Saturday, May 07, 2005

Saturday-Tatev, Karehunje, and Stepanakert

We arrived in Stepanakert after an incredibly long drive from Yerevan. We left at 6:45 a.m. and arrived around 6 p.m. making detours at the Tatev monastery and Karehunje. Tatev is an incredibly beautiful monastery that is once again at a very high point to protect it from invasions. The road featured numerous hairpin turns and our driver thankfully seems to have experience in dodging herds of cattle. Karehunje is the Armenian version of Stonehenge, but since it is far older, one needs to use imagination to realize how it once looked. People say that the name and idea comes from the Armenians. You’ll find this a common theme in Armenia. Anyone of note must have some Armenian blood, and Armenia either invented or discovered most things, or now does it better than anyone else.

Eventually we arrived in Stepanakert and met two AVC volunteers who are living in Karabagh and all went to a concert to celebrate Karabagh’s independence. Saturday night we met our host families for the weekend. There were three families the seventeen of us were divided amongst and I had the benefit of staying with Saro, a war hero from the town of Shushi where the fiercest fighting occurred during the war. That night he took myself and five other guys on a walking tour of the town describing military strategy, the town itself, and some of the fighting he participated in. It was a surreal experience, made more so by the fact that Shushi lacks any street lights.


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