Travel to Megry

When in July I gathered in Armenia, many familiar, depicting interest in my idea, eyes expressed one thing: "quite sleep. " There are also more reasonable travel and recreation routes. And when I returned, asked: "Well, very terrible? Shoot? Starve?"

Must be disappointed. Do not shoot – in any case, in Yerevan and other places, where I managed to visit, shoot clearly less than in Moscow. So not scary. And do not starve, anyway, most residents of Armenia. True, how do they manage it – I could not always understand. But about it a little later.

For the first time in Armenia, I got two years ago, when a joint exhibition of Russian and Armenian artists was arranged in the Yerevan Museum of Contemporary Art (by the way, this museum was the first and only of this kind in all of the USSR, he originated in the 70s). And immediately fell in love with this country. Contributed to this and what we had a wonderful, albeit somewhat surrealistic trip. One of the participants of the exhibition was a classmate, at that time he held the post of chief of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Zangezura, the most southern part of Armenia, sandwiched between Azerbaijan and Iran, Colonel Aram Ter-Sahakyan. In general, Moscow artists and art historians were chaired by Ayastan-Armenia, accompanied by armed bodyguards who have carried a purely decorative function, and two or three times a day participated in Rellazian feasts in the society of local prosecutors, police and KGBSHOV and representatives of local authorities. But the country was able to see.

I fell in love with Armenia then so passionately that ten days after returning to Moscow went back, resting to Sevan.

In two years, I was reached again toward Ararat, however, as you know, for barbed wire border, in Turkey. And in Yerevan still apartments, the windows of which go to the biblical mountain, are more expensive than others.

For two years, much has changed, and for the better. It was not terrible and not hungry was then: Yerevan people remembered the scary winters of 91-93, when there was no food, no light, nor heating. When all wooden seats of park benches fought in the stoves-bourgearies. When they slept in all existing clothes – winter in Armenia is quite "Russians". Now the city is Pottit hundreds of cafes, shops and markets. There are many cars on the streets, including expensive brands, and with gasoline has become much better. Although traffic lights still almost do not work, and drivers drive themselves. Electricity is served all the time, cold water – a few hours a day that the Yerevan is fairly perceived as a huge progress. Well, they have long forgotten about the hot, and if she suddenly flies out of the cranes, it will be perceived as if the Paradise was arranged on Earth. At the same time, people werehed away, walk in snow-white dresses and shirts, and all girls are dressed in touching-kichevo, like fabulous princesses.

As for economic life – it is mysterious. The spectacle of a huge factory district in the south of Yerevan – the workshop with knocked windows, of which there are already quite rooted trees – produces a depressing impression. In the Museum of Armenia’s History, which has a fantastic collection of objects of antiquity and art, visitors walk with lanterns: light is disconnected for non-payment. The country has the whole industry, respectively, unemployment is already offset for all limits. Very often you can hear from people that their pink dream – to go to earn money in Russia. What does the majority of the population live, if not talking about agriculture, it is difficult to understand. Helps, of course, Armenian diaspora: Almost everyone has relatives in the USA, Greece, Turkey, France, Germany, Brazil. In Russia.

500 drams are equal to one US dollar. Bread costs from 200 to 400 drams per kilogram, milk 300 drams per liter, kilo meat – 1.000-1.500 dram. Gasoline Canister – 3.200. Vegetables and fruits in Moscow Concepts Concepts are cheap. But also the average state salary – if it is paid – is about 4.500 dram. That is, 9 dollars. Armenians themselves are not able to clearly explain why they do not murut from hunger: "somehow, brother-jan, spin. " Well, this people have always been famous for the enterprise. Although in what its meaning, also sometimes remains a mystery. In Yerevan in the center there is "Horovitz Street" ("Horovitz" in Armenian means "shashlik"). For one and a half kilometers in every house, from which the street and consists, nests a kebaly. Through the smell of a frying lamb make their way as through a thick fog. And in most institutions – nor soul. For whom this skewer phantasmagoria is covered by secret.

Tourism, with the exception of a certain number of nostalgic foreign Armenians, no. Remaining from socialism huge hotels often do not have water. Or she flows in rare minutes. Same with electricity. Latany-overlated sheets, though, quite clean. In the boarding house in Sevan, where I spent five days, designed for several hundred people, lived from the strength of ten. It cost life in it 10 dollars a day (with a very wretched feed). And 10 dollars is the amount that is not all Armenians can afford.

Country still lives in semi-block. Railway and car communication exists with Georgia, but it is not too reliable. Take out something or imported through the Allied Georgia – the thing is troublesome. As they say, Georgian border guards and customs officers are engaged in almost official robbery. There is a highway to Iran – about it further. And so – only the plane. But the ticket, for example, is about $ 130 in one way. It is expensive for the Russian, and for the middle Armenian – generally inconceivable money.

And in Yerevan, and the country is completely not felt crime. Already mentioned Colonel Ter-Sahakyan explained it so. Large gangsters integrated into business and power. With small police dealt enough fiercely. And the average moved to us, to Russia: there is too little money and living space on the rocky homeland.

At the same time where a private business comes into business, everything is much better. In private cafes, hotels and restaurants there are electricity, and water – even hot.

And gorgeous food. Armenian cuisine is less known than, say, Georgian, but no less interesting. She has a very ancient story, and she was consistently subjected to all sorts of influences: Iranian, Arabic, Turkish. And if you consider still that Armenians live around the world, it is clear that the kitchen of Armenia is very rich. This is a lot of variety of meat dishes, and different cheeses, basturma and flat dried sausage Sudzhuk, and fish. River trout, baked or boiled with herbs, just excellent. Unfortunately, the precious trout from Sevan, Ishhan ("Tsarist Fish"), almost translated. In Soviet times, in the lake, for some reason, they launched the Citions from the Onega, who were filmed Fort. However, the Sigi is also not afraid. And in Sevan, an incredible amount of crayfish lives. Well, of course, Armenian cuisine is hundreds and hundreds of vegetable dishes, dozens of various spicy herbs and seasonings, local bread – the finest pita bread and more familiar to us Matnakash, fermented milkma. In the summer, Armenians dilute Maconi with icy water, preferably mineral, this drink is called "tang", And the best tool thickening thirst in the heat is not.

Cognac in Armenia, if it is purchased in branded shops of a brandy plant, very good and has nothing to do with the fact that under his name is sold in Moscow. Besides two times cheaper. And few people know about one of the items of Armenian pride – taut, that is, silk vodka. This strongest, delicious and fragrant drink is also considered healing.

In general, we, the Russians, are accustomed to many economic mysteries. But what is happening in Armenia discourages. Perhaps the Armenians save not only the notorious enterprise, but also a well-known sense of humor. The situation is much better with him than with dollars.

The fact that Armenia is surrounded by either open enemies – Azerbaijanis, either for the time being passed by passive ill-wishers – by the Turks, or not very reliable partners – Iranians, or quite dubious allies – Georgians, is felt all the time. Here is not a place to deal with who the first began, but the Genocide Armenians will not be able to forget. Far Russia, most perceived as a little, not the only ally, perhaps, therefore, the Russian is a very benevolent attitude.

Country is often compared with Israel. With all the obvious differences – similarities are obvious. This also applies to the army. In Armenia, rarely, who of young people evade service. I don’t want to fight anyone, but everyone is understandable, what are we talking about when words are pronounced "Defense of Motherland". But the soldiers in the small and poor Armenia are not similar to the emaciated pimpled dystrophics, "Shooting" Money on our streets. They often come on vacation, their parents visit and feed them.

Azerbaijani villages near the border were in a recent war destroyed. And several times quite responsible people said: "Turks (so always called Azerbaijanis here) still ever come back. But the Turks will never settle in the house in which he entered "gyur". They will start to restore the villages, and this time they will not think about the war".

One Armenian Old Woman, my friend’s grandmother, loved to repeat a brilliant saying: "When the Jews went to Mecca, Armenians were already returned from there".

Armenians adopted Christianity first, even before the emperor Konstantin dotted Byzantium, and to Georgians, in 301. The consciousness that Armenia is the oldest Christian country, for Armenians is very important, even if not everyone often looks into the church. The Armenian Gregorian Church is different from Orthodox, and from Catholic, and from Protestant denominations. Most Armenians do not know what is the difference, even quite educated are not sure whether Gregory is monophimitism or monotetethery (and we also won’t go here in theological subtleties). But they always remember about their antiquity and uniqueness. Sometimes comes to curiosities. Another friend in Armenia showed a church "second century BC".

Red Mountains, Blue Sky, Brother-Jan

But I went to Armenia yet not in order to explore the local economic and political situation. This is a country of amazing, indescribable beauty, inhabited by rarity cute people.

I have long noticed that the nature of each country is very similar to the landscapes written by great artists of that country, even if at some time they were accused of formalism and "distortion of reality". France is absolutely such what it is on the canvases of Monet, Cesanna or Van Gogh. Holland is a raisdal and gobbema. Yes, and Russia is very similar to the paintings of Levitan or Savrasova. Only reality ultimately turns out to be better than any picturesque masterpieces. Also Armenia: She looks like Cyrgyan’s creations, but much more beautiful.

Sevan – the biggest high mountain lake Eurasia. Five days on its shore, even in the absence of hot water and a bad wholesale food – regenerate the body and clean the brains. Clean air, pure water, silence and peace. You can watch clocks, how it changes its color water, from bright green to violet, or watching as clouds pass through the mountains surrounding lake. Then suddenly the scorching sun, and it is here and here (no wonder Sevan means "place where black"), clouds envelop the shore, and in five meters in the dairy chain it is impossible to distinguish anything.

Travel to Megry

Then – the slopes of Tsakhkadzor, the Alpine meadows, the brightest poppies. They say in winter there are very naughty ski slopes, and the lift works in the summer.

Hellenistic temple in Garni, in the first centuries of our era former "Dacha" Armenian kings – nature here and really amazing.

How to describe Ararat, a ghostly peak hanging over a flat valley? He represents an amazing spectacle from the top of a small mountain near the Turkish border itself, at which the monastery of the Choj-Virap ("Deep hole", Here in a truly very deep Jama sat for some years. Gregory, the Baptist of Armenia, – until the king decided to adopt Christianity).

And then – I realized my dream: I got to the southern corner of a wedge-like Armenia, where she rests on Iran and where you feel that here, behind the river Araks, the very different world begins. We agreed with a familiar taxi driver, which for $ 250 he will take to the border town of Megry. It’s about 400 kilometers but what! Passages, crazy serpentines, glaciers in July, wind on high mountain meadows and cozy green valleys. Pointed in the asphalt in a half-meter depth or pieces of the road at all without asphalt. Berries at an altitude of more than two and a half thousand meters, where there are no fences and two cars do not disperse. This is the only way to Armenia with Iran – before all the communications went through Nakhichevan. Began to build another last first secretary of the Communist Party, apparently, something felt, and, they say, he had about this "Roads of Life" Grand Scandal with Heydar Aliyev. Slow clock huge "Volvo" and "Macs" with Tehran numbers, something brought.

On the way, amazing places, such as the Tatev Monastery – "Let’s fly" in Old Armenian. And indeed, it seems that his temples are about to take off from the cliff to which they rushed, as if the nests of very bold swallows. The panorama, which only the Divine artist can think about kilometers around. Mountains, Gorge, Valley, somewhere far away. And below, in crevice, natural mineral thermal baths, known from the ancient times, bizarre twisted "Damn Bridge", Leaky cliffs hung over mineral keys.

Finally, Megry. Strange places I probably did not see. Overcoming Kajaran Pass, you turn out to be the fact that it is – the end of the European world. From the Armenian side of the mountains covered with shrub, in Iran – naked, scorched by the sun so much that snow looks. Along the rusty-muddy araks, the pillars with barbed wire stretch, on the Persian side in a sultry fog, some flat-rooted settlements are visible, which merging with color with cliffs. In the town of Megry, from watermelons to hygienic pads – Persian production. To the nearest Armenian city of Kajaran, for the pass, the bus goes twice a week. Border officers are engaged in private excuse. And on the border – dozens of Iranian trailers, the flea market, some tin rusty bolagans, not that warehouses, not that gearbox. Russian officer – the border guard Armenians together with our – noticing the camera, says: prohibited. Having learned that I am a Russian journalist, amazed asks: "Lord, how did you get here?"

Heat. Sky melts. Need to somehow get out towards Yerevan. Nobody goes anywhere. Near the traffic police in the city of Kapane, the donkeys passes. A compassion policeman brakes a huge Persian truck. The driver is to the question where and what is lucky, speaks by broken English-German-Russian, that in the way for fifteen days, from Tehran through Turkey-Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Czech Germany traveled to Holland for shoes, and now the same manner , through Tehran, carries a load in the town of Goris. Why in a tiny goris so many shoes? Armenian mystery.

Her friends explain in Yerevan. Goris – the main point of the message with Karabakh, and carried Persian soldiers’ shoes for the army "Self-proclaimed republic".

And then – the river arpa, fast, clean, for some reason warm. You can half an hour, clinging to the stones, indulge in the hydro massage, the better than in any wisdom jacuzzi. And hike in Nora-WANK, "New monastery", It is founded in the thirteenth century. For Armenians it recently. Red Mountains, crumbling bright green forest, ultramic sky. About the fact that the Armenian architecture represents an amazing phenomenon of absolute artistic hearing and the ability to put the building in the landscape so that they will not move it on the centimeter, many. However, Nora-Wank amazes. An even stronger is the feeling of eternal beauty when you see how the masters sit in the shadow of the restored temple and on the Pradedov Regulations, Pradededovsky tools recreate wonderful sculptures. Knocking chisel about a stone, rumbles the rods, shine cicadas and peck off in the bottomless sky of swallows.

In the market in the village of Arp, I’m looking for a tute vodka. The seller says:

– No, tautov. But try – grape, 700 degrees, guess what is clear, Brother-Jan, – I will give

– On walnut nut?

And I go drink "700 degrees" Harrow on the coast of Arpi, to eat Lavash with sujukuk, estragon and sheep cheese, under the blue sky, next to the Red Mountains.

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