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Photos -- Azerbaijan and Armenia

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http://tinyurl.com/59rf7n

Since this region is variously considered by different sources to be in Europe, Asia and even the Middle East, I will cross-post. Even though the countries are not heavily touristed (except perhaps by diaspora Armenians, of whom I met many from Glendale, CA in Yerevan), maybe the photos will be of interest to some considering a trip to the Caucasus, an extremely historic and interesting part of the world.

Due to the lack of interest, I won't post a detailed daily trip report, but I am happy to answer questions, and will provide some short notes.

1. I had initially planned to visit Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia, but circumstances conspired to force me to abandon my plans to visit Georgia.

2. I started in Baku, Azerbaijan, and did a day trip to Naxcivan, an Azeri exclave situated between Armenia and Iran. It would be simple to reach Naxcivan overland if the Azeri/Armenia land borders were open, so now Naxcivan can only be reached by air or overland via Iran. For that reason, most visitors fly from Baku (flights are heavily subsidized for locals, and for that reason are oversold and I was only able to get my tickets by coordinating with a "fixer").

3. To get to Yerevan, Armenia from Azerbaijan I had to route via Moscow (I had initially planned to travel via Georgia). If the air corridor was open between Baku and Yerevan the flight would have been less than an hour, but since there are no direct flights, you have to fly via a third country, and Russia is the easiest (although it is in effect equivalent to flying from NY to Boston via Miami).

4. In Armenia, I visited many of its historic sights, focusing on the southern part of the country (I would have visited the northern monasteries if I had been able to travel overland from Georgia, as I had originally planned). So, while Armenia has three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, I only visited two.

5. From Yerevan, I also made the long trip (10 hours or so with stops) to Nagorno-Karabackh, and Armenian enclave insider Azerbaijan. So, while N-K is technically part of Azerbaijan, its controlled by Armenia and can only be reached overland from Armenia. A visit to N-K also requires a separate visa (that can be picked up in Stepanakert, the capitol of N-K).

Michael

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