Boloraberd, Gnishik

It’s been almost a week now, and I hear the flames are still spreading through the countryside. Via the jeep, we went back to where I left off for me to continue heading north on foot. It was another long, hot trek through dry stinging brush and grasses, through mountain peaks and fertile fields. Now, I’m in control of the navigation. With online maps, I determine my path knowing where I hope to camp that night. I passed through Boloraberd, not a fortress at all, but the remnants of a once-active village. I was invited for coffee and watermelon, two things I can never refuse. The home was small and modest, the walls insulated by straw and clay, and the couple living there were old and tired. They showed me the way further north toward Gnishik; it was there that I saw real ancient cross-stones standing tall, defiant, thick and primitive; the art is clearly a predecessor to today’s cross-stones. The etchings bold and simple, but always the same: a cross or several crosses. I preferred the older stones to the newer constructions, which are too detailed for my liking—a gross exaggeration of what they were.