Amidst rising international expectations of an Armenian-Turkish rapprochement, hopes are rising fast in the Armenian border village of Margara that this hamlet of 1,500 people -- site of the only bridge between Armenia and Turkey -- will soon become the two countries' central land link.
"We are full of hopes," commented 50-year-old Gagik Avetisian, who lives on the village street leading to Margara's bridge over the Arax River to Turkey. "They [officials] now come from Yerevan to repair the roads. Maybe this time something will change, and the border will really open up."
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Urban Development told EurasiaNet that the repairs are routine and not connected with the border discussions.
But Yerevan visitors asking about house prices or talking about opening a shop, hotel, restaurant or gas station have fired Margara's expectations still higher. Avetisian says that he hopes to sell his house and 1,000 square meters of adjacent land for a price several times higher than before talks about reopening the border began.
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Gayane Abrahamyan is a reporter for the ArmeniaNow.com weekly in Yerevan.