The Ruins of Ani, Kars

Any list of the must-see spots of northeastern Turkey in my mind has to include the ruins of the city of Ani, which you will find in the Kars region, right along the border with Armenia. There are two parts actually, the former city overlooking a river valley, and a countless cave dwellings below along the river. We reached the spot at dusk, just as the sun was setting, which made for some spectacular views.

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After the incredible experience at Ani, we spent a quick overnight in the city of Kars (which gives the district its name). It was here that I was introduced to rakı, one of the main alcoholic drinks of Turkey, during a joyous, raucous dinnertime celebration.