Throughout history, civilizations have erected religious monuments to honor their deities. Sadly, not all incredible holy edifices from the past survive intact today. Many fell into disrepair and now lay in ruins, while others were sacked by armies, destroyed or consecrated and transformed for the purposes of the conquering forces.
Ani, sometimes called the "City of 1,001 Churches," is an example of both. The city, which now falls within the border of Turkey, was once a flourishing Armenian metropolis -- even the capital for a time. Christians flocked to bustling Ani to visit its many churches, monuments, monasteries and tombs, among other secular attractions. Ani thrived for several centuries, with the height of its glory right around the turn of the millennium. But over time, the population was gradually slaughtered and scattered by war. An earthquake in 1319 devastated the city, and although a small population remained for a time, the city is now deserted, slowly crumbling back into the earth.
But many religious monuments have had more luck over the centuries, and in this article, we'll check out some of the exciting edifices still in existence.