Category Archives: Villages

The Persistence of Pirs

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

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Xinaliq = 6,000 Sheep

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.
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When Azerbaijan won Eurovision I was drinking with a Meskhetian Turk somewhere in the flatlands of Central Azerbaijan. I had gone to see the night livestock market, which isn’t exactly at night nor a market. But the point remains, instead … Continue reading

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Poppies in Turkey (new old story)

The first story I wrote and photographed for was just published. It only ran with three photos, so here are a few additional ones:

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More flood photos

My recent article for can be found here: But they’re only able to take five photos with a story, so the slideshow above has additional images.

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A short trip to Samtskhe Javakheti

Azerbaijan has decided that their embassy in Tbilisi will not be open this week until Wednesday (Inshallah), so I’ve had some time to explore more of Georgia. Continue reading

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The “notorious” Pankisi Gorge

Each year the Alazani river cuts a slightly different path along the mountains that surround the Pankisi Gorge. The modest log bridge above the rushing current remains in use, but there are also sections of dry riverbed further upstream. It’s … Continue reading

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The Laz of Hopa

A few days ago I sat on the right hand side of Hussein, the brother of the late Kâzım Koyuncu.  The band at the front of the restaurant has been playing for hours. Empty bottles of Raki sit at abandoned … Continue reading

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The Origin of the Pat-Pat

There is one topic that never fails to elicit a laugh from the villagers. “I am writing about many things,” I usually say, “Like the hashhash, the Saints, the pat-pats…”

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The Bektashi of Kayabelen

Sitting in the family room of the Cinars, I am surrounded by mothers holding children to my right and men against the wall to my left. Lunch has been laid out on the floor and we’ve all had our fill … Continue reading

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