This Land Is Not Your Land

Caucasus Map

Before this journey, our experience with the disputed regions in the Caucasus - Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Nagorno-Karabakh - amounted to a few news articles and flashpoint body-count news tickers drifting across the bottom of our television screens.Something bad had happened, people had died, but we never truly appreciated or understood the details. … [Read more...]

A Day Trip to Garni and Geghard

Geghard Monastery

Garni, a reconstructed Hellenic temple (originally from the 1st century) located at the Avan Gorge. Nearby Geghard is an early Christian rock monastery from the 4th century, augmented by the Zakarians in the 13th century. Catch someone singing in the upper chapel (as we did) - the acoustics are terrific. … [Read more...]

A Day Trip to Echmiadzin

Echmiadzin, Armenia

Echmiadzin is to the Armenian Apostolic Church what The Vatican is to the Catholic Church. It is believed that St. Gregory the illuminator first envisioned and built Mayr Tachar (Mother Church of Armenia) there in the 3rd-4th century. The monastery remains active with somber looking men in black robes gliding around its grounds. … [Read more...]

The Lost Table: Armenian Food

No Shortage of Kebabs in Yerevan

Searching hopelessly one night for what turned out to be a defunct traditional Armenian restaurant, we inquired with the locals in Yerevan regarding where we could find good traditional Armenian food. "There," all fingers pointed in the direction of one of the handful of local kebab joints.We declare - man cannot live on kebabs alone! And anyway, could grilled … [Read more...]

Tatev, Worth the Climb

Tatev Monastery

Interested in seeing more of the "real" Armenia outside the reaches of Yerevan, we decided to head south to Tatev in the direction of Armenia's border with Iran. The journey there comes in two parts: a marshrutka (minibus) from Yerevan to Goris (4-5 hours) and a dilapidated 1950s school bus from Goris to Tatev (1.5 hours). Though the trip to Goris was relatively … [Read more...]

Yerevan – A Symbol of a Newer, Shinier Armenia

Not What I Expected in Yerevan

The years immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Union were dramatic and bleak for Yerevan - blackouts, food shortages and a feeling of hopelessness defined a candle-lit existence of scarcity.Today, Yerevan appears up and coming. Moments of widespread scarcity are a distant memory, at least in downtown Yerevan where new buildings, cafes, restaurants, … [Read more...]

Visual Tour of the Caucasus

History Lesson

Between embassy queues for visas, we've been taking advantage of Tashkent's surprising supply of wifi and internet cafes.As a result, we finally have some photos to show from Armenia and Azerbaijan, thereby completing our visual tour of the Caucasus. … [Read more...]