Abandoned Places: Ani

Lately I’ve been on a bit of a kick with my obsession with places where time stands still or places that time just forgot. Parts of Cuba (the parts that visitors generally don’t get to see), Battleship island, North Korea, Priapyt — these are all places that photographers can go to in order to capture a day in the life of a bygone era. However, if it’s the Classical era you’re looking to see more of, you should definitely check out InFocus’s photo-essay on The Ancient Ghost City of Ani.

Ani was largely abandoned by the 1400s but, in its heyday, it had been the capital of the medieval Bagratuni Armenian Kingdom that covered much of present day Armenia and eastern Turkey. It was known as the City of 1001 Churches and even its ruins show the beauty and complexity of the architecture and artistry that dominated the area during the early Middle Ages. Ani was “rediscovered” by Europeans in the 1800s. In the past, the Turkish government required visitors to obtain permission to visit and photograph Ani but that requirement has been done away with since 2004.

Considering how long civilization has been around and how far flung it is, there must be thousands of places like Ani that are abandoned with time and the elements slowly moving to reclaim the ground humanity has marked. What are some abandoned places (towns, buildings, or even streets) that you know of? Do you know of any secret locations that most others do not — like some of the secret subway stations in New York City? Let us know in the comments below and we might see about helping you to photograph and publicize some of these secret and abandoned places.

— da Bird