Deep Purple, Khachkars and a Touch of Chauvinism

“Why do you speak Russian?” a Georgian border officer asked my friend, whose passport he was checking. It was 2 AM at the Armenian-Georgian border and we were returning from our 5-day-long car trip through Armenia. “Well, because some of my friends here are Russian-speakers. Why? Does it irritate you?” asked my friend, a journalist, by the way. “Yes it does,” the officer was obviously bored and tried to fun himself by picking on the jingo topic. “Well, I don’t care if you do. Can’t help it,” replied my friend, who was irritated herself. “I can penalize you then,” the officer tried to joke. My friend: “Can you? Where is it written that you can?” The officer (jokingly again): “I will show you the law.” The same officer 5 minutes later to my other friend: “do you have some kind of sect or something there (in Armenia). Why do you go there that often?” And so on and so forth.

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Sunset at the highway to Yerevan. Armenia, 2010

I hate when people start saying that Georgians are chauvinists – I’m Georgian myself and whole bunch of people that I know are not (although some people I know closely occasionally speak contemptuously about other nations. Sorry guys, you’re just morons at those moments). I have to admit though that it’s in the nature of any human being: I heard many Armenians, Georgians, Azeris and Russian that I know talking virtually the same way as that officer. I heard some other country’s officers (Armenian, Russian) speaking the same hate speech too. But since I’m Georgian, I would accent the problem here: all the paved roads and all the economic progress, if such, according to Saakashvili, exists, fades away when you return home and see a blockhead at the very border moralizing you on the way you should behave to be “a true Georgian.” Apart from anything else, not doing so is a matter of mere professionalism for the border officers.

OK, enough of that. I didn’t plan to start with this case, but to post some photos from the last trip to Armenia.

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Landscapes of Lori province. Armenia, 2010

It all started with tickets for the Deep Purple concert in Yerevan that me and some of my friends got. But instead of going directly to Yerevan, we decided to take our time and have a 3-day trip through Northern Armenia before the concert. So here go some pictures from the trip

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Odzun. Armenia, 2010

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Byzantine frescos at the Akhtala monastery church. Armenia, 2010

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Armenia, 2010

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Graveyard at Odzun Church. Armenia, 2010

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Landscapes of Lori province. Armenia, 2010

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Landscapes of Lori province. Armenia, 2010

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Armenia, 2010

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Ruins of the fortress near the town of Ushi. Armenia, 2010.

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Inside the church near Ushi. Armenia, 2010

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The Amberd fortress. Armenia, 2010

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The Amberd fortress. Armenia, 2010

By the way, one thing that striked my Georgian eyes, was more liberal organized religion in Armenia. Monks generally didn’t mind, if we climbed all over a monastery or a church. Even at night we managed to explore the Geghard monastery (it was locked for the night, but we sneaked in it through “the backdoor”, which included a little of rock climbing), and even though we eventually woke monks up, they didn’t pick on us,  but just glazed from the window. And as opposed to Georgian monasteries, they didn’t have guard dogs at all.

OK, some shots from the DP concert for dessert!

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Deep Purple. Yerevan, Armenia, 2010

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Roger Glover. 2010

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Ian Gillan. 2010

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The audience. 🙂

That’s it for now.

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Moon over Yerevan. Armenia, 2010

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8 thoughts on “Deep Purple, Khachkars and a Touch of Chauvinism

  1. I think, no one has taken pic like this on Yerevan with moon on it’s Sky! I have never been in Armenia, and thought it’s not beautiful country. Now, I think otherwise 🙂 Thank you Temo

  2. Just incredible photos! I’ll save my questions for those beers… come take a look at my blog vladicravich.wordpress.com It’s just a beginning, but hey, i’m suppose to mention it when I make comments or something… All the best, can’t wait to see more…

    • Thanks Vladic! Sure, I’ll be glad to answer, especially after a couple of beers.

      Your blog is really great, I liked it a lot. Very informative, and photos are great too. I’ll have some questions to you regarding Istanbul shortly, if you don’t mind. I’ll be there for a workshop by the end of June.

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