The north-western Shirak Province of Armenia is well-known for Gyumri, the second-largest city and the cultural capital of Armenia. The region has over 120 villages, the names of which often reflect various elements of nature or are after a significant someone who was born in that village.
One of the most charming villages of the Lori region sits on the Pambak River. The mountainous Vahagni is home for over 900 people who use cattle breeding and the production of wheat, barley, alfalfa, potatoes, cabbage, and other vegetable crops to make a living.
People who have never been to villages cannot get the real beauty of rural lifestyle: fresh air, homemade food, sounds of the wild, nature that speaks for itself, and skies full of twinkling stars.
The golden rays of the sun give a bright shade to the meadows and bluish green mountains far away. The villagers sip a cup of coffee as roosters’ Cock-A-Doodle-Doo breaks the early morning tranquility getting everyone in the mood to work.
Paints, brushes, parts of toy cars, engines, ping pong balls, ice-cream sticks, various chargers, and other weird and incredible items lay on Ashot Harutyunyan’s work desk.
“The most powerful resource Dalarik village has is neither its agricultural lands nor its location. Dalarik is unique for its strong individuals,” says Lilith Hakobyan, the COAF Education Programs Manager and a former inhabitant of Dalarik village of the Armavir Province.
On top of one of the mountains of the Lori region, stands a village called Mets (means big) – Mets Ayrum. During the 1980-90s, it became the new home for newcomers from Gandzak, Baku, Getashen, Kushch, Shahumyan, Erkej, Zhurnabad, and other habitats.
The road to Aragatsavan village school is not an ordinary one. While the majority of roads in Armenia are paved with asphalt, this one is a stone road reconstructed by COAF and the local authorities in 2011.
Myasnikyan village school didn’t have a bathroom until almost a decade ago. To “use the bathroom”, children had to leave the building and walk towards a smallish shelter that was built on that purpose. The decaying building lacked electricity, running water, and heat.
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.
When driving to Hatsik village of the Armavir Province, you will meet a street sign saying Nairi. Don’t worry – you aren’t lost. It is the Hatsik you were looking for, the village known as Nairi during the Soviet era.
“We are used to hearing the sound of shelling,” calmly says the 17-year-old Laura Yesyan who lives in the borderline Aygehovit village of the Tavush region. Since the Nagorno-Karabakh War, people are used to living with the tension on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.