dimanche 19 octobre 2014

In the North-Eastern Armenian Pomegranate Orchards (2)

We spent the day after in Koti, a peninsula of Armenian territory surrounded by the frontline with Azerbaijan. Levon’s mother, Aghunik, hosts us in her house with its wonderful little vegetable garden: cabbage, tomato, basil,… The house still didn’t recover all its glass windows blown away by two Alazan rockets that fell there during the 1992 war.

Levon has planted here a bit more than 100 pomegranate trees in April 2013. He waters them once a month and covers them during the two first winters to protect them from the cold. Three cultivars: Goychay, Ganja/Gandzak and another Armenian one, all coming from Bagratashen.

We then visit a large area that used to be covered with orchards, including of pomegranate trees. It is only used for cereals and tobacco nowadays because there is no access anymore to the large water reserve located on the Azeri side. The geopolitics of pomegranate is not far…

The atmosphere reminds of Buzatti’s Il deserto dei Tartari on this peaceful afternoon, with this steppe landscape and the Georgian and Azeri mountains in the far front. The locals tell us that Kalachnikov shootings between Armenian and Azeri soldiers are frequent. Not a single one today. Just Chacals howling around the village, in the darkness of a late evening, the dogs joining them while we are having a delicious bowl of matsoon, sheltered from the rain.

The village also has a few donkeys, including this little 5 years old black female named ... "black" in Armenian. Aghunik, Levon's mother, shows us a very nice donkey pack. She made it by hand with her grandmother, one of the local centenaries, who died at the age of 105 (here: in 1990 in Koti at the age of 98, with Aghunik on the left, in front of a Cornelian cherry tree). Memories of an Alentejano donkey pack in manta from Reguengos are not far…

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