September 24, 2004

BOOK REVIEW: New Armenia Travel Guide
By Neil C Scott -- Yerevan Times

Stone Garden Guide to Armenia and Karabagh
by Matthew Karanian and Robert Kurkjian (304 pages)
CLICK for MOREPublisher: Stone Garden Productions
ISBN 0-9672120-8-1   --  $24.95

 "The bulk of the Guide is devoted to the country's regions, with emphasis on sites of historical interest. .... For instance, the problem of emigration and the legacy of the 1988 earthquake are discussed, and attention drawn to the strange, isolated Russian Spiritual Christian (Molokan and Dukh-i-zhiznik) communities in the Dilijan area, where Armenian is not spoken or understood."

The authors,  lived, worked, and traveled throughout the region for a decade. Pocket-sized (5” x 8”) quality paperback; 304 pages; 75 stunning color photographs; 25 full-color maps.  Detailed and full color maps, prepared by the American University of Armenia, cover every region of Armenia. Accurate street maps are included for every major city and town.

"...Armenia was struggling to care for the victims of a 1988 earthquake who, three years later, were still homeless. Everywhere, even in the capital, there was almost no electricity and no fuel. There was little industry. There was little work. But somehow, contrary to the forecasts of the pundits, the Armenians made their tiny country work.

"During its first decade of renewed independence, Armenia had made progress in its state-building efforts. It had developed into the most stable democracy in the Caucasus, and it had plotted a course of Western-style reform. But it hadn’t developed as a tourist destination.

"Only in the past few years have travelers discovered Armenia. ...The number of tourists broke the 100,000 mark in 2001, and it has continued to grow each year, .. Almost half of these visitors are from the United States and Europe.... This is a land of magnificent mountains and vistas, with a treasure trove of ancient cultural sites. This is a country where you can still get a cup of coffee for 20 cents, and where you can still get invited back for a homemade dinner each time you visit a different village."

Click to see 20 sample pages.

Reviews posted at: