A young Chicagoan's strange erotic journey around the globe
Flag of Nagorno-Karabakh, the de facto independent nation in a region internalionally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. The flag is basically the same of that belonging to Armenia with the addition of a white zig-zag cutting through the design. This symbolizes the Armenian heritage, culture and population of the area and, with the zig-zag, how it remains separated from the motherland.
En route to Stepanakert, capital of Nagorno-Karabakh
At the border. Something about the way the guy on the right stands as he smokes his cigarette makes me feel as if he’d have been a great actor in a film from the 1950s.
Lazy-ass, unattended pack of cows along the side of the highway
Karabakh version of Ricky Ro$$?
According to Wikipedia, in the 2005 census, NKR’s Armenian population was reported at 99.7% – most of whom are Christian.
Cigarette break for our taxi driver
Hills we passed through in transit to Stepanakert. In all the local languages, “Nagorno-Karabakh” translates to “mountainous Karabakh” or “mountainous black garden.”
Although this picture was taken from a relatively clear spot, this was one of the foggiest rides I’ve ever been on.
Angel statue in front of Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in a town called Shusha
Ghazanchetsots Cathedral as seen through an extreme fog
“Two in the pink, one in the stink? Two on the clit, one in the shit? Two in the goo one in the poo?” I saw this same hand gesture being thrown up on paintings in Vatican City. What’s up with holy dudes doin’ THE SHOCKER?
No SHOCKER for this straight shooter
Daaaaaaaa church. During the Nagorno-Karabakh War, Azerbaijani forces used Ghazanchetsots as a GRAD missile storehouse until 1992 when captured by Armenian forces.
Ghazanchetsots Cathedral was built between 1868 and 1887.
Weird crucifix broken in half and submerged in murky water
The angels on the belfry were destroyed during Azeri occupation but eventually replaced when the church was repaired, renovated and re-consecrated in 1998.
On the way out…
This telephone holds no historical significance that I’m aware of, yet I felt the need to include this photo anyway.
Nagorno-Karabakh 1988-2013. Between the 1989 census and the 2005 census, the population of Azerbaijani people fell from 40,688 to 6.
At our Stepanakert hotel. Even in Nagorno-Karabakh, they read trashy bullshit celebrity gossip magazines.
On the wall of the hotel lobby. Thank god I have a clown fetish.
Also in the lobby
Complimentary with the room had been two mp3 discs – Rock out to Joe Cocker or get my cock rocked to the “Romantic Collection?”
Maaaannnnnnn, I don’t give two trucks ’bout that shit
All along the center of the main road in Stepanakert had been sets of large, honorary war memorial photographs.
“I don’t know what I’ve been told! (I don’t know what I’ve been told!) But whackin’ it in public’s mighty bold! (But whackin’ it in public’s mighty bold!)”
In Stepanakert? Get tanked!
Can’t decide which I’d rather stick my wiener between, the butt cheeks behind the pink shorts or the pecks on the far right.
Local man with broken middle finger
“No lies just love” I can picture some skank going over to her boyfriend’s house and actin’ like everything’s all good after having just banged some other dude and showing up in this shirt with the other dude’s spunk blotted all over it.
Once in Stepanakert, we had to register with the government and pick up our visas
You will never get into Azerbaijan with one of these in your passport which I why I asked to have mine not stapled in. While waiting for this bad boy, I took a few photos around the building. Not sure whether or not that was allowed.
Map of Nagorno-Karabakh which geographically lies entirely within Azerbaijan
Photo of women standing in front of a famous local statue
I don’t know how easy these will be to see, but in this government building they had a bunch of Nagorno-Karabakh war photos I felt I needed to include here
Apparently, technology is far more advanced in Nagorno-Karabakh than it is anywhere else in the world.
Statue of a dude standing with his arms folded like Mr. Clean
Free WiFi in the park
On the entire wall on the right here had been more nationalistic images such as…
…tank parade and…
…a mass wedding. I read that supposedly: In an effort to create a baby boom in the territory, Russian-Armenian businessman Levon Hairapetian funded the ceremonies. Each couple received $2,000 then were offered $2,000 for their first child, $3,000 for their second child and increasing sums up to $100,000 for their seventh child. In Nagorno-Karabakh where jobs are scarce, young people jumped at the opportunity and over 550 couples were wed.
Stepanakert street scene
On each side of the steps in the photo previous were a bunch of statues with lampshades over their heads.
Marko gettin’ ringed up
Gate leading to the “football” stadium
Nagorno-Karabakh coat of arms with the flag in the back
Tried to make this photo look like a painting as best I could
Some tagger probably thought he was so fuckin’ gangster when he spray-painted the names “50 Cent” and “Eminem” on this wall.
Her candle burnt out long before her legend ever did.
Went to a Stepanakert club and while the music and karaoke were totally Armenian and not exactly my style, the even more Armenian dancing made my penis especially soft. At least in this photo there were a couple girls which was nice, but most of the time…
…it was just a bunch of dudes prancing and frolicking around.
Their fairies-dancing-on-a-cloud-of-daises style moves were really quite painful to watch.
He wasn’t jackin’ it. He wasn’t takin’ a leak. I have no idea what this dude had been doing hanging out in these bushes In the center of the road.
A sculpture known as “We Are Our Mountains” or “Tatik u Papik” which translates from Armenian to “Grandma and Grandpa”
Dude hanging out near the sculpture
Dude from the photo previous up close. He must’ve been a boxer.
Representing the mountain people, this 1967 sculpture by Sargis Baghdasaryan is widely regarded as a symbol of Armenian heritage in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Old-ass “petrol” station
Hotel Eclectica, also known as Hotel Titanic, is undoubtedly the highlight of a trip to Vank
Hotel Eclectica – and a lot of other things in Vank – is owned by a local turned lumber baron and Moscow millionaire, Levon Hairapetian, who pours money into his far-off-the-beaten-path hometown hoping to boost tourism.
While chilling in the lobby, I began flipping through the newspaper and wished I understood the language so I could tell why the photo there had Coca-Cola being poured into a toilet.
2nd floor – near my room
Sexy painting from the photo previous
Another risqué one down the hall
Inside of the boat hotel’s bow
Friends photographing the same room from the picture previous, only from the opposite end
Local man walking next to a fence completely covered in what I think are Azerbaijani license plates which Nagorno-Karabakh must’ve done away with after having broken off to do their own thang.
Marko and Ryan against the plates
Vank street scene
A bar named after a monastery
Typical shit you’ll see walking around Vank
“RESTROOM” the license says
Leading the brigade
Dude on horseback in front of a separate nautically themed hotel
Some sort of reptile sculpture in front of a stationary boat on the river which had picnic tables on it for summer boozing
What them is?
Definitely the most impressive artistic piece in Vank – a lion’s face and paw carved out the side of a hill
Giant eagle snatching a giant worm
Local pervert-lookin’ dude
Ridiculously out of place
I like the pubes – professionally done
Such a bizarre town
One tree hill?
Two pairs of bros walkin’ in the fog
Farm in Vank
Friendly farm woman
Bee boxes for honey
Dinner at the ice cold hotel which did not have a functioning heat system in a rejokeulous room filled with rejokeulous statues
Marko layin’ on the couch post-meal gazing up at one of the statues
Off to Gandzasar…
…Gandzasar Monastery, that is.
The mountain roads in Nagorno-Karabakh ain’t nothin’ to fuck with. 1 of 2 accidents we saw during our 3 days there.
2 of 2
Hail cannon – First I’d ever seen of one of these puppies. Hail cannons supposedly generate shock waves to disrupt the formation of hailstones in the atmosphere.
You want buy feesh or you want buy cow?
Stone outside of Gandzasar Monastery where I wandered off to take a leak after a long car ride
Another stone with what I think is the Nagorno-Karabakh coat of arms on it
Gate leading to Gandzasar Monastery which was consecrated in 1240
It was so impossibly foggy, I could barely even take this photo from point-blank
Close-up of the stone from the photo previous
Wall entirely inscribed
Door from the inside…
…door from the outside.
Lizard on the left side of the door…
…lizard on the right side of the door. Why lizards? I don’t know.
Immediately next to the monastery had been a cemetery which looked especially creepy in the fog.
It looks like the depictions of both of these guys’ faces have bullet holes in the foreheads.
Nagorno-Karabakh War casualty?
Alain lending a creepily mischievous look in the cemetery
As we neared the war-torn ghost town of Agdam, I started noticing massive piles of rocks all along the way. Apparently, these bricks have been taken from houses in the now-abandoned town to nearby villages and used for new constructions.
A Great Wall lookalike on the way to Agdam.
Marko – tank you very much
Seemingly occupied by the laundry hanging outside, this was the last lived-in house I saw en route to Agdam.
Destroyed automobile. Since July 1993 when the town was captured by Karabakh-Armenian forces and the residents were forced to flee eastwards, Agdam has remained empty.
Trailer? Not sure what that is
Armenian forces thought it was a good idea to destroy the town once captured to prevent its recapture by Azerbaijan.
Armenian soulja bus
Probably once a grand structure. The ruined city of Agdam once had a population of 40,000 people.
During their occupation of Agdam, Armenian forces allegedly violated the rules of war by taking hostages, firing indiscriminately and forcibly displacing civilians.
A totally fucked-up statue
Someone chose to use the exterior mosaics of this building for target practice and decided to shoot the faces, breasts, pussies and dicks of every human depicted.
Bullets to the boobs and face
Faces, jugs and genitals nailed
Brained and emasculated
Take one to the dome
On our way to the Agdam Mosque, one of the few structures in the area which remains intact
The Agdam Mosque from the side
Fucked up interior
Some of the few remaining decorative tiles in the derelict structure
Another view of the blown-out interior
Probably was a nice mosque once upon a time
Maybe the only drawing of a naked woman you will ever see inside a mosque
Shit was carved all over the mosque’s interior.
The exterior had been tagged a bit as well
Spiral staircase leading to the top of the minaret
View of the other minaret from halfway up the one I’d been in