The Cathedral Of Ani

Armenia's medieval capital, Ani, was famous as the "City of One Thousand and One Churches," whose most precious jewel was the mammoth cathedral situated in her western quarter.

The Armenian King Smbat II began its construction in AD. 989; but Smbat died unexpectedly, and the cathedral was finally completed in 1001, under the sponsorship of Queen Catherinade, wife of King Gagik I Bagratuni.

Herself a princess (the daughter of King Vasak I of Siunik), Queen Catherinade was already renowned as "Armenia's God-fearing queen," and she spared no expense to surround Ani's cathedral with the kind of luxurious decorations befitting the spiritual center of a royal capital.

Regrettably, the cathedral's legendary magnificence lies in ruins today; but her former majesty still stands out amid the debris of an abandoned city.

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