Artsakh is the Armenian name for Nagorno-Karabakh, the disputed territory between it and Azerbaijan. The two nations have been at war over Karabakh for over 30 years. Both feel that the territory belongs to them: the land became part of Soviet Azerbaijan during Stalin’s era, but most of the people living there are still Armenian. The conflict has killed tens of thousands on both sides, with no resolution in sight. … More A day in Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh)
I arrive at Yerevan’s train station just after dawn, and buy coffee and bread from the underpass between platforms – fuel for the four-hour journey to Gyumri, Armenia’s second city.
The train is dusty and dilapidated; it has hard seats and filthy windows. It goes slowly, bumpily, its wheels making soothing clunks on the rusted tracks.
The journey is haunting. The landscape of western Armenia looks abandoned, left for dead. But this isn’t so. This rocky corner of the Caucasus is far from an unwanted wasteland: it is one of the most emotionally charged places on earth. … More Photo essay: Armenia’s sorrow (Yerevan to Gyumri by train)
I recently spoke with the people behind the #TRLT Twitter chat about my travels on The Road Less Travelled. The interview can be found in the chat’s Facebook group, and is also copied below.
… More Interview: Talking #TRLT (The Road Less Travelled)
Zorats Karer means Army Stones in Armenian, but they are also known as Carahunge – Speaking Stones, for the whistling sound that fills the site when strong winds blow through the holes. The best guess is that the rocks were placed 7,500 years ago; at the time that Stonehenge was created the army stones had already been standing in Sisian for over two thousand years. … More ‘The Mysterious Zorats Karer Stones’ – for Caravanistan
For my first few days in Armenia my mind was elsewhere. I was searching for signs of the two worlds that overlap in the South Caucasus, where wild Eurasian land is punctuated by the Cyrillic – and the shambles – of the post-Soviet space… … More ‘Postcard from Noravank monastery, Armenia’ – for Elsewhere Journal
Taking the train between Yerevan and Gyumri was going to be the highlight of my time in Armenia – especially the journey through Ararat province. But on the day I went, Mount Ararat was hidden by clouds. Instead, the best part of my trip was the beautiful sight of white storks gliding above the farms and fields next to the train, and making their nests on top of the station buildings at Masis and Etchmiatsin. In Armavir province, hoopoes fly next to the train tracks. … More ‘Five things that will surprise you in Armenia’ – for Wandelion