Filmmaker: Arpi Bekaryan

Them, us and the ruins


This film follows the journey of a group of young people who wanted to visit the Kelbajar/Karvajar region before it was handed over to Azerbaijan. The filmmaker documents her own thoughts and feelings as her camera captures the chaos they meet along the way.

After 44 days of war, on the evening of November 9, the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia signed an agreement to end the armed conflict over Nagorno Karabakh. With the Russian-brokered agreement Armenian forces had to withdraw from several territories, including the seven regions that were under Armenian control since the first Karabakh war.

Kelbajar / Karvajar is one of those regions, situated in between Armenia and former NKAO (Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast). When the region was taken by Armenian forces in 1994, the ethnic Azerbaijani population living in the area were forced to leave their homes. After the November 9 agreement, the ethnic Armenian population that settled in Kelbajar/Karvajar after the war had to leave their homes by November 25. 

Armenians from around the country hurried to visit the old Dadivank Monastery, which is situated in Kelbajar/Karvajar, one last time before it was handed over to Azerbaijan. 

This film was prepared with support from the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) South Caucasus Regional Office. All opinions expressed are the author’s alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of FES.