IN THE CAUCASUS

Georgia, Azerbaijan, ​2010, Armenia, 2011.

 

Published by iQuaderni, QU3#15, 2018. Journal cover and photoessay.

A strip of land wedged between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, two enclosed inland seas, hosts the Caucasus. The Caucasus are two parallel mountain ranges, soft and green, rich in water; with valleys, plains and deserts. A mountainous rangethat marks the passage from Europe to Asia. Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as Russia, make up the countries of the South Caucasus. They are similar in colours and in the perfumes of the land, but profoundly different in their populations, their languages and alphabet, their religions and traditions, and their natural resources.

 

The report here is composed of images collected over the course of two trips, the first to Georgia and Azerbaijan in 2010, and the second to Armenia in 2011. I could observe and document the changes in the city of Baku (Azerbaijan) through repeated trips and with projects published in numerous international architecture journals. However, for this issue of Urbanistica 3, I preferred to report the most homogenous view possible on the three countries, showing that, despite their differences and contrasts they represent a single, dense, and compact geographical area.

A homogenous view on the countries because it was the first time that I went to all three of them and had a new perspective, devoid of any influences. It was homogenous given the trip’s program; in all three cases I was warmly hosted and accompanied to visit the peri-urban and rural zones. It was homogenous given the duration of the trip, in that I spent about one week in each country. Lastly, it was homogenous given the lenses and the photographic instrument used.

 

This photographic project intends to contribute to this issue of Urbanistica 3, dedicated to the South Caucasus, a transversal glance at the three independent Caucasian countries. This includes the relationship between the countryside and the city, and the rural and the urban landscapes; the local cultural heritage in its tangible and intangible forms; the societal aspects tied to traditions and their own cultural expressions; the economy, which is so different in the three countries due to the resources they possess and exploit, and that is manifested in the urban organism. Finally, the infrastructures, often renovated and modern, but that are still punctured by elements from both the history of the Ottoman Empire and from the years under the Soviet rule of the 20thcentury. These elements give a special flavourto the images and highlight the historical detachments of these three societies that, in parallel, are rebuilding and reclaiming their own identities.