Mountains and Monasteries: Armenia

Mountains and Monasteries: Armenia

In the introduction to my previous gallery, Mountains and Monasteries: Georgia, I already gave you a brief introduction to the Caucasus.
Shortly summarized: It’s a strange place.

Armenia is even stranger than Georgia…
When I read about the current situation in Armenia, I got a bit afraid.
The border between Armenia and Turkey is closed because of an ongoing conflict. Mostly because Turkey doesn’t want to recognize the Armenian genocide and because Turkey “stole” their holy mountain Ararat.
The border between Armenia and Azerbaijan is also closed because of the on-going Nagorno Karabakh conflict.
The Georgians don’t like the Armenians.
The Armenians don’t like the Iranians.

It’s not uncommon that this stereotypical description asks for some prejudices.
What kind of people must the Armenians be to be unloved by three of their four neighbors?

Before I went to the Caucasus I had only heard of a couple of Armenians: Charles Aznavour and the guys from System of a Down. Probably not the best reference.
But soon I got to meet many more.
And I couldn’t be more surprised.
I have never felt so welcome in a place as in Armenia. It’s hard to describe… I’ve been to many other places were people were friendly, nice, fun, helpful and hospitable but Armenia took this to a whole other level.
Constantly I had the idea that people were genuinely happy to see me. They kept welcoming me in their country, they kept asking whether they could help me and they kept inviting me to their family gatherings. I was their guest and it was as if they were planning to never let me go.

One remark though, if you like to hitch hike you might be a bit disappointed in Armenia. It’s just too easy.
I hitch hiked more or less everywhere without even having to use my thumb. I just started walking and if the first car didn’t stop the second one certainly did, to ask me where I was going and if they could offer me a ride.

So welcome to Armenia.
The first country in the world that adapted Christianity, which you notice by the hundreds of beautiful monasteries.

If you want to see more of the Caucasus area, make sure to also visit my gallery Mountains and Monasteries: Georgia