On the way from Haghpat to the town of Alaverdi down the valley, we stopped at a café for lunch where we were treated to live music. A man who played the synthesizer was accompanied by a clarinet player who also served as a vocalist. He snapped his fingers as he sang. They played a couple of favorite Armenian songs and followed with a medley of popular international songs from the 1950s, including the Hava Nagila. They finished the set with a forceful rendition of “Moscow Nights,” which was the anthem of the Soviet Communist Youth.

Photo essay: Roots that sustain Armenia's identity