Impressions of Armenia
Armenia, an ancient country and Nation, eternally captive of its landlocked geography, trapped in a sequence of surrounding Empires with territorial ambitions. The early Armenians of Urartu already knew what this meant, with the Assyrian Empire around the 8th century BC on their back. Later, Romans and Achaemenid Persians jockeyed for control over the Armenian lands between them, next the Byzantine Empire inherited the Roman ambitions and the Sassanid dynasty those of the Achaemenids. In 387 the two finally found a convenient solution, for themselves at least: they simply split up Armenia and each annexed part of it, until the Arab Muslims took it all in the 600s. And by the time the Armenians managed to set up their own Kingdom again with an own Bagratid dynasty, cautiously navigating between Byzantines and Arabs, migrant Seljuk and Ottoman Turks entered the playing field and occupied historical Armenian territory in Eastern Anatolia. The imbroglio only became complete when in the early 1800s the Russian Czars discovered that their dominance over the Black Sea required them to get their foot in the Caucasian door as well, something the Turks did not particularly appreciate, of course. So, there is no surprise in the fact that the plain Armenian highlands between the towering Mount Ararat and the Lesser Caucasian mountain range in the North, served as one big and continuous battlefield. No surprise then either that today there are far more Armenians living outside Armenia than inside, in the USA, in Russia and in France mainly. It is the result of repeated and massive people displacements, battles and wars, brutal occupation and equally brutal regime changes. History echoes its tragic tune until today, with the post-Soviet territorial conflict of Nagorno-Qarabag lingering on between Armenia and neighbouring Azerbaijan, and with the border between Armenia and Turkey remaining hermetically sealed in reflection of the quality of neighbourly relations…
We cannot change history, but hopefully we can help change the course of tomorrow’s history, encouraged by the nice things! For, why would we not dream away a bit, focus on what all parties can positively contribute to break the spell and raise our hopes at the sight of the bucolic landscapes around Lake Sevan or the typical polygonal drum crowning a 17 centuries old church against the magic backdrop of the snow-capped summit of Mount Ararat?
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