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karabakh and armenia continued
Written by sophie et jeremy   
Saturday, 03 October 2015

Karabakh is a self proclaimed country, only recognized by Armenia and officially part of Azerbaijan for anybody else. Borders have been stable since the war 20 years ago and are still kept by armenian army and land mines. Yet another place not too touristy!

entering karabakh entering karabakh karabakh symbol karabakh symbol

We drive across alpine mountains which host some more isolated monasteries, deserted passes, cities marked by war and the destroyed city of Agdam, completely removed from the map during the war. Jeremy had discovered on google earth an isolated hot spring which looked very attractive to us, but after 30 km on a very rough road, we saw a boiling pool full of men with moustache, drinking beer with loud radios... our envy goes away.

gandzasar gandzasar karabakh road 1 karabakh road 1

dadivank dadivank karabakh road 2 karabakh road 2

adgam adgam

We go back in Armenia near the shore of the lake Sevan which we drive along. There are many small churches, each of them surrounded by cemeteries of khatchkars, old gravestones.

sevan 1 sevan 1 sevan 2 sevan 2

khatchkars 1 khatchkars 1 khatchkars 2 khatchkars 2

After visiting Garni temple -the only antique ruin of the area-, and Geghard - a troglodyte monastery-, we see a camping with swimming pool and view over the cliffs, run by a dutch couple. We spend there 2 days of rest.

garni garni geghard geghard

view view camping 1 camping 1

camping 2 camping 2

The next visits are Zvarnots cathedral and the very touristy Echmiadzin monastery -the center of armenian christianity- and a couple of churches on the edge of the Kasagh gorges.

zvarnots zvarnots Echmiadzin Echmiadzin

Kasagh 1 Kasagh 1 Kasagh 2 Kasagh 2

Even though everybody is driving recklessly in the country -except us- we are stopped and fined by the police. Hearing our protests, the policemen tells us that we should not focus on other drivers or rules, but on the proximity (or not) of a police patrol.

road rules road rules

In order to solve our mechanical issues, we have ordered parts in France, and got them sent to Yerevan. What a mistake! The parcel is blocked at the customs, where we will have to spend an entire day running between offices collecting papers, stamping them and eventually paying a disproportionate amount of money in taxes and fees for goods that will leave the country the next day. We leave the place, irritated but with our new parts, which Jeremy install the same evening while Sophie is tasting armenian wines. The next day at the border, we will have to spend again 20 euros to get our car out of armenia!

marmashen marmashen

Fortunately, we are back in the country of Khinkali and Kachapuri !