Exploring the Jewel of the Caucasus; Nagorno – Karabakh!


There is a magical place in the Lesser Caucasus where the beauty of unspoiled nature combines with rich history,  and the goodness of its people, giving travelers an unforgettable authentic experience.


Ararat Mountain on the way to Nagarno Karabakh. It is believed that Noah’s Ark landed on its summit after the great flood.

Many in the world have not heard about it except, maybe, every now and then in the news as a faraway land in a faraway forgotten conflicted post Soviet world. But it is in these forgotten places that I find travelling most worthy and rewarding. It is in these places that I meet the most genuine, honest, and generous souls. It is in such places that I have the best time of my life.


My lovely host 🙂

If you are like me with a knack for the far and the unknown, a love for exploration and adventure, this destination will top your travel list.


The Karabakhans are generous people and offer the best of everything, food, lodging, vodka, and good time. Its courtesy to bring gifts to the locals 🙂

The place is called Nagorno Karabakh also known as Artsakh.  A de facto republic located between Armenia and Azerbaijan.  The name is derived from Russian, Turkish & Persian and translates “The Mountainous Black Garden”. With its wild landscape, evergreen forests, Alpine peaks, flat valley, marvelous lakes and rivers, it is truly a pristine, unspoiled heaven and a perfect escape.


Shepard tending his herd of sheep

But its beauty is not limited to nature. Nagorno Karabakh has more to offer. It has a very rich and complex history. It is home to some of the oldest monasteries in the world.


Soviet statue


an old church

The food is so fresh and delicious; simply irresistible.


Sapas in the cups, warm yogurt

Lodging varies from hotel rooms in Stepanakert; the capital, to overnight stays in villages with the interesting Karabakhans if you will.


Most importantly, is the local drinks and the home-made splendid Vodka that no one should go through life without getting a taste of.


How to get to Nagorno Karabakh?

The easiest way to get to Nagorno Karabakh is to take the Pan Armenian Highway connecting Yerevan to Stepanakert. The ride can be done independently or with a travel agency. However, I recommend going with an agency or with locals who have good knowledge of the area.


Once in Stepanakert, you can use it as a base to start exploring the surrounding regions like Shushi, Tegranakert in Askeran, Aghdam, Martakert and more. Keep in mind that there is a lot to see in Stepanakert itself.


“We are our Mountains” a monument in Stepanakert depicting the mountain people of Artsakh, Nagorno Karabakh. Also known as Tatik and Papik; grandmother and grandfather monument

The roads to nearby regions can be rugged so a sturdy Lada Niva is a must, spare tires, extra gasoline, local dram, some knowledge in Russian, and a good map.



Getting stuck in the unknown 🙂

With so much to offer, Nagorno Karabakh is one of the most interesting travel destinations that I highly recommend.


Sarsang Reservoir


pristine wilderness

Writing and Photography

Samar M. Salma

4th of December, 2017


This blog reflects my personal opinion and my personal take on many issues. Its not a scientific paper, the information used is based on internet searches and some scholarly articles. Its purpose is to entertain and everything mentioned is open for debate and correction. Content & Photos are copyrighted

One Comment on “Exploring the Jewel of the Caucasus; Nagorno – Karabakh!

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