Yahoo Travel advises tourists to visit Nagorno Karabakh. The publication notes that “Nagorno-Karabakh was an ethnically Armenian autonomous region of Azerbaijan during the Soviet Union. The citizens of NK voted for independence in 1991 while the Soviet Union was disintegrating. This ushered in a war between Azerbaijan and NK, with support from Armenia. With the defeat of Azerbaijan, a 1994 cease fire led to the creation of this independent nation. Today, NK is recognized by a trio of unrecognized countries: Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Transnistria.”
Why Go: Nagorno-Karabakh is known for its mountainous beauty and cultural richness. Ancient monasteries and churches are found throughout the country. Karabakhi hospitality is well documented in the region. Don’t be surprised to find yourself eating a family meal in a local village with numerous oghi (homemade mulberry vodka) toasts. Hike the Janapar Trail, an untouched walk that crosses the country and takes two weeks to traverse. In the ancient Armenian walled-city of Shushi, you can wander the streets and gaze at the majestic Ghazanchetsots Cathedral.
Getting There: NK is only accessible via Armenia, a winding, five-hour drive from Yerevan to Stepanakert, the two capitals. The non-operating airport was recently renovated, but the callous Azerbaijan government has vowed to shoot down any civilian flights entering its “territory.”
Risk: Ilham Aliyev, the warmongering Azerbaijan president, has frequently threatened to invade NK. Stay clear of the border between the two countries, where sniping and the occasional kidnapping take place. Thousands of mines were also laid during the conflict from 1991-1994 and some are still present.
Don’t Miss: The ancient Gandzasar Monastery (its name means “hilltop treasure”), which sits on a mountain offering panoramic views. Dadivank Complex is hidden in the hills and dates back to the 9th century.