On our way to Nagorno Karabakh, Areni, Armenia

The land of Artsakh known as the self-declared territory of Nagorno Karabakh, have its special beauty. While very few travellers are visiting its mountains at the summertime. Almost nobody is exploring the montentous region during the winter. And yes, this is not an easy traveling destination if you travel off the beaten path, or especially not during the winter.

Before crossing the border

But winter travel in Nagorno Karabakh is magically gorgeous. From the smell of houses fireplace, to the winter food that was prepared all year long for the winter (served with local strong vodka), all in the villages gray mood. With the landscape’s winter contrasts, combining the green of the forests, the brown of the dry alpine belt and the snow on the peaks where you must drive off road on the ice. And the most important meeting with the unique people living there, proud like the mountains.

Frozen road on our way to the village in Nagorno Karabakh

At June 2017 I’ve travelled to the most remote areas and villages of Artsakh to visit my Local friends. It was right after very long hiking and adventure guiding season in the Israeli desert, and I missed the winter so much.
So me and my ex-girlfriend Karolina book a ticket to Caucasian mountains, starting in Georgia for a better flight price. We got a marshrutka from Tbilisi to Yerevan where we rented a Lada Niva (my favorite jeep).

We have cross the south of Armenia on the road leading to Stepanakert the capital of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh), where we bought some sweets and dry food to take with us to our friends in the villages.
From there we headed south and after 12 hours of driving hardcore frozen roads we have arrived.
With no any alarm before, I’ve call from outside to Karine and Spartak. Their daughter Miriam run to the entrance and welcome us.
From this moment, we felt home.

At the next day I’ve woke up at 5AM leaving home with Spartak and helping him with feeding the animals.
The extremely cold weather didn’t disturb but getting out of home every time you need to go the toilet, made me wonder, should I go there or I can wait.
We ended this travel not before visiting the capital for a bit, getting lost in other village, using a portrait I captured a year before, in order to find another friend’s house. And as a dessert for this travel we have swim in a natural hot spring at the middle of mountains. Fighting the cold wind with a towel and the car heating system.

Here are some more photos.

Under Tnjri, the oldest tree in Nagorno Karabakh. Some says it’s over 2000 yeas old.

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