Republic of Nagorno Karabakh
The Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, or Artsakh (the original name), has an extraordinary mountainous landscape, with lush forests and broken terrain, adverse at places with rugged mounatins and swampy plains at others.
The present day territory of Nagorno-Karabakh (or just Karabakh) is a self-proclaimed state. The people of Karabakh voted for independence from Azerbaijan on September 2, 1991. However, Karabakh is not considered an independent state internationally. The only way to get to Karabakh is through Armenia.
Karabakh consists of 7 administrative regions
The capital city of Karabakh is Stepanakert. It is a cute city with narrow streets and small parks. There are cafes and restaurants, shops and outdoor markets. In the city center, there are hotels, which have all the necessary facilities a guest might need. There are branches of the Arcakh and VTB banks in the city center, where you can exchange foreign currency. You can use a cell phone registered with one of the Armenian operators in Karabakh, but via the roaming service.
Karabakh is one of the most picturesque places of historical Armenia. The major rivers in Karabakh are Tartar, Khachenaget and Karkar. Forests occupy 1/3 of the Karabakh territory. The forests are inhabited by a variety of indigenous animal species. Since Karabakh hasn't been industrialized, the natural environment here is absolutely unpolutted with possibly virginal or at least scarcely exploited and visited forests and gorges.
The Historical Monuments
There are many architectural and historical monuments in Karabakh. Monasteries, churches, fortresses, and bridges have been built here throughout the region's long history.
The Anaras Monastery is of unique importance. It is one of the oldest Christian centers of ancient Armenia. The first school of Artsakh was established at the Anaras Monastary. The Gandzasar Monastery is another highly remarkable monument, located in the Martakert Region of Karabakh.
Recently, ruins of the ancient city Tigranakert were found in Karabakh. The ancient settlement is nearby Stepanakert.
Travelling to Karabakh
The border between Armenia and Karabakh is open. The citizens of Armenia and CIS countries can visit the country without a visa. The citizens of other countries can get a visa right at the border or at the Karabakh Consulate in Yerevan.
You can go to Karabakh by buses that leave Yerevan from the Kilikia Central Bus Station. The fare is 4500 AMD (~ 13 USD), and the trip takes about 6 hours. The buses make a couple of stops at big cities or small off-road markets for the passangers to get water, buy food and relax. It takes shorter to get to Karabakh by car. A taxi from Yerevan to Stepanakert is about 40,000 AMD (~ 110 USD). Though the trip is still long and might be a bit tiring, there's a lot to see and possibly film on the way, like the gorge near Yeghegnadzor or the winding road through the mountains in Lachin.