Artsakh: The Cradle of Liberation
Jtrdooz (Shushi Gorge), Artsakh: The story is that in May of ’92, over three nights (sleeping in caves during the day) something like 30 Armenian soldiers scaled the cliff to liberate Shushi. In the meantime, other forces came in from multiple directions. The result was that the Azeri forces thought they were surrounded by much larger forces than they actually were, and they retreated. The view from the cliff is extraordinary, and there’s a waterfall. Everyone loves waterfalls.
Ganzasar Monetary, Artsakh: The legend is that the priest in Gansasar held off the Azeri forces with two other priests for hours using the shotguns they keep under their vestments. We don’t know if that’s true, but when Ani went there for the first time, she felt the energy of the head priest before she saw him. To this day she maintains she felt some sort of force pass by her, and when she turned to look he was walking away, robes flapping in the wind, radiating some sort of awesome (in the true sense of the word. not as in, “nachos! awesome!”). Gansasar takes an hour or so to get to from Stepanakert, but the ride is incredible and the setting is breath-taking. Keep a lookout for the mortar embedded in the side of the outer walls. And don’t anger the priest; Lord knows what he’s capable of.
The Shkhtorashen Tree: The 2000 year-old tree: by now, this tree must hate us. Beautiful, majestic, breathtaking, and “big enough to hold a party inside.” (snap goes the camera) “Guys! Guys it says here this tree is big enough to have a party inside!” (snap) “Can you imagine having a party in a tree? Ha ha!” (snap snap) “Ohmigod guys you totally COULD have a party in here, will you take my picture with the tree?” (snap) This tree has probably MET Ghenkis Khan (who knows, maybe he said to his friend “Dude, sketch me in front of this tree!”) and all people can talk about is whether or not they could fit a turntable in there. But guys, seriously, it’s massive, and you could totally have a tea party inside if everyone stands up so they don’t get muddy. Snap.