The Crossroads of Time

By Jayden Kyryluk

On the outskirts of the Armenian ghost city of Ani, I sit in an abandoned terrace carved into the mountainside with a crumbling fresco adorning the arched roof. I see two angels above what appears to be Jesus Christ. The fading colours within and without the outline of figures and crumbling plaster are all that's left. Surrounding me are the signatures of people who have visited this room. I see messages in Armenian, Georgian, Arabic, and Turkish script dated 1916, 1886, 1908, 1880, and 1968. 

This room is the crossroads of time, culture, language and religion. This room is the very crossroads of humanity. Over a hundred years ago and more, people just like I discovered this fresco, struck by its beauty. They wrote their names down. Perhaps to remember the day, or to be remembered in history. Now, hundreds of years have gone by and the meagre handwriting on these walls is all that remains of their story. History has forgotten their race, religion, and names; all that remains are the years gone by. Many have been forgotten in time; they lived their lives and one day, like I, visited this room. They too walked the same path, struggled up the same slopes, stepped in the same footsteps, and probably sat at the same spot I am sitting, enjoying the sound of the frogs and birds below and the view of ages gone by. They come from different times, cultures, languages and faiths, but we are united in this shared moment. This shared moment of discovery and beauty. Whether in 800, 1880 or 2023, we share this moment. Ancient peoples have lived and prayed in this room, but for now, they seem very close. I can feel them, but I cannot see them. I can sense them, but I cannot hear them. But I share their essential truth in that we are bound to the same End. Like the essence of the world, they are present with and within me but are not to be seen. Like they, I am living a moment they once lived. All travellers who have visited the crossroads of time are bound to man's Final End. All those who have stood in these shoes have died and I will too. Who will stumble upon this room and remember me? History repeats and we all share the same fate. At this crossroads of time, I feel at one with those who have come before me. 

Originally written on June 14, 2023 in Ani, Türkiye


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