Ամենահեղինակավոր համաշխարհային պարբերականներից մեկում՝ The New York Times-ում, սեպտեմբերի 21-ին լույս է տեսել Արցախում ճանապարհորդության մասին ծավալուն, հանգամանալից, Արցախի տեսարժան վայրերի, եկեղեցիների ու քարտեզի լուսանկարներով մի հրապարակում, որը դրական արձագանքներ է ստացել:
Russ Juskalian for The New York Times
STANDING on a limestone ridge in the foothills of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, I surveyed the landscape that lay before me. To the west, illuminated by a late-day sun and with ever more craggy peaks as a backdrop, was Vankasar Mountain, capped by a solitary, ancient church. To the east, yellow grassland and scrub stretched to the horizon. And then there was the ghost city of Agdam, its thousands of ruined buildings representing the last exchanges of a late 20th-century conflict that many people have never heard of.
Kalbajar is mostly a ghost town today.
I had come to the breakaway Southern Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh expecting a land of extremes. Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnically Armenian enclave whose name means “mountainous black garden,” appears on few maps. Its tumultuous recent history would affect any traveler, no doubt, but for me, the experience of visiting this place had a personal dimension. My grandmother had fled Anatolia as a girl, escaping an Armenian genocide at the hands of the crumbling Ottoman Empire. To come to Nagorno-Karabakh, a place where Armenians have asserted their right to live freely — but at the cost of having forcibly removed their Azeri neighbors — generated mixed emotions, to say the least.
Once part of an ancient Armenian kingdom, Nagorno-Karabakh was made a special autonomous oblast, or administrative zone, under the authority of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, by Stalin in the 1920s. This designation temporarily calmed fighting between the predominately Muslim Azeris and mostly Christian Armenians who lived in the region. But as the Soviet Union disintegrated in the late 1980s, old ethnic feuds turned bloody, and both ethnicities were subjected to pogroms and persecution at the hands of the other. Armenians, representing around 75 percent of the Nagorno-Karabakh population at the time, sought independence from Azerbaijan. Skirmishes led to full-on war by the early 1990s, resulting in upward of 30,000 casualties and hundreds of thousands of displaced people on both sides.
In 1994, the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh effectively won that war and claimed independence with the signing of a cease-fire order. In the process, nearly the entire Azeri population was forced to flee. Today, the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (N.K.R.) is not recognized by any other country in the world. With no official borders, Armenian and Azeri soldiers are still dug into trenches on the front lines.
Though I had become interested in the region because of my ethnic heritage, once I started digging into the history of Nagorno-Karabakh, I wanted to experience what was said to be a breathtaking landscape filled with ancient monasteries, mountainous tableaus and hard-working people trying to rebuild.
So last spring I went there, accompanied by my girlfriend. I didn’t expect luxury hotels, haute cuisine or air-conditioned buses, and I didn’t find them. Instead, we stayed at local homes where running water might not be guaranteed, ate simple meals with our hosts and traveled in Soviet-era knockoffs of Fiats and antiquated minibuses with bald tires. In exchange for the lack of amenities, I was hoping not just to understand more about this little-known area, but also to understand more about my own background.
EARLY on a humid May morning, we headed to a dusty square in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, where we boarded a crowded minibus, called a marshrutka, bound for Nagorno-Karabakh’s capital, Stepanakert — a trip that would take eight hours. Aside from two Asian tourists, the bus was filled with local women carrying toddlers, and old men, a few of whom played cards on an upturned cardboard box. The final part of the route twisted almost 10 miles through the Lachin Corridor, a mountain pass that had previously been (or still is, depending on whom you ask) a part of Azerbaijan.
By the time we got to Stepanakert, it was raining. We headed to the Foreign Ministry to pick up our travel papers, checked into a simple hotel and fell asleep. Early the next morning, the sun still burning off the night’s fog, we explored the covered market in central Stepanakert. The air was filled with the scent of ripe cherries and local herbs. In one corner, two women with faded aprons and orange-tinted hair worked over a griddle. The first rolled balls of dough into discs. To each disc, the second added a small mountain of chopped herbs and then folded the dough over the filling. The grilled stuffed bread, called jingalov hats, tasted of pungent mustard greens and watercress.
Contune reading here: http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/09/23/travel/off-the-map-in-nagorno-karabakh-a-region-in-the-southern-caucasus.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0&smid=tw-share