Nagorno-Karabakh / Places We Go

The Landscapes Of Nagorno-Karabakh

nagorno-karabakh map

Known by the name Artsakh to its inhabitants and to Armenians, the alternative name Nagorno-Karabakh dates from the Khanate of Karabakh’s formal entry to the Russian Empire in 1813 – Nagorno being Russian for ‘mountainous’. Karabakh is Turkish for ‘black garden’.

Nagorno-Karabakh is inhabited by ethnic Armenians, the language of Nagorno-Karabakh is Armenian and even the currency is Armenian. However, Nagorno-Karabakh is not part of Armenia: it has its own government with its own foreign ministry, its own military, its own flag, its own stamps and its own national anthem. Despite all this, its existence as a state is unrecognized by any other state.

Welcome to another place that doesn’t exist…

The pictures below are presented in chronological order over a visit of about a week. My intent with sharing these landscapes is to provide you with a better feel for what Nagorno-Karabakh looks and feels like. I hope I succeed. And for those pictures taken through the windshield of the car, I do apologize for the occasional smear of the remains of an unfortunate insect that appear in the picture:

From Goris, Armenia the road crosses the so-called Lachin corridor through what had been, since 1929, part of Azerbaijan proper before reaching the sign below…

Welcome to Nagorno-Karabakh:

nagorno-karabakh sign

Nagorno-Karabakh’s pre-1994 boundaries start just before this town shown below… The town is just up the hill from the checkpoint between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh:

nagorno-karabakh town

nagorno-karabakh landscape

The road twisting through the mountains that give Nagorno-Karabakh its name:

nagorno-karabagh

A building destroyed in the war… These are so numerous in Nagorno-Karabakh that I will not bore you with repeating such pictures here:

artsakh

This is a war memorial located between Shushi and Stepanakert:

nagorno-karabakh tank

Soldiers working along the road…

nagorno-karabakh army

One of the main military bases in Nagorno-Karabakh, this is located between Stepanakert and Askeran:

nagorno-karabakh army base

This fortress, known as Mayraberd, is located just before the town of Askeran:

nagorno-karabakh mayraberd

And this is Askeran… Pretty inspiring place, huh?

nagorno-karabakh askeran

A restored Armenian T-72, knocked out of commission while attacking Azerbaijani positions in Askeran, serves as a war memorial on the outskirts of the town. The barrel of the gun is pointing toward Azerbaijan:

T-72 war memorial nagorno-karabakh

The grasslands of Nagorno-Karabakh, stretching away to the Azerbaijani border:

artsakh

This is the town of Martakert which is very close to the front lines:

nagorno-karabakh martakert

Another, smaller, military base:

nagorno-karabakh military base

An armored troop carrier destroyed in the war:

nagorno-karabakh war bombed apc

This memorial was next to the troop carrier:

nagorno-karabakh memorial

Another view of the rolling grasslands in the direction of Azerbaijan:

nagorno-karabagh

Contending with land mines keeps a lot of people busy in Nagorno-Karabakh:

nagorno-karabakh halo trust

Up in the mountains, the forests can be quite lush and thick:

nagorno-karabakh forest

And the roads can be quite terrible:

nagorno-karabakh landscape forest road

Sarsang Reservoir:

sarsang reservoir

A view down into a small valley from the mountains of Nagorno-Karabakh:

nagorno-karabakh landscape

A freshly harvested field of hay:

nagorno-karabagh

This is a view down on to the village of Vank taken from Gandzasar Monastery:

nagorno-karabakh village

And this is Gandzasar Monastery… This working monastery was founded in 1216 and the church was built between 1232 and 1238:

gandzasar

A number of the graves in the cemetery around the church hold the remains of those killed in the Nagorno-Karabakh War:

nagorno-karabakh war grave

Driving through the countryside:

artsakh

The ubiquitous military presence even in the middle of nowhere:

nagorno-karabakh soldiers

Interesting that for a place that doesn’t exist, Nagorno-Karabakh could be at the center of future wars which threaten the region and the wider world.

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