“Did you know? In a few days, I’m leaving for Armenia.” “Where are you going?” “I am going in Armenia!” “And where is this place located?”. This is the classic line exchange which precedes the days before my departure for this land as wonderful as (Alas!) unknown to us in the West. Let’s say it right now: Armenia lays in that tiny plot where it is difficult to understand where does Europe finish and where does Asia begin. This little nation is bordered to the north by Georgia, to the East by Azerbaijan, to the South by Iran and to the West by Turkey. Age-old land, re-born recently after USSR’s collapse, it offers tourists the possibility to begin an out-and-out cultural, historical and human front rank journey.
Armenia is the land of religion. Surrounded by real Muslim strongholds, its inhabitants settled into Christianity (Armenian Apostolic Worship) and grew around it. Churches, cloisters and stone crosses are proper patrimonies they are proud of. Armenia is the land of history. First nation in the world to acknowledge Christianity as state religion, it became part of the communist and atheistic Soviet Union, seeing in this way the repression of its spiritual expression. In the meanwhile, it passed through a genocide that produced – at the hand of Turkish – almost 2,5 million victims. Armenia is the land of silent conflicts. Despite media do not speak about it, both the western and the eastern borders are closed, as there are two distinct conflicts taking place. Concerning Turkey, the reason for conflict is to be found into the tensions which are elapsing since the genocide, concerning Azerbaijan into “Nagorno Karabakh”, Azerbaijani territory almost fully inhabited by Armenians. Armenia is the land of hospitality. Do you need something? Someone will try to help you! Do you have any question? Someone will try to answer! Do you feel alone? Someone will try to keep company with you! It does not matter what is your name, how rich you are or if you are a stranger: there will be an Armenian ready to hand you his hand! Finally, Armenia is the land of contrasts. On the one hand, the capital Yerevan with its modern buildings, on the other, the remainder of the nation with its villages. On the one hand, the richest oligarchs, on the other the workman which lives with 100 dollars per month. I have visited this land many times and the changes underway are definitely a lot in every sphere, however the charm of this land is still untouched. The classic “travel agency destinations” are a must, but there comes a time when you need to do something different. Armenia is the right place to live not your holyday, but your Journey. Enjoy your journey, everyone. Armenia is waiting for you.
Simon Pietro De Liso