This thrillingly mountainous, scenically spectacular and culturally numerous area is the place Asia and Europe rub up in opposition to one another, with usually unpredictable and interesting outcomes.
The Great Caucasus
The huge mountain vary forming a pure border between the South Caucasus and Russia, the Great Caucasus runs from the Black Sea to the Caspian and supplies probably the most astonishing surroundings within the area, its sequence of dramatic peaks fronted by inexperienced river valleys and unbelievably picturesque villages. The mountain areas are strung with spectacular strolling and using trails the place ruined fortresses, watchtowers and historic church buildings are sometimes perched in achingly picturesque areas. Each nation has very good day hike potential, however excessive within the Great Caucasus, Georgia’s Svaneti, Kazbegi and Tusheti areas are significantly ultimate for longer distance village-to-village treks.
Elsewhere, the Lesser Caucasus in Georgia and Armenia and the Talysh Mountains in Azerbaijan have glories of their very own. At decrease altitudes you will discover idyllic farms, vineyards and woodland in addition to arid semi-deserts, rocky gorges and even some alluring seashores. Each of the three nations has fashionable ski resorts, whereas rafting and paragliding are doable in Georgia, the place climbers can even scale Mt Kazbek and several other different 5000m peaks. Delve underground in Armenia’s many caves, or discover Azerbaijan’s Caspian hinterland, the place pure curiosities embrace mud volcanoes and even water that catches hearth.
Asia Meets Europe
While the South Caucasus is a comparatively small area, it is made up of three extremely numerous nations, options three ethnically distinct breakaway republics, one remoted exclave and not less than 16 totally different languages, all inside an space smaller than the UK. This is a cultural crossroads the place Europe meets Asia and the place influences from Russia, Iran, Turkey and Central Asia have been absorbed over the centuries into proudly distinctive native cultures. Here social attitudes stay conventional and household networks rule supreme regardless of three many years of fast-paced change because the finish of the Soviet Union.
Antique forts, monasteries, church buildings and ruins pepper the area. History buffs can disentangle their Bagratids from their Bolsheviks, whereas the area’s greater cities boast some wonderful museums, splendid galleries and a wealthy theatrical heritage. Savour all this with deep-rooted hospitality, splendidly various meals created from a number of the finest pure components on earth and reinvigorated wines from the unique dwelling of viniculture. The ever-improving tourism infrastructure within the South Caucasus could seem modest by European requirements, however come right here quickly, earlier than these historic lands lose their tough edges, and you may uncover what’s been maintaining guests coming for hundreds of years.