There’s this catchy Brazilian song that a Kazak covered and retitled “the boy who wants to go to Tambov.” It’s pretty famous. I am not that boy, but I did want to go to Tambov. It is a small Russian … Continue reading
Twenty-five years before he broke with the Moscow Patriarchy, Sergei Baranov saw a strange man in black robes drive up in a beat up old truck and enter the only church in town. To the thirteen-year-old boy, this was an … Continue reading
Villages in Azerbaijan can seem like introverted places to outsiders. But there is a place where people’s everyday hopes and fears are arranged in plain sight, usually in the form of a ribbon or a piece of colorful cloth tied … Continue reading
Mountain dwellers along the Greater Caucasus Range are fond of explaining their tapestry of languages with a bit of accidental divine intervention. First, Sherif tells me, God created all the peoples of the world and then set off to distribute their various languages, all of which were kept in a bag. But when the creator flew over the soaring snow covered peaks of the Caucasus and the bag got caught on a particularly high crag. Through this small tear came a stream of languages sprinkled throughout the region.
Had another story go up on EurasiaNet.org, so here’s a few photos that didn’t make the cut there.
Azerbaijan has always been located between cultural traditions, absorbing words and ideas from the vast empires that have surrounded it. So it is fitting that the only thing everyone agrees about today’s meykhana – a form of poetic improvisation – … Continue reading
On May 10 Heydar Aliyev, the former president and current billboard favorite in Azerbaijan, would have turned 88 years old. So naturally, the government pulled out all the stops. Like last year, thousands of flowers from 50 countries literally covered the park between the Heydar Aliyev Palace and the statue of Heydar Aliyev as two hot air balloons were inflated in front of the giant flower mosaic of Heydar Aliyev, ensuring that his unmistakable Kremlin-Mona-Lisa smile would soar above the city already covered by his portraits. Continue reading
The first story I wrote and photographed for EurasiaNet.org was just published. It only ran with three photos, so here are a few additional ones:
Should you decide to take in the more-tourist friendly, less rusted-tanks sights of Azerbaijan, here’s the next thing I found heading southwest from Baku. First the Gobustan petroglyphs, which the guide said are from 23,000 years ago. Yes, thousand. The … Continue reading