How I travelled to Nagorno Karabkh

A country that does not exist in Armenia

After the dissolution of the USSR, Azerbaijan claimed this territory called «Nagorno Karabakh»; «Karabakh»; or «Artsakh»(old name of the region). However, since its people feel Armenian (being a region, historically inhabited by Armenians) and not Azeri, its «independence» was proclaimed, basically so that there are no problems between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Why do I say that it is a «country that does not exist»? The thing is that it is only recognized by Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria, meaning that at the «international level», it is not recognized by UN countries. There was a war between 1991 and 1994, although the conflict reignited in 2016 on the Karabakh-Azerbaijan border and more than 250 people, including civilians, were killed. Today Armenia has closed its borders in both Turkey and Azerbaijan.

Argentinians are on a «privileged list», so we don’t need a visa to enter the «country», maybe because Argentina was one of the first countries to recognize the Armenian genocide. They also do not stamp your passport, because then if you want to go to Azerbaijan, you would not be eligible to enter because of having been in Nagorno. Karabakh

The majority of those who visit this place are descendants of Armenians from the Diaspora, more specifically from the USA, Canada, France, Russia, although there are also those from Latin America. So I felt like I was part of  the movie «My Great Greek Wedding», but Armenian. The Armenians have a very good relationship with Greeks and many traditions are shared such us dances and meals. The most interesting thing for me was being able to see the remnants of the war, which ended just over 20 years ago. So it is common to see abandoned military tanks or a kind of «ropes» or «wires» hanging from one top of the mountain to the other, used to shoot down Azeri planes, as they flew at a low altitude.

Its capital is Sptepanakert, with 50 thousand inhabitants. A city full of life, bars, with dancing water fountain and free wi-fi in many of its public places.
The city of Shoushi has great importance in the history of the country. Its location, at the top of the mountain, was strategic when Azerbaijan bombed Stepanakert.

It is a country because of its people, so there are many youth and families, that did not emigrated to other countries or even to Armenia, because staying in their land is a way of building it, of being strong.. There were also mass marriages where these local couples were helped financially, so that they could form families and settle in Karabakh. This country is surrounded by mountains, so its landscape is very nice. Since its inhabitants have an Armenian passport and document, they are considered Armenians. So I can say that Nagorno-Karabakh has the most beautiful landscapes in all Armenia. The Armenians say that with Karabakh they are brother countries, so Armenia always helps them.

The photo is the symbol of the city, «GrandMa and GrandPa». It was basically built in honor of adult people of Nagorno-Karabakh. It has no body, since the heads above the ground show the connection with the land. Their mouths are covered, because there was an ancestral custom where daughters-in-law could talk to their fathers-in-laws (and tell them what they wanted) only once a year. And also because in certain local dances, women have their mouths covered. I think is a very nice place to visit and I recommend it 100%.