Environmental Design and a Visitor Center for Kars Ani Ruins
Kars Ani: Memory and Nature
The province of Kars is located on the border with Armenia and is the last stop of the Turkish railway system in Eastern Anatolia. The Oriental Express operating between İstanbul-Ankara-Kars takes 36 hours to reach Kars from İstanbul. With the Kars airport starting to operate in 1988, the connections between Kars, Ankara, İstanbul and İzmir have been strengthened.
The city of Ani – the last threshold between Anatolia and the Caucasus, a commercial center in ancient times, and a city of boasting population when the Silk Road was active – is located 45 kilometers east of the Kars city center, on the edge of the Arpaçay and the Armenian border. Almost all the international tourists visiting the city of Kars do it to see Ani. Almost entirely destroyed with big earthquakes throughout history, Ani grew as the capital of the Armenian kingdom, and was home to 22 civilizations, all of whom left monuments in the city. A large area, which includes the surviving religious buildings, fortifications and the Ocaklı village right beyond the fortification walls, is registered as an archaeological protection zone.
The project area is significant not only for the historical and archaeological assets it contains, but also for its natural landscape elements. The existing cultural landscape and architectural texture of the area can be seen as reflections of geography. The wonder and mystery of Ani today stems from the features of “place”.
The city of Ani offers a dynamic morphology with many vista points, valleys, flat areas, ruins in the stage offered by these flat areas and more valleys; creating a large open-air museum. It is difficult to find yet another geography with such diverse topography and resulting micro-climate.
The gathering area and visitor entrance in front of the fortification walls have been re-organized from a security point of view, and evolved into a design where visitors can get information and shop for souvenirs. All the objects, urban furniture and signage proposed as part of this project care for accordance with pedestrians, and aim to emphasize the location they are a part of with their scale, color and shape, rather than existing for themselves.
- InstitutionRepublic of Turkey, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, General Directorate for Cultural Heritage and Museums
- CollaborationAks Planning and Engineering Ltd. Co.
- LocationKars, Turkey
- Surface711.000 m²
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