Los Angeles Times: He’s got Armenia under his skin, and we get a guidebook

The new book ‘Armenia and Karabakh’ by Matthew Karanian was featured in today’s edition of the Los Angeles Times, with a gallery of photographs from Armenia and Karabakh by Karanian and Robert Kurkjian.

“By some measures, Matthew Karanian was a Connecticut Yankee: a 34-year-old litigator in Hartford, American-born and bred. But he had a wild idea. So he took a summer off, headed for the rustic land of his ancestors, and soon found that Armenia was rearranging his life,” reads an article titled “He’s got Armenia under his skin, and we get a guidebook.”

Now, 18 years after that first visit, Karanian is an expert on the place. His self-published guidebook, “Armenia and Karabakh” has just gone into a third edition. It’s based on more than a dozen visits to the country, including a residency from 2002 to 2006. The photographs are by Karanian and Robert Kurkjian.

On his first visit to Armenia, Karanian recalls, the capital, Yerevan, was without electricity for most of every day. But the rugged beauty and depth of culture, he said, “just turned my life upside down,” yielding a stronger sense of ethnic identity and uncovering lost family history.

Karanian knew his grandparents immigrated to the U.S. about 100 years ago. But it wasn’t until his book research began that he learned his great uncle, Mardiros Kheranyan, was a much-admired cartographer who charted the towns of historic Armenia in painstaking detail.

Now Karanian lives and practices law in Pasadena but makes yearly visits to the old country. Every year, he says, he sees better roads, more motorists willing to stop for pedestrians and more global brands, though no McDonald’s yet.

To read the interview in full visit,0,4414694.story

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