About the Author

Andranik Michaelian In a sense, I have always been on the road to Armenia. Long before setting foot here for the first time in 1982, I had grown up with the stories of my grandparents, who had left their homes in Bitlis, Moush, and Sebastia and gone to America to escape the Turkish atrocities. What they left behind, and what happened a short time later to family members and others who didnít make the journey, became part of the fabric of my life.

Little by little, the desire awakened in me to see the land of my ancestors. I read Armenian history, listened to Armenian music, and studied the Armenian language. As I grew older, I gained a better appreciation of our ancient culture and its many accomplishments. I was also saddened by the departure of the older generation, who had suffered so much, and who had nevertheless still managed to carve out a new life for themselves in distant, not always hospitable lands.

When I finally set foot in the towns of Bitlis and Sebastia in 1996, I felt as if I, too, had been born there. Walking through the magnificent ruins of the City of Ani and looking out upon the blue waters of Lake Van was more than a dream come true. My journey brought me nearer to my family, and to the indomitable people we call Armenians.

Andranik Michaelian & Hasmik Harutyunyan Every year thereafter, I traveled to a different part of Armenia, taking pictures, visiting monasteries, listening to the people, and enjoying their boundless hospitality. I met writers and singers, artists and musicians, scholars, scientists, and the families of fallen freedom fighters. I lived for a time in Gharabagh, and taught English there. I also collected music, deeply amazed by the haunting melodies that were still being handed down from countless generations.

As fate would have it, one day in Yerevan, I had the good fortune of meeting the well known folklore singer, Hasmik Harutyunyan (see below). When she first sang for me, it somehow changed our lives. On July 4, 2000, we were married. Now we live in Yerevan, and I have the good fortune of being with Hasmik, and knowing her beautiful, kind, and talented family.

The road to Armenia has been a long one. I still love the place of my birth, in the great San Joaquin Valley of California. But I also love Armenia. I love being here, and I love being with the people. By creating this website, by showing you as much of Armenia as is practically possible, I hope you will come to love it here too.

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