We walked across the bridge between Iran and Armenia pulling our suitcases and removing our headscarves. There was a duty free shop full of alcohol and a young women who worked there in a very short dress.
The Armenian guide immediately made a joke about having barbecue pork for lunch which we did with Armenian beer.
The narrow steep valley was the same
But in Armenia there were cows instead of sheep as in Iran.
Facts and Figures
Armenia is now 75% mountains. The population of Armenia is 3 million with a diaspora of 12 million. You are quickly told that it was the first country to adopt Christianity in the 3rd century, that the design for the churches of Europe originated in Armenia and that much of Armenia’s land is now controlled by other countries especially Turkey.
Churches and monasteries on hilltops and rocky outcrops are very much part of the landscape and history.
About 200km from Yerevan, near the Sisian River, stands Carahunge – a seven-hectare astronomical observatory complex consisting of 204 stones, ‘sitting on the hill like soldiers, huddled in formation’. Referred to as ‘Armenia’s Stonehenge’,
For more information download… Carahunge
Armenia was part of the Soviet Union until 1991. It has since had a war with Azerbaijan over disputed territory, there is now a cease fire. Armenians require visas to enter this territory. The border with Turkey is closed because Turkey refuses to acknowledge the Armenian genocide in 1915-17.
Armenia has close ties with Russia. Russia helps manage the border with Iran, has a nuclear power plant in Armenia which is staffed by Armenians and supplies natural gas to Armenia. The guide used the word Armenian “independence” in inverted commas.
There are many deserted Soviet factories in Armenia which ceased to operate when the Soviets withdrew which was also the time of the war.