And there’s a village life


I took a long recess…

Well, well, I’m back. As I wrote in one of my blogs the only thing which has  been occupying my mind recently was to escape from the city to a village for several days. And I managed!!! As soon as my friend mentioned about her grandma’s house in Hanqavan I was already ready to pack my things and start off. Don’t want to tell how we got there, though to mention that we changed several buses in which all people were packed like herrings in a tin, and pungent odour in the air making it heavier and foul. And those were the signs to predict that village life had a start right from that bus.

Beautiful hills with fir-trees here and there, fresh air, meditating silence suddenly interrupted by sounds of animals and popping of the bus engine which dropped us off at feet of the village. Akhundov is the Turkish name for the village as once it was inhabited by Turks, later it was renamed and got an Armenian name Pyunik, but so far people call it by its old name. It is not exactly in Hanqavan, but two villages away. A narrow street, I mean that made of stone, soil and mud and animal sediment, which led up the hill. Little cozy houses with big gardens on both sides of it. Special smell of animals usual only for villages. While I was inhaling that air eagerly my friend hold her breath, she was not used to it. Her grandma’s house was nearly the last one up the hill. By the time we reached the place all the neighbor villagers were already aware that people from Yerevan had come and they were peeping out from behind their gates and garden fences.

The image was just the same as that in my recollections. Nothing had changed since I was at a village for the last time many years ago. The same peasants, humble, kind-hearted people, always full of good humor, joy and hard work. Women get up at 6am, milk the cows, take cows and sheep to join the herd, feed chicken, geese or pigs then they work on the soil, water the plants, gather the harvest, make butter and cheese, raisins and other sweets out of just gathered fruit, and cook bread. Then they bring the animals from fields, milk the cows again, find some other work to do and finish all up when it is 1 or 2 am, and go to bed for getting up early the other day and repeating the same schedule.

Men. At this time of the year one may find them in fields gathering dry grass for animals and packing them on lorries. Other things connected with cattle driving and grazing are also on men’s shoulders. Sometimes they may not appear at their places for several days just because the work is much too much and they spend their nights in open fields.


And thus the whole year they make preparations for winter, they store food, fruit and vegetables for the village is dead in winter. The paths are covered with snow, which makes it difficult to go down to the only shop there. So the whole winter they stay in their houses and take care of the animals trying to keep the furnace burning. Surely the keen and young ones also take the harvest to markets and sell it and it is the only way of their income. And so they live.

Children. Honestly sometimes I’m jealous. They have those fields, those hills and rivers, they have those gardens full of fruit, they ride horses and enjoy the speed of the wind coming against. What else to wish? But a child from the city may say: “And I have other games, computer, a cell phone, waterworld, merry go rounds, cars after all, the hell I need that village”.Then a question: “ Who is more progressive and who is healthier?” Even children are so different, I guess they can’t find interests in each others’ worlds.

And here comes the contrast between the city and the village. Villager’s life is difficult, indeed, physical work through all of their lives. They don’t look nice, they don’t wear beautiful and fashionable things, their clothes are usually dirty and worn out, their hands are rough and ugly, their faces with sunburn and wrinkles. Instead, they always preserve real human features – helping each other, taking care, doing each others’ work if one is not capable. They are hospitable, generous, open-minded and it is all because, methinks, they are close to the nature, to the soil, and to my deep convictions people dealing with plants and soil just can’t be bad. Surely there are exceptions to the rule, but they only come to prove the rule. And I cordially respect them. Really, who would feed the city if there were no villagers? So oligarchs with stunning restaurants, remember, there’s sweat and blood of peasants in every piece of food you gulp!

Oh, and one more thing! Villagers are big gossipers, rather rumour spreaders! I mean they are aware even of a strange flee flying over their village. They know whose husband did what, whose sister said what, who went where and when and why. And while we were walking in the village all the women sitting at their gates would ask whose grandchildren we were. And then ‘ah’s and ‘oh’s and ‘vay’s would follow it. But certainly they don’t mean anything, just the village is not big and everyone knows each other and every stranger especially from the city is a discovery for them.

And there me, singing outloud all over the village. Surely they may had thought somebody is testing her voice on TV, but as far as there were only three TV channels they could had guessed that this is the “anamot” (shameless) girl from Yerevan. Though funnily our grandma gave a nickname “vesyoliy aghchik” which is translated as “a cheerful girl”. That was funny! Our grandma was cheerful as well and full of energy. I didn’t see her to sit and have rest even for some 10 minutes. She was “perpetuоmovible” as said in Spanish. My friend says that her grandma is so accustomed to that village life and always being in that mobile state she hardly lives a day in Yerevan, she just can’t not do anything, she is so active!

After all, yeah, I escaped the city, for some 5 days though. Again I’m in this big mess with its everyday problems. The same heat, same ….. don’t want to talk about it. Ok. I’m getting along, looking at life from its brighter sides.


Many thanks to my friend Ira for taking me with her and to her grandma for hospitability.
As sang in one of my beloved songs from the film “Sounds of Music”, …these are a few of my favorite things… Enjoy!


Համբոն Գիքորին քաղաք էր տանում




Ooh,  back to my sheep again! 


And how did they manage to entruck like this ?!?!


Khache tas!!


Mmmm… I  wanna back massage too!



Now I’m scared of snakes , scorpions and also
Turkeys.  They are scary !!!


Now what direction to go?



It’s important not to look at each other, but to look in the same direction!



Heey, who took my picture while I was trying to pick up plums?!

21 Responses to “And there’s a village life”

  1. Esoteric Says:

    Akh vay, sirts kanchoom e Hayastani hamar. 😦

  2. Zarchka Says:

    I wonder, yeghel es Hayastanum?

  3. Esoteric Says:

    That sounded very negative, are you trying to dash my diasporan perception? Shame on you! 😉 So, my answer would be… Voch. Nyet. Nein. Non. No… Aye caramba multilingüe!

  4. Zarchka Says:

    Didn’t mean to sound negative, just wondered. Esta claro señor multilingüe? 😉

    Hey you could have come to Armenia by that ¨One nation one culture” thing. Couldn’t you? All you had to do was to sing or dance a bit, can’t you? or links 😉 There was a dancing group from Sydney called “Sevan”, familiar?

  5. Esoteric Says:

    Si, claro. I was just trying to pull your strings. Claro is the best word ever, so versatile.

    Anyway. I know of the ‘Sevan’ dance group, but I don’t know much about it. Besides my dancing repetoire doesn’t exceed beyond mostly making a fool of myself and a little bit of a waltz.

    Maybe I can do a little karaoke instead, the masses will be ‘shocked and awed’ by my talent :p — Yes ko ghimetn chim gidi, javahir kari nman is. Tesnoghin Mejlum ku shinis, Leilu didari nman is!

  6. Zarchka Says:

    Hmm, you may sound great! 😉

    Actually you could well participate even with your “shocking talent” as many did. To tell the truth, didn’t like much “Sevan” dance group, the choreography was too weak. But they were trying, at least.

    Guess how a villager from Gavar would recite Sayat-Nova in their dialect!!
    “… Mka dun is im khorot, mka achqerd en tchprot, ar qe mi kap tcaghikner, qe hmar em prchokel…” 🙂

  7. Esoteric Says:

    That bad eh? I should be guaranteed a podium spot!

  8. Onnik Krikorian Says:

    Hmmm, I guess when you say “Turks” you mean Azerbaijanis, but anyway, according to the Rediscovering Armenia Guide until that name change it was known as Dadaghishlagh. There’s also some interesting Soviet history associated with the Azeri name for the village.

    Next comes Pyunik, formerly the Azeri village of Akhundov, (till 1939 Dadaghishlagh), a famed Azeri communist who, among other things, translated Marx and Lenin into Azeri Turkish.

    Anyways, do wish Armenians would refer to Azeris as Azeris and Turks as Turks. I don’t care about the nationalist rhetoric behind this, but more that in all other circles, Azeris are not referred to as Turks. Gets confusing otherwise.

  9. Esoteric Says:

    Confusion or not, I think it’s the correct thing to do. I believe we as Armenians should keep pointing out that Azeris are in-fact Turkic, so that they are tossed in the same boat of brutality to which they rightfully belong (atleast until Armenia gets the justice that she deserves and continuing hostility is ceased).

    We shouldn’t allow the world to differentiate Azeri brutality from Turkish brutality just because they are ignorant to world history. It would be a great victory if the world views them with the same disdain they have for the Turkish nation.

    I just wonder how many “Margaryan”s have to die before the world realises they don’t deserve an iota of respect until they change. Fuck political correctness, it’s just a breeding ground for lies.

    I know you didn’t want to hear “rhetoric” Onnik, but I just had to get that off my chest. 😀

  10. Onnik Krikorian Says:

    How many people have to die fullstop because of racial hatred? No nation is spared from being inflicted with this disease. I have some Azeri, Turkish, and Kurdish friends, and as long as they — like me — don’t hate each other or want to wipe us out, I’m quite happy to consider them as such.

    Interestingly, two of the Azeris are quarter Armenian and live in Baku.

    Anyway, I think there’s a difference being a Turkic people or a Turkic-speaking people. Still, I would consider the term “Azeri-Turk” being more appropiate and certainly clearer in terms of understanding if politically incorrect. Anyway, I guess you can call whoever you want whatever you want.

    But yes, I hate nationalism, and I hate rhetoric. People are people and there are no inherently evil nations — only a culture of teaching racial intolerance, and I think using the term “Turk” for an “Azeri” or “Azeri-Turk” is part of that. Of course, that’s just my opinion, but standard practice for anyone who wants their writing to be taken seriously.

    Well, whatever. Just a comment. Here’s what the Wiki says, though.

    The Azerbaijanis [15] [16] are an ethnic group mainly found in northwestern Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan. Commonly referred to as Azeris (Azeri: آذریلر/Azәrilәr) or Āzarīs (Persian:آذری), they also live in a wider area from the Caucasus to the Iranian plateau. The Azeris are typically Muslim and have a mixed cultural heritage of Turkic, Iranian, and Caucasian elements.


    In many references, Azerbaijanis are designated as a Turkic people, due to their Turkic language and partial descent from the Oghuz.[32][33][34] However, there is a debate regarding the ethnic origins of the Azeris. The debate has to do with modern nationalism and historic claims over Azeri territory. The debate involves three viewpoints: whether the Azeris are of a Turkic background from Central Asia, are an Iranian people who simply changed their language following Turkic invasions, or are indigenous to the Caucasus and have adopted the Azerbaijani language, Persian culture, and Islam. Thus, determining whether a Turkic, Iranian, or Caucasian background defines the Azeris has much to do with the historical views of Azeribaijan’s neighbors.


    This view supports initial genetic studies conducted in the Republic of Azerbaijan that link the modern Azeris primarily to their neighbors in the Caucasus and, to a lesser extent, northwestern Iran.[36] Further studies with Azeris in Iran may help determine to what extent the modern Azeris are related to Caucasian peoples (notably the Albanians and Armenians) and Iranians (primarily the Medes).


    Though the population of Azerbaijan is culturally diverse, genetic testing has revealed common genetic markers that support an autochthonous background for most Azeris. A 2003 study found that: “Y-chromosome haplogroups indicate that Indo-European-speaking Armenians and Turkic-speaking Azerbaijanians are genetically more closely related to their geographic neighbors in the Caucasus than to their linguistic neighbors elsewhere.”[36] The authors of this study suggest that this indicates a language replacement of indigenous Caucasian peoples. There is evidence of limited genetic admixture derived from Central Asians (specifically Haplogroup H12), notably the Turkmen, that is higher than that of their neighbors, the Georgians and Armenians.[51]

    Guess it’s up to Zarchka if she wants to use the rhetoric of Armenian nationalists are be taken seriously by wider groups of people. However, it does reflect one thing, though. For sure, most Armenians use the term “Turk.” Then again, some even call Karabakhtsi that as well. It’s a term used derogatorily for almost everybody Armenians don’t like, just as Turks use the term “Armenians” to describe the Kurds in SE Turkey.

  11. Onnik Krikorian Says:

    BTW: I notice you mention Gurgen Margaryan and use his death to justify hatred of Azeris. Fine, I suppose, but where do you stand on the many more racially motivated and brutal deaths of Armenians and other ethnic groups by Russian nationalists in Moscow and elsewhere?

    Actually, Armenian nationalists use the first example but forget the more numerous incidents of racial hatred against Armenians in Russia because it doesn’t fit into their political agenda. Nationalism doesn’t care who dies or how. All that matters is whether a death can be used to justify a political agenda against another ethnic or national group.

    Yet, ironically, hundreds of Azeris travel to Armenia every day from Iran, and in Russia and Georgia Armenians and Azeris get on fine. This presupposes that the Armenian-Azerbaijani relations have nothing to do with ethnic rivalry but more nationalist ideals and agendas in the two Republics.

    Both countries use such hatred to perpetuate their respective corrupt and intolerant regimes.

  12. Zarchka Says:

    Onnik, there was not a nationalist rhetoric behind the way I used the word “Turks”.

    -The village was inhabited by turks,- said grandma.
    -Turks or Azeris?- was my question
    -Turker, Turker, bala jan,- was her response.

    Well, I didn’t ask more. Had the same conversation later with one of the villagers, also an old man (there aren’t many young people there, and what could they tell me) “…inhabited by Turks..” he said for several times.
    OK, now I know that in reality it was inhabited by Azeris, thanks on it. But. Can anyone blame those people for not differentiating Turks from Azeris. They are old, they lived a history which always stated that there are Turks and only Turks. Turks and Azeris are of the same heritage and only that is important for them.Good you mentioned that Armenians use the “term” Turks to denote everyone who they dislike. That’s it. Kind of reminds me about the film “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” where an old woman calls “Turk” everyone she dislikes and is afraid of.

    I myself differentiated Turks and Azeries some 3 years ago. It is that we only hear “Turks” and all. Whether the word Azeri is long to utter in Armenian? But on mentioning Turks we mean both Turks and Azeries, which always has the connotational meaning of brutality. Based on recent years’ observations I had my own judgments and following differentiation – Azeris have enormous nationalistic hatred which occupies minds of everyone, youth as well. It’s ad absurdum to call it expression of patriotism. Certainly I don’t deny that Armenians also have that hatred. Though remembered my spontaneous reaction to the answer of an Azeri guy . Then, I considered what some Armenians who have been to Turkey, say, that Turkish people treat them with kindness, try to help them in everything, they are open-hearted. Sounds contrasting to hear, but it is what they insist on If you try to oppose.

    And on implying on my nationalistic hatred, as if you don’t know my opinion. And again opposing my own considerations on Azeris, probably it was my “hatred” when during the Tong-IL-Moo-Do workshop in Georgia I was helping an Azeri guy to learn the khatas. Hm? Incidentally, I did it with patience as he was very slow in grasping the movements. And also that guy was sleeping next to our Armenian guy, in the same bed. That must go into history, I guess. People are people and you don’t pay attention to the person’s nationality or ethnicity when you suddenly become friends.

    ( I answered late, just couldn’t manage before)

  13. Onnik Krikorian Says:

    I don’t think I implied any nationalist hatred on your part. I am however tired of the way Armenians call Azeris “Turks” and only sees nationalist ammunition in hating Georgians, Turks and Jews while overlooking anything done by Russians or anyone else including themselves for that matter.

  14. Esoteric Says:

    Please don’t place our country’s government on equal footing with that of Azerbaijan’s. They’re no-where near as bad. Anyway my view on whatever it is we’re talking about…

    I’ve got nothing against Jews — The Israeli government and those anti-Russian oligarchs, hell yes. I’ve said it before I’ll say it again; I dislike any nation that has harmed Armenia, and therefore I will approach people who originate from those countries with a graded caution, based on the ills perpetrated.

    Russians; you said it yourself… “and other ethnic groups”… Azeris on the whole dislike Armenians. Why? Unlike the Georgians, we threaten the fabric of their falsified identity, since we stand there as a testament to the history of the region. Without us, they would bullshit to the world with impunity. Exactly like the Turks. In-fact I will go as far as saying they’re just a satellite of Turkey, mini-Turks, mimicking every policy even in fabrication, cleansing and denial methods.

    On a total population ratio; more Russians like, or are neutral towards Armenians than Azeris. Azeris have an active government policy of bellicose anti-Armenianism — Armenians have a justified inherent gut-dislike of Azeris, because we have been and are their victims. Those skinheads in Russia, are just that, skinheads. It doesn’t qualify as a national consciousness of hatred.

    It doesn’t mean that I let them off Scot-free. I speak of Azeris/Turks more oft than Russians, because Russians get enough international publicity from the animosities they have forged with the powerful exiled oligarchs and their “friends” in high places.

    As for the whole racial differentiation stuff… We all know why they changed the name of the country from Arran to Azerbaijan. Can you say attempted land grab?

    Yes, Albanians have lived in that area, I don’t dispute that, but the fact is, Armenians have held their language and culture as true to their roots as possible, even more so than the Persians, who share a common ancestry with us — Quoting Mehrdad et al. However nothing is left of the Albanian federation. Perhaps genetics show certain indigenous tendencies, but the fact is; Azeris act and speak like Turks, there is nothing in their present or modern historical culture that is totally independent of Turkishness. Whatever Caucasian-esque culture they have is blatantly stolen from the Armenians. *cough* You too Georgia. *cough*

    Anyway, I’m sure all I’m saying is baseless and not worth taking seriously. So I’ll be on my merry and narrow-minded way. I have to throw another shrimp on the barbie and chase some sheilas…

  15. Onnik Krikorian Says:

    It’s got nothing to do with Azeris. Armenians and Azeris get on extremely well when the former are from Iran or when the two meet outside Armenia. What is the issue is the respective attitudes from the two Republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan. Here I would agree that Armenia is “better” than Azerbaijan, but I wouldn’t paint Armenia as some holy nation devoid of such feelings.

    Anyway, Armenians too have taken from others in terms of culture. Armenians are a nation like any other. Interestingly, during the Soviet years Armenian and Azeris got on well. In fact, they are more similar than many other peoples. What makes this different is simply nationalism. Personally I hate national and ethnic hatred in all 3 republics — and anywhere else for that matter.

    It’s a curse.

  16. Onnik Krikorian Says:

    Incidently, BOTH Armenians and Azeris have been the victims of each other. Azeris leaving Kapan after violence, pogroms in Baku and Sumgait, Khodjali, whatever.

    Interestingly, however, historically, many main Armenian cultural figures have borrowed from Azeris — Sayat Nova and Paradjanov, for example. Indeed, the latter even went to Azerbaijan to make his last film “Ashik Kerib” in Azeri AFTER the Baku and Sumgait pogroms.

    Otherwise, Armenians always say they got on well with the Azeris during the Soviet years — better than with Georgians. Moreover, like I said, when it comes to Iranian Azeris or Azeris and Armenians living outside of Azerbaijan or Armenia, the same is still true.

    Basically, it’s a matter of a conflict between the Republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan and not necessarily Armenians and Azerbaijanis. The use of the terms “Christian” and “Moslem” by some, as well as referring to “Turks” is just a way to forget that fact.

    Incidently, none of this changes my attitude towards the right of Nagorno Karabakh to self-determination. However, it does indicate my dislike of nationalism. Patriotism in my book is something else.

  17. Oneworld Multimedia :: I Like Villages Too… :: August :: 2006 Says:

    […] It seems like everybody loves villages in Armenia, and who can blame them? Indeed, when Yerevan gets too much most of the city’s population takes time out by relaxing in them if not holidaying in Sevan or Batumi and Kobuleti. Even so, I don’t get nearly enough opportunity to visit them anymore despite them being the main reason why I moved to Armenia in 1998. […]

  18. babak parham Says:

    Hi everyone,
    Um…I see that you are talking about a very phossil topic.
    I am an Azeri but not a Turk, genetically it is approved to me that I am exactly from an Aryan origin and not from a Turkish origin. So using turk for all the azeris is not correct. It is better to say Azeri or Azeri-Turk.
    Moreover, at the time of Universal Village and in 21 century, it is waste of time talking about race and these things.
    All of us are haumankinds. God created different races in order we try to know eachother and to be completed by the mixture. Just think a moment, all the people in the world were Caucausian white or Mongloid Yellow or Black or red. How boring the world would be.

  19. Alana Says:

    wholeheartedly kisum em qo seru depi gyuxakan kyanq u shpum bnutyan het. Erb qaxaqiz durs em` el chem uzum het gal u etpes zgtum em depi parz kyanq`zurk zankazaz paymanakanutyunneriz. Bnutyan het shpumu geradasum em amen inchiz u karzum em amen mard,nuynisk inchpes nshum es “mess” ashxarum aprox zgtum e dran,parzapes haskanum en vor arden anhnar e aranz paymanakanutyunnerov kashkandvaz.

  20. Zarchka Says:

    Vaaay,, vaayyy,,, comment-d stipec mek angam el kardam es posty u hishem ed lav jamanake,,, elii em uzuuum!!!!

  21. tugba Says:

    Hi there,

    I am an Azeri who lives in Turkey. Actually my grandfather came to TR from a village which was called Okçuoğlu and according to my father this village is now in Armenia territory. I wonder about village and tried to make some research but i quess it’s name is different. I tried to find a list or something like that which includes old and new names of Armenian villages but i could not find and thats how i reached that blog.
    If there is anyone who know anything about that village, can she/he inform me?

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