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Turkey Turns Medieval Armenian Capital Into A Tourist Attraction

Before 1989, the medieval ruins of Ani were in a no-go zone on the border between NATO-member Turkey and what was then the Soviet Union. Until a few years ago, it was still difficult to visit, requiring a number of permits. But the local authorities in the nearby city of Kars realized the tourism potential, lifted restrictions, built roads and a visitor center, and reconstructed some of the site. These photos shows Ani during three periods: in 2003, when the visitor restrictions were still in place; in 2007, when restrictions were lifted but few tourists came; and in September 2014, when crowds of international tourists vied for better photo opportunities. (Text and photos by Anthony Georgieff)