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Artsakh Trip, Part 1: Goris

Caves in Goris

By the end of the third week, Dr. Aram Gazarian and his family had left already along with Frenchmen Armen Atmajian.  The remaining group of American, Canadian, French and Karabaghtzi's embarked on their three-day excursion to Karabagh.  Along the way, they stopped at the historic sites of Khor Virap,  Noravank and Goris city.


The city of Goris is the last Armenian city before going into Artsakh.  The French Land and Culture Organization (OTC: Organization Terre et Cultur) has been working in conjunction with the Goris-Vienne France sister city project, in the renovation of the 17th century church in Old Goris.  This project has been ongoing for the last 3 years.  The church is located in the ancient sites of Goris, by the caves, which were used in pagan times, as well as recent historic times, when General Andranik and his troops used them for cover during the defence of Zangezur.


Group photo LCO/OTC

Our volunteers were met by the volunteers of the French OTC and locals working on the project, under the leadership of OTC member Joseph Papazian, organizer of the project from Vienne, France.  Our volunteers were amazed at the work accomplished by the group and understood that one day their project in Tchichenavank would also reach this level of completion. They hiked around the ancient caves and mountains, before returning to the bus to continue their journey to Artshak

  • "There are experiences you shape and then there are experiences that shape you. The LCO Campaign of 2007 in the village of Azat offered me invaluable perceptions into the realities of my fellow Armenian brothers and sisters in a way only a true immersion program can. I urge everyone and anyone who might feel an inkling of belonging to this fascinating country, people, and history to sign up with the campaign immediately. I smile just thinking about what you have yet to experience."
    Noushig K, Azat 2007, CA, USA

  • "Coming back from a 4-day trip to Kharabagh really felt like coming back home, with our family waiting to greet us outside our house. That's when I realised just how attached we'd grown to the place, to our family, to the other volunteers"
    Anoosh Gasparian, Azat 2009, London UK

  • "I went to this trip with no expectations, and came back with a great appreciation for our country.  Life in the village is surreal, the food is beyond delicious and the people are incredibly nice. It was a once in a lifetime experience I will never forget!"  Sam Tahmasian, 2009, CA, USA
  • "LCO is an amazing concept. It introduced the deprived Diasporan to their land and their people. It is a wonderful introduction to Armenia and something every young man or woman should experience."
    Madlene Minassian Ispirian, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, Yerevan, Armenia

  • "My most memprable experience was being so warmly taken care by an old village couple, receiving gifts from them, giving them gifts and establishing bonds."
    Naira Der-Kiureghian, Ayroum 2003, CA, USA

  • "...I know that when I reflect back on this experience I will feel ecstatic about the work we accomplished, the things we saw, and the bonds we forged."
    Hovig Saghdejian, Ayroum 2003, California, USA

  • "Dolma is made with mum's careful instructions, grandmothers eyes found on the faces of children, songs of Ararat are as familiar as the Khachkars dotting the landscape. If it smells like home, looks like home then it must be home."
    Datevig Simonian, Shadvan 2004, California, USA

  • "LCO experience was a revelation for me. It gave me the opportunity to expand my horizons both personally and professionally. One of the most important experiences of my life and an important factor in determining my future goals."
    Lara Aharonian, August 1999, August 2001, Montreal, Canada.

  • "I formed strong bonds with my volunteers, and the difference in backgrounds was refreshing. It was interesting to hear the points of view of different Armenians from other areas of the Diaspora."
    Aramazt Kalaydjian, Shoushi 2003, NY, USA

  • "I loved the simplicity of life in the village, the fresh homemade food is wonderful; that people are the friendliest and most hospitable... the children have the most beautiful faces..."
    Sophia Balakian, Shadvan 2004, New York, USA