Thursday, 2 July 2015

GROUP VISIT TO ARMENIA AND NAGORNO-KARABAKH 16th - 25th August 2015 Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART)

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Dear Friends,
It is my great pleasure to invite you to accompany me on a historic visit to Armenia and Nagorno- Karabakh (Artsakh)!
This year marks the centenary of the Armenian Genocide, a Dme for commemoraDon of the atrociDes commiEed against the Armenian people in 1915. On this visit, we will travel to sites of remembrance of the Genocide as well as to places of hope, new life and cultural significance to experience the true ‘spirit of Armenia’ in this important year.
Join us on a journey to suit you: either on a walking ‘pilgrimage’ through beauDful landscapes and historic places or a guided tour of galleries, museums and other places of cultural significance and natural beauty. Either way, you will meet the inspiraDonal people of Artsakh and see for yourself how they have created beauty out of the ashes of destrucDon. If you wish, you can arrange to ‘mix and match’ with some Dme joining the walking pilgrimage and some travelling by comfortable bus to the sites on the parallel iDnerary.
This will be my 84th visit to Nagorno-Karabakh. Each and every Dme I have returned humbled, refreshed and inspired by the dignity and courage of the people who have suffered so much yet who retain such great faith, dignity, generous hospitality and creaDvity.
We will end our journey at the RehabilitaDon Centre in Stepanakert with one of my personal heroes, Vardan Tadevosyan. Vardan conDnues to work Drelessly to develop his therapeuDc repertoire for people with disabiliDes, providing internaDonally renowned care. It will be our privilege to witness the graduaDon of nurses from the Centre who will become qualified to conDnue this transformaDonal work of creaDng hope and healing more widely across Nagorno-Karabakh and further afield to neighbouring countries.
I do hope you will join us on this inspiraDonal journey in such a significant year in Armenian history!
Caroline (Baroness) Cox
In August 2015, Baroness Cox and HART will take a group of friends and supporters to Armenia and Nagorno- Karabakh. The group will come from all over the world, and will be accompanied by local Armenians.
The visit will take us to historic, cultural and poliDcal sites, spanning thousands of years of human history, all set in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh’s spectacular hills and mountains.
We will visit the HART-supported RehabilitaDon Centre, a remarkable, internaDonally recognised centre of excellence for the care of those with disabiliDes.
ParDcipants will experience world-renowned Armenian culture and hospitality, including food, dance and art, and will gain a unique insight into the current situaDon in Nagorno-Karabakh. There will be a range of accommodaDon opDons, including camping, staying with local families, or staying in hotels. All logisDcs including travel to various sites, food and accommodaDon will be organised by HART.
Included in this pack:
How to sign up for the visit Visit Costs
Learn more about Nagorno-
About HART
How to Join the Visit
Email to confirm that you will be joining before the end of June.
Book flights to Yerevan, and health and travel insurance, ensuring that this covers Nagorno-Karabakh. Fill in this form: hEp://
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If you have any ques2ons, please contact Alice Robinson, Advocacy and Communica2ons Manager at HART, at or on +44 (0) 208 204 7336
An independent travel review: Nagorno-Karabakh: the land that doesn’t exist
Article published inWanderlust in September 2014 by Mark Stratton
“Ethnically Armenian, annexed to Azerbaijan, unrecognised by almost everyone: Nagorno-Karabakh could be the world's least-known wonder... this obscure breakaway republic, so rich in hospitality and history, provides an absorbing oDeat break away.”
Read the full arDcle here: hEp:// land-that-doesnt-exist
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Where and What Is Nagorno-Karabakh?
Nagorno-Karabakh is a small enclave deep in the Caucasus. It was part of Armenia unDl 1921 when Stalin decided to cede it to Azerbaijan. It remained an annexed territory throughout the soviet period. Azeris and Armenians in Karabakh lived relaDvely peaceably together, but in 1988 as the USSR was dissolving, conflict with Azerbaijan erupted as the Armenians of Karabakh sought to
be reunited with Armenia. This escalated into full-scale war in the early 1990s. In 1994, a ceasefire was signed. However, a formal peace treaty was never agreed, and the status of the land remains unresolved, the subject of intense debate. It is known as one of the region’s ‘frozen conflicts’.
Nagorno-Karabakh now funcDons as a de-facto independent state, albeit unrecognised by the rest of the internaDonal community. It conDnues to exist in a state of economic and poliDcal isolaDon, with many people living below the poverty line.
At the heart of this ‘frozen conflict’ are the inhabitants of
Nagorno-Karabakh, who, despite the challenges, conDnue to
live their lives, rebuild their communiDes and develop a funcDoning state. There have been huge achievements in recent years, including significant social and economic development.

Map: hGp://
How can I learn more about Nagorno-Karabakh?
A selecDon of resources about the situaDon in Nagorno-Karabakh and the work of HART’s partners can be found on pages 8 - 9.
Do I have to walk all the way?
There will be two parallel iDneraries in Nagorno-Karabakh: one walking through the spectacular hills, visiDng towns, villages and sites of interest along the way, and one travelling by coach to different cultural, poliDcal and historic sites.
You can walk as much or as liEle as you wish - you could join the walking group every day, or not at all. You can also mix and match - walking some days, and visiDng cultural sites on other days. It’s enDrely up to you!
In addiDon, if you choose to walk one day, you do not have to walk the enDre distance. Vehicles will travel with us all along the way - so if you get Dred while you are walking, you can hop on to the nearest vehicle and ride for a bit.
What sites can I expect to see?
You will see a lot of beauDful, ancient churches - they can be found in towns and villages, and perched on the hillside, all the way across Karabakh. You can see the new art gallery and geology museum in Shoushi, Etchmiadsin Cathedral (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), and Gandzasar Cathedral - a spectacular building, high in the hills. You will see museums - including the Genocide Memorial Museum in Yerevan, and two very moving museums in Karabakh - the Museum of Fallen Soldiers and the Museum of Missing Soldiers.
We’ll visit the HART-supported rehabilitaDon centre in Stepanakert, an extraordinary project providing care to those with disabiliDes, and working to challenge sDgma around disability. We will see a new cohort of nurses graduate from the centre. A full iDnerary is being prepared will be available soon.
What logistics do I have to arrange?
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All logisDcs in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh will be organised by HART and our partners in the region. You will need to book your own flights to Yerevan.
Can I fly out with a group?
Yes - let us know if you would prefer to fly as part of a group, and where you will be flying from, and we can connect you with others so you can arrange to be on the same flight, and to meet at the airport beforehand.
Will I be picked up at the airport inYerevan?
Yes - we will arrange for you to be met at the airport and taken to the relevant hotel. Just let us know what Dme your flight arrives.
What is the accommodation like?
In Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, you will have the choice of three hotels - these are detailed below. There are a range of opDons at different prices. In Nagorno-Karabakh, there will be a range of accommodaDon opDons along the route, including camping, staying with local families, or staying in hotels. Let us know your preferences and we will arrange this for you.
What will we do in the evenings?
The whole group will gather together at the campsite in the evenings. We’ll share an evening meal. Some entertainment will be put on, including concerts and campfires. At the end of the evening, those staying in hotels or with local families will be driven to their accommodaDon, and will return to the campsite in the morning.
What will the food be like?
All meals in Karabakh will be provided, including breakfast, a packed lunch, and dinner. Armenian hospitality is world-famous. The food includes a lot of rice, fish, bread, cheese, yoghurt - and the freshest fruits imaginable! A lot of food is cooked with fresh herbs. You will experience Armenian specialiDes, such as dolma - rice wrapped in vine leaves. Please let us know in advance if you have any dietary requirements.
Do I have to carry my luggage?
All luggage, tents, sleeping bags, etc., will be carried between hotels and campsites by vehicles. Tents will be taken up and down by the organisers, and so will already be erected when you arrive at a campsite in the evening.
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Contribution to Group Costs
The contribuDon to group costs to be paid by each parDcipant will depend on how many people sign up for the trip. We will confirm the final price as soon as possible.
If 30 people par2cipate the contribuDon will be $433 per person (£293.58 at the current exchange rate). If 50 people par2cipate the contribuDon will be $310 per person (£210.18 at the current exchange rate).
This cost includes:
- Breakfast, lunch and dinner in Nagorno-Karabakh (including food, cooking equipment and firewood) - Two meals in Yerevan
- TransportaDon to and from the airport into Yerevan
- TransportaDon to and from Yerevan into Nagorno-Karabakh
- All transportaDon to and from cultural sites via bus and taxi over the course of the visit
- TransportaDon of equipment and supplies for the duraDon of the visit
- Trekking guides
- Support staff including cooks and those driving, packing and carrying equipment and tents
- Use of tents for those choosing to camp

This cost does not include:
- Hotel costs in Yerevan (2 nights at the start of the visit and 1 night at the end). Some hotels are
recommended below.
- Costs of hotels or family stays for those choosing not to camp in Nagorno-Karabakh - Flights to and from Yerevan
- Health and Travel insurance
- Cost of addiDonal ouDngs - this is an addiDonal $10 per person per day,
and there are three addiDonal ouDngs that you could choose to go on
- Souvenirs and Dps
Money can be changed into Armenian dram upon arrival in the airport.

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Accommodation costs inYerevan
If you would like to be put in touch with people with whom you could share a room in Yerevan, please let us know.
Ani Plaza Yerevan | hUps://
Breakfast included, 15 minutes walk from main square, prices per room. Single - $115
Double/ Twin - $139
Triple - $218

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Erebuni Hotel | hUp://
Breakfast included, located immediately behind the main square, prices per room. Single - $72
Double/ Twin - $80
Triple - $102

Envoy Hostel | hUp:// Breakfast included, 15 minutes walk from main square.
Private rooms, price per room:
2 person room, en-suite - $49
2 person room, shared bathroom - $43
Shared dormitory, price per person (please note you may be sharing the room with persons not from our group)
4 person room, shared bathroom - $17 Smaller 4 person room, shared bathroom - $14 8 person room, shared bathroom - $15 Smaller 8 person room, shared bathroom - $12
Accommodation costs in Nagorno-Karabakh
Hotels and Hostels: There will not be a choice of hotel in most locaDons in Karabakh. The cost per night will range from $15 - $43 including breakfast.
Staying with a local family: approximately $11 per night including breakfast.
All parDcipants should book their own flights to Yerevan. Flights should arrive in Yerevan by 7.30am on the 16th August if you would like to go on a day trip to Echmiatsin Cathedral (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), if not, by 6pm on the 16th. Flights should not leave Yerevan before 7pm on the 25th August.
The cost of flights is likely to rise in the weeks leading up to the visit. Please send us your flight details as soon as they have been arranged, so we know what Dme to expect you in Yerevan!
A good tool for searching for cheap flights is hEp:// When checked in February, flights were available from London to Yerevan for around £300-400 return; for example, flying with Aeroflot via Moscow for £319 or with Austrian Airlines via Vienna for £362.
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HART has published a number of newsletters, reports and articles about Nagorno-Karabakh and the Rehabilitation Centre. Below we have suggested a selection of reading materials, ranging from the introductory to the in-depth.
HART Newsletter - Summer 2014
Read this to learn more about the work of the Lady Cox Rehabilita]on Centre.
This ediDon of the HART newsleEer covered a visit to Nagorno-Karabakh by the HART team. It contains a double-page spread of stories and photographs from the RehabilitaDon Centre, enDtled ‘Portraits of RehabilitaDon’ (pictured right), and a short feature on the poliDcal situaDon, enDtled “Nagorno-Karabakh: Frozen Conflict?”
Download it here: hEp:// hart_newsleEer_25-2014_online.pdf
You can also watch a video about the Rehabilita2on Centre and an interview with the Director, Vardan Tadevosyan, here: hEps://
HART Newsletter - Winter 2013
Read this to learn how Baroness Cox’s engagement in the region began, and how it has developed over eighty visits.
This ediDon of the HART newsleEer marked Baroness Cox’s eighDeth visit to Nagorno-Karabakh. It contains an arDcle tracing Karabakh’s recent history, the development of the RehabilitaDon Centre and the roots of Baroness Cox’s involvement in the region. It also contains a Dmeline of events over the course of her 80 visits.
Download it here: hEp:// HART_NewsleEer_Winter-2013_Approved_Low-Res.pdf
The 25 Voices Project
Read this for an insight into the lives, hopes and dreams of those living in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The 25 Voices Project is based on photographs of and interviews with local Karabakh Armenians about their experiences of the war and their hopes for the future.
Find it here:
Diary from the 2011 Pilgrimage to Nagorno-Karabakh
Read this to get a beGer idea of what to expect on the upcoming trip!
This diary was produced auer the last group visit to Nagorno-Karabakh in 2011. It includes an arDcle on the visit, and a series of reflecDons on the trip wriEen by twelve of the parDcipants.
Download it here: hEp:// content/uploads/2013/03/Pilgrimage-diary- Nagorno-Karabakh-2011.pdf
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Nagorno-Karabakh Visit Report, May/ June 2014
Read this for an in-depth look at the na]onal, regional and interna]onal dynamics of the conflict.
This is HART’s most recent visit report from Nagorno-Karabakh. It covers recent poliDcal and humanitarian developments, documents meeDngs with poliDcal and religious leaders, and gives an update on the RehabilitaDon Centre.
Download it here: hEp:// Report-2014.pdf
Articles and Blog Posts
  • Silenced Lives: Empowering the Disabled in Post-Soviet Karabakh - by Lucy Clements hEp://www.hart-
  • The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: Obstacles to ResoluDon - by Olivia Chris]an hEp://
  • Conflict conDnues in Nagorno-Karabakh as violence disrupts the Armenian-Azerbaijani ceasefire line - by Kathryn McDonagh hEp:// disrupts-armenian-azerbaijani-ceasefire-line/
  • Women’s ParDcipaDon in the Nagorno-Karabakh Peace Process by Elizabeth Stanton hEp://www.hart-
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Please be advised that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against travel to Nagorno-Karabakh, staDng that “The dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh remains unresolved. The Bri]sh Embassy can’t provide advice or consular assistance to visitors to the Nagorno-Karabakh region.” Before aEending this trip, we encourage you to read their travel safety advice in order to make an informed decision: hEps:// advice/armenia.
HART’s remit is to work with people in conflict and post-conflict situaDons who are ouen trapped behind closed borders, including visiDng communiDes in such situaDons. Many people have accompanied HART personnel on visits to Nagorno-Karabakh of various kinds over the years. Their reflecDons can be read on the HART website (hEp://
We take safety advice very seriously and will not take undue risks. At present, we believe that it is safe for the group to visit Nagorno-Karabakh. This is based on expert safety advice as well as our own experience – indeed this will be Baroness Cox’s 84th visit to the region! The HART team are very happy to discuss any concerns that you may have before you make any decisions about aEending - please do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you wish to discuss this in more details.
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Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART) is a charitable organisaDon commiEed to serving people in need, especially those who are or who have been suffering from oppression and persecuDon.
The two-fold remit combines Aid and Advocacy: providing resources for humanitarian aid and serving as advocates for those with whom we work who ouen are ‘off the radar screen’, neglected by the internaDonal community and unable to communicate with the wider world.
HART was founded by Baroness Caroline Cox, who has worked in Nagorno-Karabakh since 1991. Baroness Cox has many years’ internaDonal experience in working for the human rights of oppressed and marginalised communiDes throughout the world.
HART’s ethos is always to work through local partners helping them to help their own people and ensuring that on-the-ground work is appropriate to local needs, aspiraDons and experience.
For more informaDon about HART, please visit our website:
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