Abcnews.go.com web-site advises 7 offbeat places to visit during 2012. Among them are Atacama Desert in Chile, Lisbon (Portugal), Whitsundays Islands in Australia, Railway Beach in Thailand, Venlo in Netherlands, Luang Prabang in Laos and Nagorno Karabakh.
“If you're looking for an adventure, this landlocked autonomous region between Armenia and Azerbaijan is the place to go. It's the kind of place that's so contested that not only does it not have an embassy, but its "Office of Permanent Representation" in Armenia doesn't even ask if you want your visa pasted into your passport. They know you don't, so they just attach it with a paper clip”, the author of the article writes about Artsakh.
Visiting Artsakh you can stay at the recently-built Armenia Hotel in the capital, Stepanakert, and use the city as your base to explore the region. Go hiking through snow-topped mountains and fields of yellow and red flowers. If you're staying with a local, don't be surprised if you're offered homemade mulberry vodka with breakfast.
The author advises do not miss the Gandzasar Monastery, meaning "hilltop treasure," built in the 10th century. Visit it at night to see it lit up in the darkness.
In our turn we would advise the tourists to visit some other places in Arstakh.
Dadi Vank is located in the east of the historical Vaykunik (Upper Khachen) or Tzar province, constituting the integral part of the medieval Artsakh (presently Karvachar district). It is situated 0.5 km north of the left bank of the Trtu (Tartar), very close to the borderline of the Martakert district of the NKR, barely 200 m away of it, on the southern slope of a woody mountain. Its altitude is 1100 m above the sea and 75 m above the bank of the Trtu. The convent is separated from the river by the historical village Khut, or Khutavan, (now Dadivank) situated in the valley of a small stream flowing into the Trtu. During the Soviet period this village was re-inhabited by Kurds and renamed to “Kulanlu”, or “Vank” (“Monastery” in Armenian).
Karvachar district is the place which must be seen. Its divine nature will adore everyone. Shushi is another beautiful town of Artsakh with its churches.
Amaras Monastery is one of the oldest Christian sites in the world and in Artsakh, and is an Armenian Apostolic monastery located near the village of Sos in the Martuni region.
According to Armenia's 5th-century chronicler Faustus Byuzand, St. Gregory the Illuminator founded a church in what was to become Amaras Monastery at the start of the 4th century.
Amaras was the burial place of St. Gregory the Illuminator's grandson, St. Grigoris (died in 338). A tomb built for his remains still survives under the apse of the 19th-century church of St. Grigoris. Visitors of Artsakh will have opportunity to see this unique monastery as well.
Nagorno Karabakh conflict started on February, 1988 when Azerbaijanis started to kill Armenians living in Azerbaijani cities as a response to the aim by Nagorno Karabakh to get independence and be unified with Motherland Armenia. War actions were continued till 1994, then a ceasefire treatment was signed. But despite of the treatment Azerbaijani side continues violating the ceasefire regime.
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