In the Nagorny Karabakh / Qarabaq
We met Azeri people, Armenian people and people of Nagorny Karabakh who would give so much for this ground. And it is a beautiful land, for sure, but so empty and so sad…
Stalin separated Karabakh from Armenia in the 1920s and made it an autonomous region within Azerbaijan – that is, I have a feeling, the only fact from the history which everybody accepts. All the rest: roots, traditions, language of the region, maps, stories from the war, names and numbers – depend on the perspective: if you are talking with somebody living west from Karabakh (Armenians) or east from Qarabaq (Azeris).
We decided to visit both: churches and mosques, villages which before 1989 (when the war started) were half Armenian, half Azeri populated. All the pictures were not easy, this country as so empty and people are so much looking under their feet, even if a ceasefire was declared in May 1994, so 16 years ago!
- Please visit as much as possible, take a lot of pictures in our Qarabaq and publish them for us – our Azeri friends were asking, while they are not able to go there on their own.
- Wow, you have been to our Karabakh, respect, we are very glad to hear that – Armenian friends were proud to hear that.
Since years it’s kind of calm there, Stepanakert is a small but lively capital, even if it still feels a bit like they would unpack after big renovation. But you can see on the big roads (“built by all the Armenians around the world”) British Halo Trust’s cars (ngo dealing with removing land mines from the territory), transporters with huge rockets or almost invisible lines hanging between hills – protecting from helicopters. People are a bit afraid of talking, kids (if you meet one) are not running to Hanna, half empty villages (really: half houses used, half – which were Azeri – standing empty and destroyed) are scary.
And it’s beautiful there. Even with rainy weather which we had: mountains and nature (the name of the region comes from – depends on the language of course – “mountainous”, “ upper”, “highland”,” black garden”) are breathtaking. And blackberries are super-tasty!
And even if there is only few towns and villages – few days is definitely not enough to give deserved attention to this small country, which is trying to deal with hard future. Small kid of divorced parents which are still not talking with each other.
- But come on, we all know that it was not fault of Azerbaijan – told us Azeri guy, met somewhere on the way. – Nor Armenia. We are all very aware of all the Russian games in the history. It’s just so hard to deal with consequences.