Ruined castle dating 1215
Funny how these Turkish folks have perfected their sales techniques...much so, that when Sam wanted to buy himself an ice cream sandwich, he ended up purchasing two of them, willingly...without even realizing it.
I helped him eat the extra one, but we both stared at one another in amazement at the salesman's crafty skill.
Inside this gothic masterpiece rests one of only 4 surviving copies of the original Magna Carta, dating back to 1215.
They are part of a document drawn up not to defend in perpetuity the interests of national citizens but rather to pin down a king who had been greatly vexing a small number of his wealthy and violent subjects.
(Hmmmm, maybe I should hire a few of these guys to sell my pearls.) Finally, after waiting patiently for permission, Sam and I drove our way to Ani, which is near Kars. We probably gave him something, I forget, but we generally are laden with small gifts for such occasions.
We stopped and asked a small shepherd boy for more directions. (According to wiki, there is no longer a need to purchase a special permit to visit Ani.) There are amazing details of Ani and its colorful history on wiki...there's no need for me to repeat them here. Very small houses and stick fences with evidence of ancient stone carved pieces incorporated into their small houses. What impressed me was that, in the 9th century AD, this city was more progressive than the outlying farms are today. I couldn't get that fact out of my mind as we walked around the ruins.
There are also many hill forts pre-dating the Romans which exist in the surrounding hills, three alone on Castle Hill off Camps Road.
Today the main motorway and West Coast Train Line pass either side of Crawford village showing the route’s continuing popularity.
The current day ruins are accessible from Crawford village by turning off the main street near the former Post Horn Hotel (now residential) where a junction is marked by a tall stone monument/cairn.