Winter 2015

What is Bridges?     

Around the world, tourism has proven its potential to strengthen developing economies. The USAID-funded Bridges project was developed to spur regional economic growth, through increased cross-border tourism between Armenia and Turkey.

Bridges, an offshoot of the AMAP Black Sea Silk Road Corridor (BSSRC) project, focuses on the benefits to tour operators in the Armenia-Turkey cross-border region. BSSRC was implemented by Armenia’s AMAP Human Development NGO (AMAP) and its Turkish partner Ekonomistler Platformu (EkP), with funding by the European Union, USAID, and the EU Ministry for the Republic of Turkey.

The primary areas of focus for Bridges are:

Armenia:  Aragatsotn, Gegharkunik, Kotayk, Shirak, Syunik, Vayots Dzor & Yerevan

Georgia:  southwest link between Armenia and Turkey

Turkey:    Anatolia & eastern Black Sea coast (Ani, Diyarbekir, Erzerum, Kars, Mush, Samsun, 

               Trabizon, Van), & Istanbul

Through its three primary objectives, Bridges will:

  1. Identify and inventory tourism experiences in the region.

Tourism is an experience. It is much more than visiting monuments and historical sites. It is discovery, emotion and passion in constant evolution. Bridges will identify, inventory and categorize potential tourism experiences and opportunities. This extraordinary area, rich in history and culture, must be dynamically advertised to reach more international tourists.

  1. Foster cross-border cooperation between tour operators.

Project partners will work with Armenia’s Union of Incoming Tour Operators (UITO) and Turkey’s Association of Turkish Travel Agents (TURSAB) to establish TATON––the Turkish & Armenian Tour Operators Network. TATON will grow stronger through round table discussions, Discovery Tours throughout the region, and a groundbreaking professional social network (PSN). A strong TATON is expected to contribute to regional tourism growth.

3. Promote the region as a tourist destination for the international traveler.
Bridges will promote project activities through public relations tools, the TATON brand logo, and its social media marketing strategy. Our website, on-line newsletters, IT promotions, and updates to social network sites will provide new and exciting information for both tour operators and tourists. A special Discovery Tour will be held in 2016 for international photojournalists and travel writers to explore this area. Their articles about their experiences in popular, internationally-read publications and blogs will raise the region’s profile, further marketing it as a one-of-a-kind destination spot.

AMAP is dedicated to the
artistic, cultural, educational, and
sustainable development of communities.
From the Desks of the Partners…
This project is the realization of a dream.  It is a dream I had many years ago when I first became fascinated with this extraordinary place I have called home for 22 years.  As I wrote home to family, friends (and frankly, anyone who would read my stories of living in these mysterious lands of silken mountains), the stories turned into chapters and the chapters into a book, TourArmenia, my guide to the area. That in turn became the formation of AMAP, and a seven-year adventure we have relished in opening up the region to adventurers like us––intrepid wanderers looking afar for those sparks of life we call experiences.And now here we are: Bridges project, and the formation of this wonderful network of tour operators called TATON, furthering the dream of introducing these fabled lands to visitors from all over the world.  Most destinations on our tour trails––the Black Sea Silk Road––were lost in the mists of time, but are now ready to be discovered anew by people like you––adventurers looking for a new frontier, time forgotten, and the memories of a lifetime.There is so much to see and experience here. Some things must be seen, and tasted, and felt to be understood. We welcome you to our home. Come. Enjoy all that we have to offer. We are certain you will fall in love with our region’s ancient silk roads, timeless mountains and waters, magical forests, exquisite wildlife, delicious cuisine, and our people.

Richard Ney
President and Chief of Party
AMAP Human Development NGO

I am writing this letter after reading what my dear friend Richard Ney wrote for this newsletter. He calls this region “home”. I don’t think this is a coincidence…this region is home for all of humanity, with its deep history and culture created by all of us. It doesn’t matter where you come from…I am sure you will find many things here that make you feel at home. 

For some, it might be the welcoming and generous hospitality. For others, it might be the cuisine. For many, it might be the culture. But, in the end, for all who visit this region, it will be the combined characteristics of the people of this region, who, since the beginning of time, have created the civilization we enjoy today.

Bridges strives to highlight the many experiences available in this region. The project is not only designed to promote the region and cross-border economic development. It is also a collection of experiences that you can dive into, enjoy, and share.

We welcome you to Bridges, to the Black Sea Silk Road, and to TATON, a network of professional, dedicated Armenian and Turkish tour operators, specializing in cross-border tours to the silk roads of Anatolia, mountainous Georgia, and the spine of Armenia, where civilization began to teach us about living together.

Oğuz Demir
Ekonomistler Platformu


From the Desk of…Former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, John Heffern…
In the past two years, I have watched AMAP Human Development NGO develop and lead an enormous effort to promote Armenia on the international stage. Many of you know them as the “sign people”, erecting information panels promoting Armenian sites throughout the country. This year, they took a major step forward in their development, changing their name to AMAP Human Development NGO and focusing on international programming that links Armenia to the outside world.
This year’s annual report documents their work and this record of accomplishment bears witness to the mutually supportive relationship that characterizes our work together.
AMAP helps to cast light on the country’s past in order to illuminate the way forward. As the world becomes aware of Armenia’s history and potential, growth and investment will follow. We in the U.S. mission are proud to be partners in this effort, through USAID and the Ambassador’s Cultural Preservation Fund. We are delighted with AMAP’s multi-country Black Sea Silk Road Project, and their new cross-border economic development effort, Bridges. I wish them success on this path for many years to come.    
John A. Heffern
Former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Armenia

AMAP Name Change  Armenian Monuments Awareness Project Cultural NGO (AMAP), established in 2008, began a nationwide program to enhance visitors’ experiences at tourist attractions throughout Armenia. So many of the churches, monuments, sites, and more were unlabeled, difficult to find, or simply lacked information, making it difficult for tourists to fully appreciate the wonders they were visiting. The colorful and beautifully-decorated multi-lingual plaques (in Armenian, English, Russian, Italian and French), as well as Braille (also multi-lingual) at some sites, have completely changed the touristic experience for thousands of local and international visitors. In May, 2014, AMAP officially changed its name to AMAP Human Development NGO (AMAP). Subsequently, AMAP redefined its mission to: implement programs on artistic, historical, natural & cultural heritage; implement programs on economic, scientific and social issues; implement programs on sustainable development & education; create interpretative & promotional publications, seminars, conferences, educational programs, exchange programs, and so on, to support development programs; collaborate with similar state and public, local & foreign organizations.


The Black Sea Silk Road Corridor (BSSRC) project fosters cross-border cultural cooperation and economic development in 100 communities in four countries of the Black Sea Basin: Armenia, Georgia, Greece and Turkey. 

Between 2013-2015, 43 Armenian cultural, historical and natural sites were marked with 395 information panels, directional signs, trail markers, and walking tour plaques, providing multi-lingual content about the site. Georgia marked 60 sites with 76 panels and signs. Turkey marked 120 sites with 200 panels. Greece marked 24 sites with 111 panels, signs, markers and plaques. Languages vary depending on the type of sign and the site. In each country, panels, signs & markers use the partner organization’s native language and English. In addition, other languages, at the discretion of the partner, were used, and may include: Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian, or more!

A web portal features the virtual version of the trail, along with smartphone & tablet Apps with social media capabilities. The directory and the App, fully designed by Armenian IT engineers, are used across all four countries.

Events and training courses were organized for Armenian tourism service providers on the effective use of online opportunities created by the web portal and the applications.

The project is expected to contribute to the alleviation of rural isolation through the development of local communities, enhancement of visitors’ experiences, as well as the protection of cultural monuments and biodiversity.

BSSRC brings together a large number of partners in Armenia including the government and local & international non-profit organizations. Together, they support and strengthen Armenia’s commitment to tourism development, cross-border cooperation, and community building.

In Armenia, BSSRC is implemented by AMAP, and funded by the European Union (EU) through its Black Sea Basin Joint Operational Programme, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The project has been extended by the EU, through April 7, 2015.

BSSRC Facts & Figures

  • The BSSRC trail is over 3,000 km long!
  • BSSRC supported 100 communities in four countries: Armenia, Georgia, Greece & Turkey.
  • In Armenia, a travel trail of 43 cultural, historical & natural sites were marked with 148 signs, 114 information panels, 77 trail markers, & 55 walking tour plaques. Panels are marked in Armenian, English, Russian, Italian & French. Other signs & markers are in Armenian & English.
  • A virtual trail of five smartphone Apps & a web portal were created.
  • To promote the trail, two e-print brochures were designed.
  • Website:

New Travel App

Virtually explore four exotic lands along the Black Sea Silk Road trail including: Armenia, Georgia, Turkey & Greece––over 3,000 km of hospitality & wonder!

  • Free & easy-to-navigate for experienced & novice users alike.
  • Explore professionally-detailed tours & cultural themes.
  • Use embedded Google Maps to plan your route while on-the-go. All sites use GPS technology.
  • Find location & contact information for over 500 hotels, B&Bs, restaurants & cafés, as well as 300 significant historical, nature & cultural sites.
  • Discover family-owned B&Bs, cafés & souvenir shops for truly unique holiday experiences.
  • Connect with local guides who know the sites best.
  • Easily find nearby historical and cultural sites, complete with professional descriptions.
  • Read descriptions & reviews by other visitors before you visit.
  • Use social media to rate your experiences & share your travel photos.
  • Available for smartphones & tablets. Go to Google play or iTunes. Search for Black Sea Silk Road.

U.S. Embassy

On August 28, 2014, AMAP Human Development NGO hosted U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern at the Erebuni Museum. Following a tour of the museum, guided by Erebuni Museum Director Gagik Gyurjian, AMAP presented its recent activities. Accompanying Ambassador Heffern were USAID Mission Director Karen Hilliard, and other representatives from the U.S. Mission.

AMAP President Richard Ney presented a video about its Black Sea Silk Road Corridor project and AMAP’s other programs, including its latest initiative, Bridges. Discussions were held on current, in-progress, and planned activities. The potential for cross-border tourism is great, as affirmed by the tour operators who participated in the presentation and discussions.

The BSSRC project, currently extended by the EU, and partially-funded by USAID, unites Armenia, Georgia, Turkey and Greece, by creating a 3,000-km long trail to enhance the touristic experience. Bridges, launched in October, 2014, is designed to spur regional, cross-border economic growth between Armenia and Turkey.


On February 24, Ms. Susan Fritz, USAID Acting Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Europe and Eurasia, visited Yerevan to become better acquainted with USAID programs in Armenia. AMAP Human Development NGO was delighted to present its Black Sea Silk Road Corridor (BSSRC) and Bridges projects to her. Accompanying Ms. Fritz were USAID Mission Director Karen Hilliard, Supervisory Program Officer Mervyn Ellis, Director / Economic Growth Office Naren Chanmugam, Private Sector Advisor / Economic Growth Office Diana Avetyan, and Development Outreach and Communication Specialist Armine Karabekyan.
AMAP Vice President Bella Karapetyan presented an overview and the accomplishments of AMAP, BSSRC and Bridges. Babken Juharyan, AMAP IT Consultant provided an overview of our recently-launched, multi-lingual, free App, available for iOS and Android platforms.

AMAP’s BSSRC introductory video was shown, providing an informative and delightful initiation into culture––and more––along the Black Sea Silk Road Corridor.

Joining us during this meeting were leaders from several Armenian tourism agencies with which AMAP works closely: Armenia Travel, Armenia Travel Bureau, Blackstone Travel, Discover Armenia (DA) Tours, Gardman Tour, Princess Maneh Tours, Travelon, and the Union of Incoming Tour Operators. All have committed to joining TATON––an important objective of the Bridges project. TATON––the Turkish & Armenian Tour Operators Network––is envisioned to play an important role in cross-border, regional economic development.

During the active and interesting discussions, ideas and accomplishments were shared. Challenges––and potential solutions––were discussed. Tour operators remarked on the usefulness of AMAP’s Black Sea Silk Road App. They affirmed that Bridges is a welcome initiative to continue and expand cooperation with Turkish tour operators, and encouraging tourists to visit the region.

The presentation was held at the Erebuni Museum, a long-time AMAP supporter and partner. Guided by Erebuni Museum Director Gagik Gyurjian, Ms. Fritz discovered some of Armenia’s history and treasures.

Crossing Borders, Creating Solutions
Recognizing a real need to spur economic growth, Bridges was launched to promote and invest in cross-border tourism, by working with tour operators in Armenia and Turkey (specifically Anatolia and Istanbul.) Below, we note just some of the ways this is being done.Roundtables

November 8: AMAP met with a small group of Armenian tour operators; this was the first of several roundtables to be held, and allowed us to present and discuss our project, and respond to questions.

November 22: AMAP and Ekonomistler Platformu (EkP) partners met in Istanbul to discuss Bridges objectives and challenges. Günnur Özalp, owner of Eurasia Tourism, presented an excellent overview of the realities facing tour industry service providers today.

December 4: The Bridges team met with over 30 Armenian tour operators to discuss project opportunities, challenges and ideas. AMAP President and Chief of Party Richard Ney kicked off the event to present Bridges.

EkP Chairman Oğuz Demir added his comments, encouragement and hope for the success of the project. Former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern joined the lively discussion to offer his support and thoughts on cross-border, regional economic development. 
During all round table meetings and discussions, the idea of creating a regional network of tour operators was welcomed. It is believed that a strong TATON––Turkish & Armenian Tour Operators Network––will contribute to regional tourism growth. In turn, this will contribute to increased economic activity.

At all roundtables, tour operators welcomed the idea of Discovery & Information Tours for tour operators, photojournalists, and travel writers. Tour operators, when better acquainted with the possibilities in the cross-border region, know they will be better-prepared to provide superior service to tourists. Photojournalists and travel writers from around the world who visit the region will write about their experiences, sharing their journey with their readers & followers. There already is interest from well-known writers, photojournalists and bloggers. As a result of these special tours, the Armenia-Turkey cross-border region will be highlighted, intriguing those in search of new, exciting and exotic adventures. The more people who visit this region will mean more tourists, and improved economies for the peoples along this leg of the ancient and fabled Silk Road.


Between November-December, 2014, BSSRC officially launched it’s program in all four partner countries. Hundreds of people in each country, including high-ranking officials, tourism service providers, media, and others attended, to celebrate the project and draw attention to the potential for tourism along the Black Sea Silk Road trail. The Bridges project was presented and discussed at each event.

Between November 20-24, 2014, the AMAP team visited Istanbul to participate in the BSSRC official program launch, and to discuss Bridges with partners in Turkey. Bridges’ USAID Project Manager Diana Avetyan joined them.

Crossing Borders…Creating Solutions
This ancient culture still has so many secrets to share. There is something for everyone to discover and enjoy here: music & dance…ancient churches & museums…cafés & festivals…birds & wildlife…camping & hiking…and so much more!

Ughtasar is the site of an important archaeological find: a large field of ancient petroglyphs on top of Mt. Ughtasar, about 17.5 km northwest of Sissian, in southern Armenia.

This ancient site is located near a small glacier lake nestled within the rim of a volcano, extinct since the Pleistocene Epoch. The lake has ice flows year-round and patches of snow in the area never completely melt. The petroglyphs were discovered on stones surrounding the lake. The number and development of the carvings suggest this field was used over thousands of years, beginning in the Paleolithic Era (ca. 12,000 BCE).

The petroglyphs were carved with stone tools onto black and grey volcanic stone and are rich with the imagery of flora and fauna, humans and animals, geometric shapes and drawings, and more. The more complex carvings include what some say are the earliest depictions of dance in the ancient world: scenes of ceremonial dances with two or more figures. 


In downtown Yerevan, at Republic Square, visit the wonderful, magical fountains. During the day & evenings, families & couples stroll the area, enjoying the lulling sound & breeze from the fountains. But at night, these fountains come alive with music & light. Every night (spring-summer-autumn), the fountains dance & pulsate with Armenian & non-Armenian classical, jazz, pop, and rock music. The National Art Gallery’s façade plays host to a stunning laser light show of musical notes. The lit fountains follow the rhythm as if part of the symphony. Yerevan natives and visitors flock to watch this show.
In Armenia’s Gegharkunik Region, on the banks of the Gavaraget River, and not far from Lake Sevan, lies Noratus—an ancient settlement of Greater Armenia’s Syunik province with numerous Bronze and Iron Age monuments. It is most famous for its major ancient cemetery boasting two 13th c. chapels, and over 800 khachkars (stone crosses) and gravestones, carved between the 9th-17th centuries.

The preserved khachkars, a unique part of Armenia’s cultural heritage, provide invaluable insights into the different periods of the development of this art. Each period is unique for its method of carving, design and composition of the  khachkars. The talented Khachkar Masters of the Middle Ages––Kiram, Meliqset, Khachatur, and others––worked in Noratus.

Wander through the cemetery. Discover gravestones of different sizes and shapes, with graphic symbols and carvings. Some of these depict stories. Many of the khachkars and gravestones also bear inscriptions and dates. This rich resource can unravel many mysteries of the history of the Armenian people, historical geography, social-economic relations, culture, life¬style, and other issues. Talk with local residents––-they are often happy to provide you with even more insights into what the carvings on the stones mean.

Istanbul’s historic center, partially listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, welcomes millions of visitors annually, making it a top tourist destination in the world. Below are a few of the many sites to visit.
Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar is the largest covered market in the world! Here, you can find almost anything, from jewelry to scarves, ceramics to carpets, antiques, food, & so much more! Operating since 1461, this bazaar, and the adjacent & nearby streets, offer a wonderful day of wandering, exploring, tasting, discovering & shopping. It’s definitely a not-to-be-missed experience. If offered tea by any of the vendors, do accept. It’s traditional, and will offer you a nice rest from your adventures in  the bazaar. Be prepared to haggle while you explore the grandest of the Grand Bazaars! An estimated 250,000-400,000 people visit the Grand Bazaar daily. Visit the Grand Bazaar Monday-Saturday, from 09:00-19:00. It is closed on Sundays and bank holidays, so plan your visit accordingly.


Hagia Sophia, meaning Holy Wisdom, (and pronounced ah-YEE-ah so-FEE-ah), was first built by Emperor Constantine the Great on the site of a former Temple of Venus. Damaged in the 6th c., the temple was rebuilt by Emperor Justinian in 537, and served as the Patriarchate of Constantinople. (From 1204-1261, it served as a Roman Catholic cathedral.) In 1453, when the Ottomans conquered Constantinople,

they repurposed the church into a mosque, adding minarets.

Hagia Sophia was considered the world’s largest cathedral, until the Seville Cathedral was completed in 1520.

Closed in 1931, the mosque was reopened as a secular museum four years later. Today, it is one of Istanbul’s most recognized and visited tourist attractions.


Located in Sultanahmet, Istanbul’s Old City district, the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, built by Ahmed I between 1609-1616, is commonly known as the Blue Mosque, because of the more than 20,000 handmade, blue ceramic tiles adorning its interior. It is lit by 260 windows, and is recognized by its six minarets. The chief architect was Sedefkar Mehmed Agha, a student of Sinan Architect, an Armenian architect considered the greatest architect of the classical period of Ottoman architecture. While this active mosque is open to visitors, it is closed to tourists for one half hour during daily prayers and during the Friday sermons.

Panels & Other Signs

Since 2008, AMAP has created and placed over 700 multi-lingual panels, trail markers, directional signs, and more throughout Armenia at dozens of important cultural and historical sites.

These beautifully-illustrated panels explain the history of the sites. Presented in Armenian, English, Russian, Italian and French, the panels make visits to Armenia more interesting for tourists, and are an excellent way to share the rich tapestry of culture and history that Armenia offers.


Culture Exchange Platform (CulturEXP) facilitates the cross-border exchange of culture by providing an

innovative, multi-lingual, IT platform, adapted for culture producers (artists, directors or festival organizers), culture operators (museums, festivals, etc.), and other actors within the cultural sector.

The platform is an online tool through which cultural professionals and organizations in the Black Sea region can advertise, discuss and organize cultural activities and events. For lovers of culture, it provides a valuable source of information.

The 2-year project, a collaboration between Armenian, Bulgarian, Georgian, Greek and Moldovan organizations, is implemented under the European Union’s Joint Operational Programme Black Sea Basin 2007-2013.

For more information, contact AMAP––the Armenia CulturEXP contact, or visit:


Dashtadem Fortress
The 10th c. Dashtadem Fortress, in Armenia’s Aragatsotn Region, is one of the few ancient Armenian fortresses that survived without the benefit of natural protection––most others are set on mountain ridges, in deep valleys, or under towering cliffs. Armenia lies on a crossroads of trade, and over the centuries, was often subject to invasion. Successive waves of attacks left their mark on Dashtadem.Today, the fortress, lying almost completely in ruin, faces total loss if preventive conservation and stabilization of the most at-risk areas are not carried out. It has been surveyed and recorded in detail. Due to the lack of a drainage system in the fortress, the entire complex, including the partially-restored walls and the citadel, are at risk of complete decay and collapse.

Villagers harvested stones and other materials from the fortress to use for their own needs, gradually taking over the site by building homes and cattle sheds on top of the fortress ruins. These settlements had both positive and negative consequences for the future preservation of the fortress. While the removal of stones destroyed much of the walls and citadel, the settlements preserved the layers buried beneath. This allowed archaeologists and historians to reconstruct the fortress layout, material construction, and uncover layers of habitation during excavations.

The Dashtadem Fortress project goals are two-fold: 1) clear the site of those recently-constructed structures that are not part of the fortress; 2) conduct a careful excavation of the citadel area. These steps will allow future restoration, conservation and preservation of the site, through the careful excavation of the inner citadel and outer bastion, and the cataloguing and preservation of artifacts.

The Work Group will make overall project decisions, with the Ministry of Culture of Armenia conducting technical, historical and engineering expert supervision. Monitoring is carried out by AMAP. Funding is provided by the U.S. Ambassadors Cultural Fund.


We’d like your feedback! We’re developing a logo for TATON–––the Turkish & Armenian Tour Operators Network. Which of the eight options below do you like best? Send us your comments and votes by Friday, April 3, 2015. All votes & comments should be e-mailed to Please write TATON LOGO VOTE in the subject line. Thank you.





The Inventory

Our AMAP team has been working tirelessly with tour operators, service providers and others to inventory & categorize a wide array of tourism experiences. This catalog will be shared with tour operators to help them index, advertise and reach potential visitors.

Tourists will benefit with more, and easier-to-find, information, interesting descriptions of common and not-so-common destinations in the area––all of which will help them customize their trips for an unforgettable tourism experience. Ultimately, the people of this cross-border area will benefit economically with more tourists visiting this region’s hidden treasures.


More than 110 countries are part of ICOMOS––the International Council on Monuments and Sites––an international, professional association working for the conservation & protection of cultural heritage places around the world. ICOMOS-Armenia has been a long-time partner with, and supporter of, AMAP. Georgia, Greece & Turkey are also ICOMOS member states. AMAP welcomes and encourages the continued cooperation between ICOMOS-member states and national & other committees working hard to protect our world’s cultural heritage. Contact ICOMOS in your country to learn more about the great work that ICOMOS is doing in your country, and around the world. In this region, contact:

Armenia: (Website is coming soon).

Fun Facebook Facts

Did you know that our Facebook fans are all over the world? Our friends are following us in over 40 countries, spanning six continents! At this printing, the top countries are:

  1. Armenia / Շատ շնորհակալ ենք!
  2. Spain / Muchas gracias!
  3. Italy / Grazie mille!
  4. USA / Thank you very much!
  5. Russia / Большое спасибо!

Top Facebook Posts

Click on the links below to view some of our most popular posts.

Feb 25 The Legend of Akhtamar

Feb 19 Happy Birthday Hovhannes Tumanyan!

Feb 17 Mesrob Mashtots & the Armenian Alphabet

Feb 11 Biodiversity in the Caucasus

Feb 4  The Travel Channel’s Booze Traveler: On the Armenian Trail

Feb 3  Whet Your Appetite: TV Travel – Armenia

Jan 31 Eight Unique Attractions in Armenia

Jan 28 Stone Age Tunnels: Scotland to Armenia

Jan 24 In Search of the Perfect Souvenir?

Jan 11 Armenian Church in Ani

Jan 10 The Travel Channel’s Booze Traveler: Turkey is Stirring

Jan 9  Elite Daily’s list of 50 Unpredictable & Unclichéd Places to Go in 2015

Jan 5  Merry Christmas! Yes, Merry Christmas!

Dec 23 Turkish Museum of Architecture’s Online Exhibit

Dec 20 Ten of the World’s Oldest Things from Armenia

Dec 3  Yerevan on Trip Advisor’s Best City list

Follow us for more interesting posts on
travel & tourism experiences in this cross-border region!

Out of Eden

Pulitzer Prize-winning author, National Geographic photojournalist and Knight Fellow award recipient Paul Salopek is walking around the world! Follow his journey and his Dispatches from the Field from Paul Salopek at the this link: About the Journey: A Walk Through TimeThe following is an excerpt from the same link.

Paul Salopek’s Out of Eden world walk is an exercise in slow journalism. Moving at the slow beat of his footsteps, Paul is engaging with the major stories of our time—from climate change to technological innovation, from mass migration to cultural survival—by walking alongside the people who inhabit them every day. As he traverses the globe from Africa to South America, he is revealing the texture of the lives of people he encounters: the nomads, villagers, traders, farmers, and fishermen who never make the news.

National Geographic is publishing Paul’s dispatches in the form of words, photos, and sometimes audio or video. At least once a year, a full-length feature story relating to the walk will appear in National Geographic magazine.

When his seven-year journey ends, Paul will have created a global mosaic of stories, faces, sounds, and landscapes highlighting the pathways that connect us to each other––a unique archive of our shared humanity at the start of a new millennium.

Let’s Connect!

We want to stay in contact with you via Social Media. We hope you do too. As our numbers grow, more people will discover the exciting and interesting experiences in this virtually untapped and beautiful region. Our hope is that more people will learn about this area, and visit us here. Connect with us & let us know what you think!








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Photo Credits

Tatev Monastery / Arpi Vartanian

Basilica Cistern / Hypnos Istanbul

Richard Ney / Richard Ney

Oğuz Demir / Oğuz Demir

Ambassador Heffern / The Politic

Pomegranate /  Arpi Vartanian

Apricots / Arpi Vartanian

Mt. Ararat / Richard Ney

AMAP-BSSRC Directional Sign / Harutyun Tadevosyan

AMAP Presentation to U.S. Mission in Armenia / Harutyun Tadevosyan

AMAP Presentation to USAID / Harutyun Tadevosyan

Roundtable in Istanbul  / Harutyun Tadevosyan

Roundtable in Yerevan / Harutyun Tadevosyan

BSSRC launch  program in Armenia / Harutyun Tadevosyan

Ughtasar Petroglyph Richard Ney

Dancing Fountains in Yerevan / Mkhitar Khachatryan

Khachkar (stone cross) at Noratus Cemetery / Arpi Vartanian

Carpets for sale at entrance to Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar / Arpi Vartanian

Hagia Sophia / Tesla Memorial Society of New York

Blue Mosque / Sabino Parente for National Geographic Travel’s Your Shot Photos: Best Trips 2015

AMAP Information Panel / Harutyun Tadevosyan

Dashtadem Fortress / Harutyun Tadevosyan

Church Fresco from Ani, Turkey / Paul Salopek, National Geographic, Out of Eden Walk

AMAP Human Development NGO

101 Pavstos Buzand St.1st Entrance, Apt. 6Yerevan

0002 Armenia(o) +374 (10) 532 455


Ekonomistler Platformu

19 Mayis Mah. Tayyareci Cemal Sok

Safa Apt. No:22 Daire:9

Sisli Istanbul, Turkey

(o) +90 0212 234 54 07

AMAP Human Development NGO (AMAP) is dedicated to building human capacity and community approaches to development. AMAP implements programs on tourism for development, artistic, historical, natural, and cultural heritage; on economic, scientific and social issues; and on sustainable development and education. Since 2012, AMAP has played a leading role in making Armenia, Turkey and the Black Sea Silk Road trail exciting, tourist-friendly travel destinations. AMAP’s USAID-funded Bridges project is committed to strengthened and sustained economic development in Armenia and Turkey, through regional, cross-border tourism development. For more information, visit

Ekonomistler Platformu (EkP) is an independent, non-profit economic and public policy research institution founded on the idea that independent policy research plays a crucial role in sustainable economic growth. Established in 2000 in Istanbul, EkP, with its vast network of research experts, assists local administrations, policy-makers and the business sector in supporting Turkey’s economic development, both at the micro- and macro- policy levels. EkP has engaged in international- and national-level research and applied projects. EkP has further expanded its network by partnering with European organizations, as well as those from Turkey’s neighboring countries.

This project is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of AMAP Human Development NGO and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

Copyright © 2015 AMAP Human Development NGO, All rights reserved.Our mailing address is:
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