When Shant Khalaian, a Syrian-Armenian businessman, opens the door of his own studio he feels the wild flavor of the mountains – the warmth of the mountain sun intertwined in the leaves of rosehip, chamomile and nettle.
For many Syrian-Armenians and others, “Teryan Kebab” small Syrian cuisine has become a perfect meeting point which has turned into a small Aleppo with its flavors, music, cuisine and endless Aleppo stories which always come to an end in Yerevan.
In the Armenia village of Azatek, houses lean into the mountain slopes like pearls; some next to each other, and some holding their own space. Embracing earth and sky the village stands proud, though torn apart by emigration that has separated families and community.
The Tamantsi street in Yeghegnadzor is a bright example of emptying Armenia. Sunny and green, undisturbed and horrifying silence dominates here. Only stories of the past are the main topic of conversation between the houses leaning on each other along the whole street, houses with un-curtained and empty windows left by their residents.
The little fish swimming carelessly in what used to be Soviet brand “Minsk” radio adapter, “Horizon” and “Elektron” TV sets are unaware of the Soviet biography of their new homes. Even the pages of Soviet-time “Vokrug Sveta” (Around the World) covering the radio set cannot orient them to the unusual origin of their surroundings.
The dawn over the city of Tallinn, anchored on the coast of the Baltic Sea, is sunny and blue just as it is chilly and damp. The traditional tram lines separate the modern parts of the city from the old ones.
Ages speak through the tiled, triangular, pointed roofs and the colorful towels aiming towards the sky, while new Tallinn has now modern skyscrapers and avant-garde structures.
Women’s blue jeans on mannequins are skillfully worked with sand paper to get the partly worn-out effect of almost white faded-blue. Young Syrian Armenians Aram and Shant work in silence, instead their hands run quickly, and soon mannequins dress into their next pair of jeans.
Karabakh war veteran Hakob Tadevosyan is tired of moving from house to house, which he has to do pretty much regularly due to being unable to pay the rent.
“I’ve changed 10 homes within as many years,” says the 41-year-old resident of Hrazdan, showing a small room where his large family consisting of his wife and four children has gathered to cope with winter cold.
Gavazan, a rock-fortress that always keeps its head up amidst the endless mountains of the Armenian plateau, is the rightful lord of northeastern Armenia as for more than two decades now it has separated two hostile neighbors.
The menacing hill completes the scenery of an Armenian village, Berkaber, which is 160 kilometers to the northeast of capital Yerevan, in the Tavush province bordering on enemy Azerbaijan.
While the main protests in Yerevan rotate around fighting the “internal enemy”, with various campaigns for the conservation of architectural and historical monuments, saving the environment, etc., residents in remote villages bordering on Azerbaijan have silently waged their fight regarding more vital concerns as they have to organize their lives under Azeri fire.
From a cover adjusted in a dark brown business case Gor carefully, takes out his duduk, moistens the reed, holds the mouthpiece tightly with his lips, gives a sign by eye-contact to his partner Vaghinak and starts playing Armenian folk song “Sari Aghjik” (Mountain Girl; the alternate name is “I Fell in Love with a Rose”).
Another unconstitutional law has been ratified, activists of a civil group opposed to the controversial pension reform claimed late last week after President Serzh Sargsyan signed the amended legislation on Friday.
In Armenia that lacks natural energy resources the government attaches great importance to renewable energy developing small Hydroelectric Power Plant (HPP) system. This causes dissatisfaction and complaints of environmentalists and the public at large.