The second issue of a literary almanac "South Caucasus"
26.03.2012 00:00On 19-21 March in Yerevan and Stepanakert presentations of the second issue of the literary and journalistic anthology "South Caucasus" took place. Works of five national literatures of the region have been published in it. The authors of the project are the Abkhazian NGO representative Batal Kobakhia and a Georgian writer Guram Odisharia. Ten years ago they published a book "Time to Live» which collected stories of the writers of the South Caucasus, reflecting the experience of that conflict time. The project is funded by the British NGO «International Alert» with the support of the European Union and the British government.
In both capitals presentations have been a success, a wide public with a sincere interest welcomed the South Caucasus’s format of a new edition. Project Coordinator Areg Bayandour from Yerevan and Coordinator Jeanne Krikorova from Stepanakert gathered not only writers and journalists, but political scientists, officials and other readers who openly and kindly spoke about the need of creating mutual cultural space in the South Caucasus. Besides the Armenian and Karabakh authors there were also the works of their Georgian and Abkhaz colleagues. For us, a special interest was in visiting Stepanakert, where none of us have been before.
For hours we were driving along a vast mountainous landscape in some places reminding Abkhazia and astonishing by its size. Really you will realize that the Caucasus is an entire world! Flickering on the tops the ancient fortresses and monasteries reminded of centuries old history, but large, not much lived in spaces gave evidence of a titanic work the man earned his living in such extreme conditions.
Already in the night darkness we entered the Nagorno-Karabakh’s capital, flooded with lights, and even at night were amazed by the cleanliness at its streets. In the past five years an active construction of new housing has been carried on including public sector - each family of the killed, regardless of its living conditions, has got an apartment in a new residential complex. Generally, as the Abkhazian delegation member, the painter Adgur Dzidzaria noted, one could feel a general town planning idea that makes Stepanakert more integral in architectural terms. For three years all over the city a capital reconstruction of water supply and sewerage system have been implemented.
A House of Officers for the war veterans is being built near the Parliament (The photo of Adgur Dzidzaria).
New houses for families of the killed during the conflict.
Of course, we compared the town with our own capital, because both countries have common historical destiny. The price of basic food in ruble is slightly lower then ours, salaries are also comparable. Since it is winter time, and evening promenade has not yet begun, it is difficult to judge how Karabakh people love to dress up, but car traffic is much calmer, and by the number of luxurious foreign cars Sukhum clearly surpasses local functionaries and businessmen. Main vehicle fleet consist of of the Soviet trademarks.
But the hotel "Artsakh", in which we spent two days, fascinated our hearts with almost home comfort and an unusual to our eyes interior which combines wood and stone, even in the rooms, not to mention the corridors and restaurant. In all respects, a hotel at the good European level and if such a level can afford even a small unrecognized country, then a peace process is really gaining speed. Well, we have lived till the time when we make presentations of almanacs with the South Caucasian content, hopefully a common cultural space will become a reality in the near future, allowing people to get to know each other better.