And the process to obtain it

Until the regulations were relaxed in 2004, anyone (including Turkish citizens) who wanted to visit Ani had to obtain a permit before travelling to the ruins. This permit was usually obtained without any difficulty and the process took at most 45 minutes.

The permit application form consisted of two identical copies and was obtained from the tourist information office in Kars and partly filled out there. The applicant then took it to the Kars Department of Security where it was validated and the bottom copy retained. Visitors had to take the top copy with them on their journey to Ani. It would be retained at an army checkpoint somewhere en-route to Ani. For most years visitors' passports were also retained at this checkpoint (or at the ticket booth at Ani) and given back on their return journey to Kars. During the years in which photography was banned visitors' bags were searched and any cameras found were also retained and given back on the return journey. The location of the army checkpoint varied over the years. During the 1980s it was at Subatan, some 20km from Ani. During the early 1990s it was in the village of Soylu. From the late 1990s until 2003 it was simply a hut beside the road, a couple of miles before reaching Ani.

This version of the permit is the final type, from 2003, the last year of its existence. It mentions where visitors should not point their cameras, although actually all photography at Ani was forbidden in 2003. The permits for previous years were very similar in appearance to the 2003 version. Those from the 1980s and early 1990s had additional curious restrictions such as not speaking in loud voices and not waving to persons on the other side of the border.

The permit spells "Ani" using the Turkish alphabet's undotted "ı". This is the official Turkish spelling of Ani, which is different from its actual pronounciation and which is rarely used locally in Kars. This distorted spelling is probably derived from the nationalistic works of the Kars-born, pseudo-historian, Fahrettin Kırzıoğlu.

The text in red is not on the original permit - it is added here to clarify what went where in the permit.

Additional numbers
are added by hand.
The date the
permit is applied for.
Signature of a member of the
Kars tourist information office.
The name of the person wishing to travel to Ani.
The applicant's profession.
The applicant's nationality.
The applicant's reason for wanting to visit Ani.
The applicant's passport number.
The registration number of the vehicle going to Ani.
The names of any people going with the applicant to Ani.
The handstamp, datestamp, and signature of
the Kars Department of Security goes here.
The handstamp, and signature of
the Kars tourism office goes here.