According to today’s Armenian evening news report, since Saturday the 8th, around 8000 Armenian citizens have returned home from Georgian Black See cost – popular summer holiday destination for many Armenians.With the escalation of the situation in Georgia came the warnings of the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Armenian tourists to return home, along with measures taken by the Armenian authorities to provide assistance and transportation for those citizens who need it. (517design has shared his experience of that assistance).
As the roads in Eastern and Northern Georgia have become unsafe and reports of bombing a military(?) airport near Tbilisi have made air travel from Georgia problematic, the diplomatic missions of US and UK have issued warnings for expats and foreign nationals in Georgia on various other missions and business to leave the country. Many have chosen the road South – to Armenia. 2000 foreign citizens are reported to have crossed the Armenian border by now. To cope with the increasing flow of foreigners, Armenian customs officials have started giving visas free of charge (normally a $35 US fee) and with simplified procedure. There are also accounts of many wealthy Georgians bringing their families to Armenia.
Georgian officials are reported to be very nice to all foreigners willing to flee the country, except Russian nationals – who are apparently being illegally held as prisoners. The Georgian authorities have also started illegally confiscating fuel and natural gas destined for Armenia, but that is nothing new for us – our Northern neighbors have always been in the habit of overcharging and stealing from Armenia whenever they had the opportunity.
Seeing, that there will be a lot of foreign guests in Armenia’s capital Yerevan, Katy, who often comments on this blog, has put together a short but very informative guide for the expats:
The struggle against foreign invadors forms the axis of the millenia-long history of Armenia. Hayk’s victory, standing at the very source of that struggle, became a token of future victories. The day of Hayk’s victory was marked as the starting point of the Armenian calendar and if calculations are correct, on August 11, 2008 marks the turn of 4500th anniversary of the Armenian calendar.
While the figure of 4500 is much smaller then the 5768th year of the Hebriew calendar, it is certainly much greater than the 1429th year of the Islamic calendar, or the 2008th of Gregorian or Julian calendars. Indeed, we have every reason to be proud.