I have decided to write a series of posts on eastern Turkey, a pivotal historical area, from Kars in the north to Sanliurfa in the south based on my travels last summer. This is a relatively untraveled area, strictly Muslim today and generally inhospitable to most western travelers. Vanand is the name used to describe the area of historic Armenia that roughly corresponds to the Kars Province of present-day Turkey. Named after the Armenian family of Vanandi, it was a principality of the Kingdom of Armenia (321 BCE to 428 CE) and a later province of the Democratic Republic of Armenia. Its historic capital was the city of Kars. The region fell to numerous invaders including the Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Mongols, Persians, and the Ottoman Turks. As Chorzene, the town appears in Roman history (Strabo) as part of ancient Armenia. During the Turkish–Armenian War in late 1920, Turkish revolutionaries captured Kars for the last time. This post is not about history, I will cover that in a separate post, this is about Kars today.
It is the middle of winter here in Las Vegas and I found myself looking at pictures from last summer in Paris. The famous Bagatelle rose garden was in full bloom and the ducks, geese, swans and peacocks were having children. It was a magical time in a fantasy world. The thoughts of it make me happy that I was there and sad that I am not there now. I have some pictures and I thought I would share them here. I was so inspired by the lily pond, near the house, that I painted the moment in an expressionist style. I included the picture to show the contrast between what the camera saw and what I saw that day. I love to paint as a hobby and I hope you like the painting.