Between a rock and a hard place

After my visit today to the National History Museum, this statement seems at once to be appropriate for Armenia as well as a gross understatement. I have been hearing about the history of the region and Armenia for almost 2 weeks now but it really came together today how Armenia fits in with our other Caravan-Serai destinations.

Armenia has been in the path of clashing empires for centuries. In the 1700’s they were in between the Ottoman and Persian empires, and became part of the Persian empire for a while. Then the Russian empire and the Ottoman were at war in the late 1800’s with Armenia caught in the middle again.

The legacy of all these wars has most definitely left their mark on this tiny country, but none more so than the Russian-Ottoman war and the results of the final resolution of the war that not only kept Armenia split in two, but led to the genocide of Armenians in Turkey. The issue of what to do about the Armenians left in Turkey, issues about ensuring they were to be respected, were answered in a brutally  simple manner by the Turks- “No Armenians, no Armenian issues.”

The genocide was the first of many in the 20th century and is named along with the Holocaust, Rwanda, and several others as part of the genocide century.

Other aspects of these clashes and Armenia being taken over by the Persian and Russian empires can still be seen today. I see subtle Persian elements in the artwork we have seen and of course the Russian influence turned into Soviet domination which has left its mark physically on the cities that are filled with abandoned Soviet era factories and buildings.

Armenia, as well as Azerbaijan and Georgia, have much to offer as a compliment to other Caravan-Serai destinations. Visiting these countries will definitely give you a much, much broader perspective on the region as a whole. It will fill in some gaps ad well as open your eyes to another side of history here.

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