Western Armenia: On the other side of Masis

featured story: Sedrak Mkrtchyan / PAN Photo Agency

It is night time. You awake with a start because of a loud noise that has come from the street, as if someone is making strange noises using a microphone. Is it a song? What language is it? Is it a human language? You understand in your state of half-sleep that you are hearing the call to namaz. “What? How can this be namaz? I am in Western Armenia, in Kars, my grandfather’s homeland.” And at that moment you realize that the connection has been lost between the memories flowing in your blood and the reality of today.

Ani is a ruined medieval Armenian city-site situated in the Turkish province of Kars, near the border with Armenia
Ani is a ruined medieval Armenian city-site situated in the Turkish province of Kars, near the border with Armenia
© PAN Photo / Sedrak Mkrtchyan
The hills of Sassoun, the central stage of the Armenian epic that gave birth to the nation’s greatest heroes
The hills of Sassoun, the central stage of the Armenian epic that gave birth to the nation’s greatest heroes
© PAN Photo / Sedrak Mkrtchyan
Aghtamar island, with the Church of the Holy Cross
Aghtamar island, with the Church of the Holy Cross
© PAN Photo / Sedrak Mkrtchyan
The bathhouses of Kars. Bearing a typical Byzantine style, the bathhouses were located in the lower part of the fortress, near the river. They are in a state of neglect today, filled with rubbish
The bathhouses of Kars. Bearing a typical Byzantine style, the bathhouses were located in the lower part of the fortress, near the river. They are in a state of neglect today, filled with rubbish
© PAN Photo / Sedrak Mkrtchyan
A village in Igdir, which is considered one of the poorest regions in modern Turkey
A village in Igdir, which is considered one of the poorest regions in modern Turkey
© PAN Photo / Sedrak Mkrtchyan
The Armenian city of a thousand and one churches, Ani. This was the capital of the Bagratuni kingdom and once the largest city in the region, with its scattered churches and other buildings. Today, it is finally open to tourists. Guides present it as a ci
The Armenian city of a thousand and one churches, Ani. This was the capital of the Bagratuni kingdom and once the largest city in the region, with its scattered churches and other buildings. Today, it is finally open to tourists. Guides present it as a ci
© PAN Photo / Sedrak Mkrtchyan
The Solukh bridge constructed on the Eastern Euphrates. According to testimonials, this is where the hero Gevorg Chaush was slain
The Solukh bridge constructed on the Eastern Euphrates. According to testimonials, this is where the hero Gevorg Chaush was slain
© PAN Photo / Sedrak Mkrtchyan
Writing on the wall at the entrance of the tomb of King Sarduri
Writing on the wall at the entrance of the tomb of King Sarduri
© PAN Photo / Sedrak Mkrtchyan
A view of the fortress of Kars from the bathhouse located below
A view of the fortress of Kars from the bathhouse located below
© PAN Photo / Sedrak Mkrtchyan
Icons on the walls of the ruined churches of Ani. Unidentified vandals have disfigured the eyes of the depicted saints
Icons on the walls of the ruined churches of Ani. Unidentified vandals have disfigured the eyes of the depicted saints
© PAN Photo / Sedrak Mkrtchyan
Mt. Ararat, as seen from Igdir. The mountain is strikingly beautiful when seen from Armenia, but the view from Turkey is not particularly attractive
Mt. Ararat, as seen from Igdir. The mountain is strikingly beautiful when seen from Armenia, but the view from Turkey is not particularly attractive
© PAN Photo / Sedrak Mkrtchyan
The Urartian fortress of Van, near the present location of the city of Van. The foot of the fortress used to host a large Armenian district called Aygestan, which has now been completely eliminated
The Urartian fortress of Van, near the present location of the city of Van. The foot of the fortress used to host a large Armenian district called Aygestan, which has now been completely eliminated
© PAN Photo / Sedrak Mkrtchyan
A painter sells his work on the shore of Lake Van. Tourists often visit this region and buy souvenirs from the locals
A painter sells his work on the shore of Lake Van. Tourists often visit this region and buy souvenirs from the locals
© PAN Photo / Sedrak Mkrtchyan
The Berkri waterfall – one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Western Armenia
The Berkri waterfall – one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Western Armenia
© PAN Photo / Sedrak Mkrtchyan
Decorations on the walls of the Church of the Holy Cross at Aghtamar. The whole church is covered in carvings with Biblical themes. The Holy Cross is the only church in Western Armenia where an Armenian mass is held once a year
Decorations on the walls of the Church of the Holy Cross at Aghtamar. The whole church is covered in carvings with Biblical themes. The Holy Cross is the only church in Western Armenia where an Armenian mass is held once a year
© PAN Photo / Sedrak Mkrtchyan
Decorations on the walls of the church of Tigran Honents. The wealthy Honents built the church in the 13th Century
Decorations on the walls of the church of Tigran Honents. The wealthy Honents built the church in the 13th Century
© PAN Photo / Sedrak Mkrtchyan
Kurdish girls photographed near their house, in the fields of Mush. It is rare to see girls without headscarves, because they are required to wear them everywhere and always
Kurdish girls photographed near their house, in the fields of Mush. It is rare to see girls without headscarves, because they are required to wear them everywhere and always
© PAN Photo / Sedrak Mkrtchyan
A cross-stone, broken and inverted, near the houses of a Kurdish family in the fields of Mush. The local Kurds often find old, Armenian cross-stones from medieval times, which they usually use as building material
A cross-stone, broken and inverted, near the houses of a Kurdish family in the fields of Mush. The local Kurds often find old, Armenian cross-stones from medieval times, which they usually use as building material
© PAN Photo / Sedrak Mkrtchyan
Women cutting grass, Kars, Western Armenia. It is common to see women performing tasks of hard labor in the fields, while the city’s tea houses are filled with men
Women cutting grass, Kars, Western Armenia. It is common to see women performing tasks of hard labor in the fields, while the city’s tea houses are filled with men
© PAN Photo / Sedrak Mkrtchyan
A women in a hijab on the streets of Erzrum. Erzrum is the largest city in the region, with a population of around 300,000 Turks and Azerbaijanis
A women in a hijab on the streets of Erzrum. Erzrum is the largest city in the region, with a population of around 300,000 Turks and Azerbaijanis
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