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Photos -- Azerbaijan and Armenia

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Aug 20th, 2008, 05:07 AM
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Photos -- Azerbaijan and Armenia

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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Aug 20th, 2008, 10:41 AM
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Very interesting! The architecture of Baku is really unique and different from others. Thanks for sharing!
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Aug 20th, 2008, 04:51 PM
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I live in Glendale CA & so it is quite interesting to see pics from Armenia.

Thanks for sharing

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Aug 20th, 2008, 06:22 PM
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Michael
very interesting. My sister and I traveled to Yerevan in 1979 and are talking about going back. It will be interesting to see the changes.

I would love to hear a detailed trip report if you are up to doing it.

Thanks.
Jeanne
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Jun 29th, 2009, 12:15 PM
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Michael - I'm planning a fall trip to include Georgia and Armenia and would appreciate any input you could give. Current plan is to go overland from Georgia to Armenia, stopping off on the way around Debed canyon, Dilijan and Lake Sevan, and then fly out of Yerevan to Aleppo. Do you have any recommendations for travel/tour agencies (for the air ticket) and in-country tours (I've heard good things about Sati tours)?

Did you think N-K was worth the travel time? Any recs for hotels and restaurants? Do you think 10-14 days is enough time for Armenia? If you'd rather answer offline, maybe you could email me at kmwilhelm at ekit dot com?
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Jun 29th, 2009, 01:56 PM
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For my international air ticket (from New York to Azerbaijan and back from Armenia), I flew on Aeroflot, and I used Delta SkyMiles for the ticket (since I had to overnight in Moscow, I needed a Russia visa). I would be surprised if you could not book your Yerevan to Aleppo ticket on the Internet (by the way, I was in Aleppo this May, and I posted photos on the Africa/Middle East forum).

I generally travel independently, but I did work with an agent to get to N-K, since I didn't have that much time. I booked that with Levon Travel (http://www.levontravel.com/), based in Philadelphia, and they ended up arranging my Yerevan hotel (I stayed in a late 1800s villa that was convered to a guesthouse -- called Villa Delanda or something like that, but that historic part of Yerevan was slated for "improvement" and it may have been destroyed). Through Levon, I arranged a car/driver to take me to N-K. I'd give Levon an A+ (excellent service, friendly, English fluent guide).

I enjoyed the trip to N-K -- I saw a lot of the countryside, and while N-K itself was not that interesting, I was glad I saw that part of the country.

I'm sure you could cover Armenia north to south in two weeks -- its a small country with excellent infrastructure.
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Jun 29th, 2009, 02:29 PM
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Thanks Michael. I'm very much hoping NOT to fly via Moscow! Looks like Turkish Air to Tbilisi via Istanbul may be the best bet (I know you had to skip Georgia, I'm hoping to be luckier). I can book the Yerevan-Aleppo ticket direct with Syrian Air, but I was wondering whether a local agent might be able to get a discount, as it's not cheap. (Cheaper than a couple of weeks overland, though.)

I did take a look at your ME pictures - very nice!
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