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Pictures of our trip to Nagorno-Karabakh
- From July 9 to 17, 2013 Armenia - Stepanakert - Gandzasar - Martakert - Tigranakert - Tnjri - Shoushi - Armenia
Armenia Part 1 July 2 to 9, 2013: Georgia Border - Akhtala - Haghpat - Dilijan - Lake Sevan - Selim - Arates - Nagorno-Karabakh
Georgia Part 2a June 24 to July 2, 2013: Azerbaijan Border - Tbilisi - Armenia Border
Azerbaijan June 13 to 24, 2013: Georgia Border - Balakən - Şəki - Lahıç - Baku - Xınalıq - Quba - Laza - Baku - Gəncə - Georgia Border
Georgia Part 1 June 4 to 13, 2013: Turkey Border - Ajaria - Tbilisi - Kakheti - Azerbaijan Border
Turkey May 28 to June 4, 2013: Iran Border - Esendere - Hakkari - Van - Doğubayazıt - Kars - Ardahan - Hopa - Georgia Border
afterwards in the Caucasus:
Armenia Part 2 July 19 to 22, 2013: Nagorno-Karabakh - Goris - Tatev - Noravank - Khor Virap - Echmiadzin - Geghard - Gyumri - Georgia
Georgia Part 2b July 22 to 31, 2013: Armenia Border - Ninotsminda - Tbilisi - Mtskheta - Kazbegi - Kutaisi - Zugdidi
Georgia Part 3a – July 31 to August 5, 2013 - Zugdidi - Swaneti - Zugdidi - Abkhazia Border
Abkhazia August 5 to 13, 2013: Georgia - Sukhumi - Tsebelda - Novyy Aton - Lake Ritsa - Gagra - Pitsunda - Georgia
Georgia Part 3b – August 13 to 15, 2013 - Abkhazia Border - Poti - Ferry to Ilyichevsk/Ukraine
Nagorno-Karabakh Map
Mid-East Map          Caucasus Map
latest picture: July 15, 2013
  • click a picture to see details

Remarks to Nagorno-Karabakh:
Nagorno-Karabakh belongs to the so-called “countries with limited recognition”, like e.g. Abkhazia, Kosovo, Northern Cyprus, Palestine, Somaliland, South Ossetia, Taiwan, Transnistria, Western Sahara, Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk. All are either “claimed” or “occupied” from another country.
Hence Nagorno-Karabakh is claimed by Azerbaijan, but declared 1992 its independence and is supported herein by Armenia. That means for tourists that they – with the exception of just a few – cannot expect much assistance from their home country if something went wrong. Azerbaijan forbids any visit of – in their view – its defected province of Nagorno-Karabakh. However it can be visited from the Armenian side without any problem. The border to Iran is closed.
001  Coming from Armenia a sign shows
in Armenian, English, Russian and French
that we are now entering the self proclaimed
Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is
not recognized by the international
community .....
002  ..... it is situated behind these
mountain ridges. Internationally it is
recognized as a part of Azerbaijan despite
that ethnically the people are more Armenia
related. Both are Christians (Armenia
 Apostolic Church), while Azerbaijan’s
majority adheres to Shia Islam
003  Nagorno-Karabakh has an own flag
and passports, but neither own license plates
nor its own money. They have adopted both
from Armenia that was supporting them
during the several secession wars from
Azerbaijan between 1988 and 1994
004  The pyramid shaped “entrance
monument” of Nagorno-Karabakh between
border sign and border post. Actually the
monument is located on Azerbaijan
territory, because Nagorno-Karabakh
starts only after the village of Berdzor
005  After the checkpoint on the
Aghavno River the nice little church of
Berdzor in a hilly setting is one of our first
pictures on the 25 miles long mountain road
to the country’s capital Stepanakert
006  Stepanakert, the capital with its
60'000 people lies on 2’670 ft. and is
surrounded by forest, pasture, hills and
mountains. It’s clean and makes a
European like impression
007  This is the 10 days visa that we
obtained on a sheet of paper (not into the
passport) from Ministry of Foreign Affairs
of Nagorno-Karabakh in the capital (US$ 8).
It mentions also the travel route (at the border
post only our personal data was recorded)
008  The most important buildings are
situated more or less around the same
square (parliament, presidential palace,
ministries, national museum etc.) .....
009  ..... Presidential Palace
(President Bako S. Sahakyan) .....
010  ..... Vallex-Garden Hotel
011  Even more than one year later, on
7/11/2013 – on our visit to Stepanakert –
the “Liberation of Shushi” 20 years ago is
still commemorated: On 5/8/1992 the
Armenians expelled the Azerbaijanis
from Shushi
012  Parliament Building
The Saturday market in Stepanakert leaves nothing to desire regarding fruits and vegetables.
In addition also the choice of dried fruit and nuts is big. And home made honey and marmalade belong also to the offer
016  On a plateau, 6 miles south from
Stepanakert, lies Shushi, the "City of
Speaking Stones", with its 1½ mile long
fortification wall, built 1750. In the
19th century it was one of the largest
towns in the South Caucasus .....
017  ..... during the repeated war with
Azerbaijan there was done much damage
to the city. In March 1920 within only
three days ⅔ of Shushi was burnt
to the ground .....
018  ..... the Ashaghi Govhar Agha
Mosque with its two tall brick minarets,
built in 1883, will now be restored. It has
not been demolished during the wars. In
return the Armenian Church in Baku is
also tolerated, though only as a library
019  An architectural masterpiece,
dominating the city landscape, is the 164 ft.
tall renovated Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in
Sushi, founded 1888. We booked into the
"Hotel Shushi" right opposite, with a little
"parking" for our LandCruiser .....
020  ..... on this parking Emil has to
replace once more the rear axle shaft.
Despite that we have a lot of exercise,
this time it does last six instead of
usually four hours
021  Simply ingenious: Drying clothes
by cable haulage between residence
buildings in Shushi
022  “Papik u Tatik” (i.e. “we are our
mountains”) – that is the name of the 1967
built tufa monument of a bearded elder and
a woman with a veil. It is on the outskirts
of Stepanakert direction Askeran
023  At the main square in Stepanakert
the little sister hides shyly behind her
"big" brother
024  The futuristic and fully operational
airport of Stepanakert is not (yet) in function,
because Azerbaijan threatened to possibly
shoot down from the ceasefire line – that is
only 25miles away – also civilian aircrafts
025  Dandelion (Taraxacum) or may
be not? In our childhood we always
blew its seeds away
026  The landscape from Stepanakert
to the Gandzasar Monastery near Vank
in the north is characterized by forest,
pasture and rolling hills
027  A bush of pink gilly-flowers
(Dianthus orientalis) is growing
out of a rock crevice
028  About 34 miles north of Stepanakert
in a lovely hill setting near Vank is the
13th century Gandzasar Monastery with its
excellent Armenian architecture, rich friezes
and magnificent details .....
029  ..... well preserved inscriptions
adorn a wall of the Cathedral of “Saint
John the Baptist” of Gandzasar .....
030  ..... the central dome is adorned
with exquisitely carved high reliefs (friezes).
Unfortunately the Gandzasar Monastery
suffered damages through the Armenian-
Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
whereby a building was totally destroyed
031  Chilingaryan family tree in a corner
of the Gandzasar Monastery
032  There is no monastery without the
beautifully elaborated "Khachkars", the
medieval carved cross-stones. This one
stands at the Gandzasar Monastery .....
033  ..... next to is another masterpiece
with a bird motive
034  The hilly forested land has a touch
of Switzerland: View from the Gandzasar
Monastery towards the western part of
the Khachen Valley
035  A blue dragonfly (Odonata)
rests on reed
036  We honestly have to earn the
short glimpse of the Sarsang reservoir
between Drmbon and Martakert.
The road conditions are miserable
037  Between Martakert and Aghdam
we drive along the ceasefire line. For
many miles we see nothing than
bombarded villages
038  Another memorial of the dramatic
Nagorno-Karabakh war between 1990
and 1994: The tank monument at Chldran
along the North-South-Highway (besides
the tanks of Shushi and Askeran)
039  Also many years after the end of the
war people have not returned to this sensitive
area along the ceasefire line with Azerbaijan.
Only shrubs and trees are sprouting again –
here between Martakert and Aghdam
040  The recently (2010) reconstructed
fortress of Tigranakert from the 18th century
is situated in the northeast, about 20 miles
from the capital. Artsakh’s (Nagorno-
Karabakh’s) Tigranakert excavation site
is one of the four cities built by "Tigran
the Great" or his father “Tigran I”
around 123–95 B.C. .....
041  ..... when we arrive in the evening,
a group of actors are getting ready for an
opera performance. In a corner a ladies
band is tuning in .....
042  ..... three colorful costumed ladies
are waiting for the event to start
043  Around the Tigranakert fortress
the archeological excavations are under
way. A new museum within the fortress
walls has excellent information about it
044  Our lovely night spot between trees
with views of the Tigranakert Fortress and
the Vankasar Church offers us quietness
and relaxation
045  The Vankasar Church on the hilltop
above the Tigranakert Fortress, engulfed by
the reddish skies of the sunset. It can be
reached in an hours’ hike
046  At the intersection to Aghdam, a
town with a population of 150'000 before
the war, stands a red prohibition sign. Our
travel permit from the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs of Nagorno-Karabakh does not
include a visit to the ghost town of Aghdam
and we have to take the bypass .....
047  ..... from far we see only two
minarets rising to the sky – a visit would
have been tempting. The town is deserted.
The people were either massacred or
they fled to Azerbaijan
048  This sign says that this region
has been cleared of mines and is
accessible again
049  This rusting war relict is one of many
that we see along the former frontline
050  The bunker between the deserted
hills before Askeran was built in an
enviously beautiful landscape. It’s an
Armenian respectively Nagorno-Karabakh
relict. The former Soviet border line runs
between the “Azerbaijan SSR” and the
“Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast”
051  A remembrance picture with Emil and
our LandCruiser at the tank monument north
of Askeran – one of the three we have
seen in Nagorno-Karabakh (besides Sushi
and Chldran). It was here that on 2/20/1988
the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was ignited
052  7 miles northeast of Stepanakert lies
Askeran with its fortress which has a huge
medieval wall, built 1751, that once
stretched one mile across the valley.
Already back then it served as a shield to
protect Shushi against Persian campaigns
053  Just trickling, but still beautiful:
A waterfall along the "Hunot Canyon"
south of Stepanakert .....
054  ..... the "Hunot Gorge" is two miles
long and 820 ft. deep. It is regarded as
one of the most beautiful natural sites in
055  2000+ years – around 25 human
lives – counts this although a bit damaged
and support needing giant platanus (plane)
tree, called Tnjri, near Karmir Shuka
(about 15 miles southwest of Stepanakert)
on the North-South-Highway to Hadrut
in southern Nagorno-Karabakh .....
056  ..... with its huge hollowed trunk
(474 sq.ft.) and the elevated bushy foliage
the more than 177 ft. tall tree leaves
quite an impression on us .....
057  ..... from our lunch spot near the
historic tree we have a lovely view down
to the far valley where its plains belong
already to Iran
The "Greater"-Middle East trip 2012/13:
Sharjah/Dubai/1st Traveler's Festival/Emirates National Auto Museum - UAE with car Nov. 2012 to Jan. 2013 - part 1
Western UAE - Liwa - United Arab Emirates  with car in January 2013 - part 2
Oman 2013 - Part 1 - February 2013: Musandam Peninsula
Oman 2013 - Part 2 - February 2013: Sohar - Muscat - Rustaq - Nizwa
Oman 2013 - Part 3 - March 2013: Sur - East Coast - Island of Masirah - Dhofar
Oman 2013 - Part 4 - March 2013: Salalah & Surroundings (Dhofar) - Nizwa
Oman 2013 - Part 5 - March 2013: Western Hajar Mountains
Al Ain, Eastcoast & Ras al Khaima - United Arab Emirates with our car in April 2013 - part 3
Iran - Part 1: Ferry Port Bandar Abbas-Shiraz-Persepolis-Pasargad (between Persepolis and Yazd) May 2013
Iran - Part 2: Pasargad (excl.)-Yazd-Esfahan May 2013
Iran - Part 3: Esfahan (excl.)-Chelgerd-Hamadan-Sanandaj-Orumiyeh May 2013
Turkey: Iran Border-Esendere-Hakkari-Van-Doğubayazıt-Kars-Ardahan-Hopa-Georgia Border May/June 2013
Georgia - Part 1: Ajaria-Gori-Tbilisi-Kakheti-Azerbaijan Border June 2013
Azerbaijan: Georgia Border-Balakən-Şəki-Lahıç-Baku-Xınalıq-Quba-Laza-Baku-Gəncə-Georgia Border June 2013
Georgia - Part 2a: Azerbaijan Border-Tbilisi-Armenia Border June/July 2013
Armenia - Part 1: Georgia Border-Haghpat-Dilijan-Sevan-Tatev-Goris-Nagorno-Karabakh July 2013
Armenia - Part 2: Nagorno Karabakh-Goris-Tatev-Noravank-Khor Virap-Echmiadzin-Geghard-Gyumri-Georgia July 19 to 22, 2013
Georgia - Part 2b: Armenia Border-Ninotsminda-Tbilisi-Mtskheta-Kazbegi-Kutaisi-Zugdidi July 2013
Georgia - Part 3a: Zugdidi-Swaneti-Zugdidi-Abkhazia Border – July/August 2013
Abkhazia: Georgia-Sukhumi-Tsebelda-Novyy Aton-Lake Ritsa-Gagra-Pitsunda-Georgia August 2013
Georgia - Part 3b: Abkhazia Border-Poti-Ferry to Ilyichevsk/Ukraine – August 2013