Warm and hospitable: “Welcome to our village, Sarnaghbyur”

5 August 2020

By Knar Babayan,
Photos by: Knar Babayan

3 min read

If you’re surrounded by mountains, the spring water is fresh and cool, there are cabbage, carrot, and potato fields all over the area, it means you’re in Sarnaghbyur village of the Shirak region.

Here everyone will greet you with a heartfelt smile – “Welcome to our village!”

Sarnaghbyur is not only famous for its breezy spring water but also tonir-makers (tonir is an oven in the form of a deep round hole in the ground and is used for baking lavash). Literally every household has a tonir here.

Almost everyone works in the village that has a population of nearly 3500 people. Women work in nearby farms, whereas 90% of men leave for migrant work in Russia.

They say the fields are more cultivated this year as due to the closed borders, most of the migrant workers have stayed in their village.

 

A view from the village.

 

Due to the pandemic, the children of Sarnaghbyur have been left out of summer schools. They gather to play “Duck hunters” in the evenings.

 

Edgar, 6, rushes to cycle around with his friends.

 

Grandpa Mnatsakan takes water from the fountain. A few neighborhoods of the village have flowing water only for limited hours a day.

Fields of carrot and cabbage. Just like in any northern region, people grow and consume these vegetables a lot.

 

Grandma Ethel is drying rosemary for the winter. Here it is often used in various dishes.

 

People have already piled up dry grass for the winter.

 

Once a month Gayane Melkonyan bakes 60-70 lavash breads for her family that consists of 9 members.

 

The sunflowers of Sarnaghbyur serve many different purposes. They are usually planted in bean fields so that the plant seeds have something to climb to.

 

Narine Melkonyan is harvesting raspberries to make jam. She has already managed to make some jams and dried fruit from their yard harvest.

 

Livestock breeding is the main occupation of the villagers of Sarnaghbyur.

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