.

Ani is a place of destruction over a thousand of years: Worst, what had remained intact of churches, palaces, city walls and mosques fell in the early 20th century to the hatred of Armenians and Turks. The Turks claim an Armenian priest used dynamite on some minaret of some mosque in 1919 (if I remember the year correctly), but no word is mentioned on apparent explosives’ use on many churches around shortly after when Ani fell to the Turks again, “the monuments of Ani to be wiped off the face of the earth” was the order.

Restoration of Grand mosque Ani.

Ani is a city abandoned for centuries, so much is buried under meters of rubble; not much has been professionally excavated since decades, much has been carted away by treasure hunters, so much destroyed by vandals. The Turkish state is widely being accused for allowing for dilettante excavations and rebuilding over the past 5 decades, all is considered to have destroyed more than it has revealed or recovered. (documented by Virtual Ani, rape of Ani.)

So I enter through the great walls, a Saturday, some Turkish/Kurdish tourists and many children from the village nearby.

Huge spider.

Ani is now widely left to the cows and the boys that herd them, the flies sit on their dung, thousands of grasshoppers swirl around, small lizards seek flight in the gaps between the stones and one monster spider trots my way at the end of the day, makes me shudder, when I sit on the grass pondering the destructions. Its sheer size makes me tremble, fearing he could jump at me I forget to set the camera and hold it still, forget for a moment what is below the grass and the rubble of centuries.

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The Church of the Redeemer (Surb Prkich).

I drift left, towards the Akhurian River, the ravine; there stands what is left of the Church of the Redeemer after half a storm cut it in half in 1955. Seems this place was not spared anything.

Church of the holu redeemer, Ani, Turkey.
Church of the Redeemer.
Surp Prkich, Church of the holy redeemer Ani.
Surb Prkich.
Engravings on rubble, Armenian Church of the redeemer Ani, Turkey
Engravings on rubble.
Half of the Church of the holy Redeemer in Ani, Turkey.
Half is left.
Children play in the ruis of Surp Prkich. Ani.
A kids playground.
Church of the holy redeemer in Ani, Cathedral far in back.
Cathedral away in back.

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St. Gregory of Tigran Honents.

The cathedral is not far, but I turn towards the river. Underneath at the edge of the cliff lies the magnificent partly restored church of St Gregory of Tigran Honents. Built early 13th c.; before the Mongol invasion. The inside captures through impressive blue frescoes on walls and dome, beautiful.

St. Gregory of Tigran Honents, Muslim women on slope. Ani, Turkey.
St. Gregory of Tigran Honents.
St. Gregory of Tigran Honents, Akhurian River. Ani.
Akhurian River.
Tigran Honents Armenian church. Blue Frescoes.
Magnificant dome and frescoes. St. Gregory of Tigran Honents. Ani
Magnificant dome.
Women inside of St. Gregory of Tigran Honents.
Women Muslim tourists.
Inside the St. Gregory of Tigran Honents Armenian church.
Armenian church.
Front view of St. Gregory of Tigran Honents, Ani.
Front frescoes.
St. Gregory of Tigran Honents.
St. Gregory of Tigran Honents.

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Virgines Chapel/Monastery and the Akhurian river/valley.

A stone throw further south in the valley a minuscule Virgins’ chapel or monastery, perched at the slopes. Even further away down in the valley the remains of the Ani bridge over the Arpa/Akhurian river. Ani on the trade routes; what spectacle must it have been to see caravans of traders and cattle and soldiers come through?

Virgines' chapel Ani. Akhurian ravine.
Virgines' chapel Ani.
Virgines monastery, Ani.
Genc Kislar.
View on Akhurian River from Ulu mosque, Ani.
View on from Ulu mosque.
Ani, Genc Kislar, inside.
Inside, domes.
Akhurian River Valley.
Valley of the Akhurian River.

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Ani Cathedral.

The Cathedral is Ani’s largest remaining and most important building, gives an idea of Ani’s grandeur. Construction started end of 10th c. Later it became a mosque and then again a church. The dome already came down 14th c. after an earthquake. (Virtual Ani)

Cathedral Ani.
Cathedral Ani.
Cathedral Ani.
Cathedral Ani.
Missing dome, Ani cathedral, Turkey.
Missing dome.
Cathedral, side main entrance in Ani, Turkey.
Side/main entrance.
Main ship cathedral, Ani.
Main ship.
Cathedral, Ani, Apse. White wash.
Cathedral Ani, close up apse.
White wash.
Cathedral inside Ani.

I am back later in evening.

Cathedral late light evening, Ani.
Cathedral of Ani.
Twilight Cathedral Ani.
In evening.

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Church of St. Gregory of the Abughamrents.

Maybe the most beautiful, a small tower on the edge of a valley, its conical roof has a steep pitch, gives however a spacious feeling inside. (Virtual Ani)

St. Gregory of the Abughamrents, Ani.
St. Gregory of the Abughamrents.
Inside dome of Armenian church St. Gregory of the Abughamrents. Ani, Turkey.
Dome. A monument.
Church St. Gregory of the Abughamrents.
Small tower, dome on drum.

Again I come back later in evening.

Ani, St. Gregory of the Abughamrents. Sunset behind clouds.
Evening sets on St. Gregory of the Abughamrents.
Evening mood, Armenian church St. Gregory of the Abughamrents. Ani, Turkey.
Mystic sad feeling.

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Finally Ani's city walls and towers. Some is rebuilt/destroyed.

Ani city walls.
Ani City walls.
Ani fortress, towers, citadelle.
Fortress towers.

Boy on parking Ani, leans on car bonnet and smokes cigarette. Ani's city walls in back.
Boy in Ani, parking.

So I return to Kars, when it starts raining, feel the need for a drink.

Tonight, the 10th of October gives some hope. There is some signing of agreement between Armenia and Turkey here in Kars towards normalising relations which means opening borders, police has cordoned it all off, while I am headed for the bars. Ultra nationalists protest in Yerevan, nothing here in Kars. The door is a bit open, now it needs ratification in parliament. There is hope. > journey > asia > turkey > 20091010-ani

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