The first time Felix Avetisyan told his wife he loved her, she was 13 and he was 16.
She laughed at him.
“I was a child. What love? He was like a brother to me, but then things changed,” Lena, 77, recalls.
‘He is my everything’
Most of the passers-by avoid it; the plaster cracks, bricks may drop, and rods fall, making the large four-storey building on Garegin Nzhdeh just too dangerous to walk by. Heavily damaged in the 1988 earthquake that hit Gyumri, the former dormitory was abandoned since 1989, yet is still home to 16 people who have been living in dreadful conditions for decades.
Vyacheslav Bejanov shuns cameras, eschews interviews. He does not want publicity - the Udi community he belongs to has been on and off under the spotlight of journalists he feels have manipulated them, NGOs using them to attract funding for projects which soon evaporate.
Fading - On Being Udi in Armenia
One of the world’s oldest, predominantly Christian lands, Armenia is dotted with centuries-old monasteries inhabited by scores of monks, but its convents are limited to one: the newly opened Ghazaravan Convent, located in northwestern Armenia. Its seven nuns are the only nuns in all of the country.
Armenia’s Seven Nuns
Thirty-six-year-old Iranian linguist Mariam Torabi came to Armenia last year with a goal not unlike that of other visitors: to learn a new language and experience another culture. But she also faced a challenge: how to live as an observant Muslim in one of the world’s oldest Christian countries.
Living as Muslims in Christian Armenia
65-year-old Marietta Khachatryan has been wearing a military uniform for 26 years. An engineer by profession, she join up to fight in the Karabakh war in the early 1990s, not realizing how much her decision would change her life.
War and Peace: Women of the Battlefield
Twenty seven-year old Arsen Vardanyan was born and raised in Gyumri, Armenia’s second largest city. He trained to be a lawyer, but only worked in the field for two years, from 2013 to 2015. Vardanyan quit to devote his life to improving his hometown, as one of the co-founders of the “Gyumri Is Our Home” initiative.
Resurrecting Gyumri, One Story at a Time
Artyom Avetisyan has lost count of the times he has driven along the serpentine road that from Yerevan takes him to the village of Khachik - a ribbon unrolling for about 100 miles, cutting through the rocky and grassy landscapes of Armenia’s south and climbing up to the hills bordering the Azerbaijani enclave of Nakhchivan.
Army in Armenia, a Bastion of Manhood?
Sixty-year-old Gevorg Gevorgyan was born and grew up in Gyumri, a city in northern Armenia. Gevorg, who is an architect and builder by profession, worked in his hometown for 30 years. Like many other Armenian men, he emigrated to Russia, where he also found work in construction.
Armenia’s Absentee Breadwinners
Lala Stepanyan has been temporarily living in her house for 25 years. “My husband and I moved to this shelter which was built using construction waste. It was supposed to be for a short period,” says the 65-year-old. “When neighboring shelters are demolished we take the materials that we can use from there and fix our shelter. But the number of shelters is decreasing gradually and so is the source of our ‘construction’ material.”
Armenia: the odyssey of Gyumri’s construction waste
A young Armenian English teacher creates a successful career as an online entrepreneur.
From the classroom to Instagram, a teacher builds a business online
A small village on the Armenian-Georgia border has become a haven for travelers, creating friendships between neighboring countries in the process.