The Church of the Redeemer is one of the architectural masterpieces of the medieval city of Ani, located in the modern-day Turkish province of Kars and sitting atop a triangular plateau of land lined on its east by the Akhurian River and its west by the Aladja River. Ani's geographic location placed it directly along important east-west trade routes and in the center of regional politics for much of its history, with the Christian Byzantines to the west and the Islamic cultures to the east. This led to prosperity that materialized through some of the “greatest cultural expression[s] of Armenian architecture” (Cuneo 1984, 14). It became known beyond its own kingdom as the “city of the thousand and one churches,” due to its landscape dotted with churches, chapels, monasteries, and mausolea. Palaces and mansions, baths, inns, markets and shops, caravanserai, a citadel and ramparts, bridges, and aqueducts also contributed to Ani’s distinguished reputation. At its peak under King Gagik I of the Armenian Bagratid dynasty (989-1020 CE), Ani rivaled Cairo, Baghdad, and Constantinople.
Ani has suffered greatly over the centuries from earthquakes (1131 CE, 1263 CE, 1319 CE), sacking armies throughout the centuries, and withering decline after the establishment of sea-trade routes around the Cape of Good Hope. Its surviving structures include seven churches (one later became a mosque), a city wall, commercial and residential buildings, and some of its underground passages. The city of Ani and its fragile ruins have been listed on the World Monuments Fund’s The Watch list multiple times, beginning in 1996.
The Church of the Redeemer, as part of a 2011 documentation partnership between the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the World Monument Fund, has been surveyed with CyArk’s digital preservation methodology, including 3D terrestrial laser scanning carried out by WMF partner Solvotek. CyArk has overseen the archiving of the data and its processing for the development of both conservation and interpretive tools, ranging from accurate 3D models and architectural drawings, to virtual tours and video fly-overs of the 3D data. CyArk is proud to publicly disseminate the data for the Church of the Redeemer through our website.