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Ani: A Medieval Cosmopolis

Christina Maranci

Dr. Maranci explores the history of "the city of a thousand and one churches."

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July 2019


Ani: A Medieval Cosmopolis

Known as "the city of a thousand and one churches," the now deserted town of Ani was once a thriving Armenian capital and cosmopolitan center of commerce and artistic exchange situated on the bustling medieval trade routes that connected the East and West. Dr. Christina Maranci reviews the history of Ani’s flourishing and decline through the Middle Ages, its significance to Armenian identity today and why it’s important to preserve and study this unique medieval city.


Dr. Christina Maranci is Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and the Department of the History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. Her work explores the art and culture of Armenia in all aspects, but with special emphasis on the late antique and medieval periods. Her books include The Art of Armenia (Oxford University Press, 2018), Vigilant Powers: Three Churches of Early Medieval Armenia (Brepols, 2015), and Medieval Armenian Architecture: Constructions of Race and Nation (Peeters, 2001). Her articles and essays have appeared in the Wall Street JournalRevue des études arméniennesDumbarton Oaks PapersGesta, the Journal for the Society of Architectural Historians, the Art Bulletin, the Oxford Companion to Architecture, the Oxford Dictionary of the Middle AgesApolloThe Conversation, and Hyperallergic. She is also active in the preservation of Armenian cultural heritage, with a focus on the at-risk Armenian churches and monasteries in what is now Eastern Turkey.


Topics: Architecture Arts/Culture Travel History