Georgia and Armenia have a lot in common: they both have weird alphabets; they were both early adopters of Christianity and remained Christian after the spread of Islam; they’ve both been batted around by much larger nations around them; and they’re both kinda Middle Eastern and kinda not.
A striking difference between the two nations, however, is that Armenia has an enormous diaspora and Georgia doesn’t. Due to the Armenian Genocide, large communities of Armenians can be found throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas. In contrast, most Georgians living outside of Georgia are in Russia, and there aren’t even all that many there. Consequently, it’s not easy to find Georgian stuff to see when traveling. Remember that Georgian church in Istanbul? That was pretty much the only Georgian thing to see in the whole city, and Turkey is right next to Georgia.
Can you see where this is going? I’d like to see Georgian stuff everywhere I go, but there aren’t any Georgians in most of the world. But Armenians are somewhat similar to Georgians, and they’re very easy to find. This suggests a coping mechanism: I want to see Georgian stuff, but I’ll settle for Armenian stuff.
For the past few months I’ve been living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and just as you would expect, there was no Georgian stuff and a good amount of Armenian stuff. So, I settled for the latter. Here are some pictures. They are: 1) a sign for the Armenian archdiocese (arzobispado) of Argentina; 2) an Armenian Genocide memorial; 3) a memorial for the Nagorno-Karabakh war; 4) a Spanish plaque from that memorial (note the name Artsaj); 5) a sign for some kind of church group; 6) a Spanish / Armenian plaque from a tomb in the beautiful Recoleta Cemetery; 7) me at the front door of the church of Gregory the Illuminator (San Gregorio Iluminador); and 8) the front door of the Tadron cafe (notice the Western Armenian transliteration — Tadron rather than Tatron for ԹԱՏՐՈՆ).
I recently took a trip back to Georgia, and I went to Armenia too. I’m not much for travel writing, so I’ll just give you the itinerary and some photos. Then I’ll point out updates I’ve been able to make to past posts.
Before that, however, I’d like to explain this blog’s new header image. For the past two and a half years I’ve used an image of some old Georgian calligraphy that I pulled from Wikipedia. That was fine for a while, but aside from the fact that it wasn’t my own image, it now strikes me as too limited. For while this blog started out as being only about Georgia, regular readers will have noticed that its scope has expanded somewhat to deal also with the regions and cultures surrounding and influencing Georgia. So this new image is fitting: the decayed ruins, covered in Russian graffiti, of an Armenian church in Tbilisi.
I haven’t posted any personal news recently because I haven’t been doing anything remotely related to Georgia. Now, however, I’ve moved to Istanbul, Turkey, for more wacky English-teaching adventures. If I had moved to Korea or somewhere like that, I would probably have started a new blog, but stuff related to Turkey is within the penumbras of stuff related to Georgia. Maybe I’ll start writing about topics more related to the Ottoman part of Georgia’s history rather than its Russian part (not to mention finishing old post drafts that have been sitting around for months). I also plan on revisiting Georgia and visiting Armenia and possibly Azerbaijan for the first time. Stay tuned.
One of the perks of my English-teaching job is that around Christmas I get plane tickets to anywhere I want. So I decided to go Thailand with some of my friends. I’ll be there for about the next two weeks. I will also be in Cambodia for two days to see the Angkor Wat. Maybe I’ll have a post about all of it later. Or maybe not.