An epic and glorious sight on the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Rich with history, tradition and inviting people. Georgia combines a hiker’s paradise, a foodie’s dream, and a unique architectural landmark while managing to maintain its enthralling nature intact.
Imagine the Middle Ages. A heavily loaded caravan dangles along the winding mountain passes, immense meadows and blistering deserts carrying goods from East to West. Yes, the Great Silk Road used to pass through Georgia and often, on this arduous journey, the travelers would choose this country to stop and take a rest. In retrospect, this decision seems logical, Georgia being the food haven it is. Till today, these multi-cultural peregrinations feel tangible through the medieval towers and quizzical forts scattered across the whole country, including its capital – Tbilisi.
The oldest standing building in Tbilisi – a Christian Orthodox church – dates back to the 6th century AD. The city itself was founded a century before and since then it endured the conquest of almost every major empire throughout history. Further, in the 19th Century, Tbilisi slowly started to transform into a Megapolis, establishing itself as a multi-ethnic trading center of the Caucasus.
Tiflis (as it was called in those days) was thriving with vitality. The city’s vibrant markets would lure myriads of people from surrounding countries.
This extraordinary position of Tbilisi shaped its unique aesthetic, combining various architectural styles and blending cultural influences from Mongolia to Persia to Europe. Today, while walking on the cobblestone pavements of the Old Town’s narrow streets, you will notice a Mosque, a Synagogue, a Catholic church, and a Christian Orthodox church 5-minute walking distance from each other. These religious landmarks serve as keepsakes of the city’s authentically diverse background.
Despite Tbilisi possessing the unquestionable greatness of an iconic Metropolis, Georgia represents so much more than just its Capital City. So, what else has the country to offer?
First and foremost, it’s the Georgian cuisine – infamous among the locals and relatively unknown for the wider audience until they visit Georgia. Today, Georgian food is one of the most popular attractions among the travelers, leaving in awe even the most skeptical food enthusiasts. The secret to the cuisine’s success is in its diverse culinary palette fit for everyone equally – a meat-eater, a vegetarian and a vegan.
Besides having a distinct food culture, Georgia boasts a long tradition of winemaking, in fact, turns out – the longest. According to the Guinness World Records, chemical evidence of the world’s oldest wine, dating back to some 8,000 years ago, has been found in Georgia. Georgians also have a distinguished method of vinification, which involves fermenting grapes in pottery vessels called “Qvevri” and burying them underground. This unique approach has been recognized by UNESCO as a significant intangible cultural heritage.
While talking about Georgian wine, the mind naturally starts to wander to the heart of the Georgian viticulture – Kakheti. Located some 45 kilometers away from Tbilisi, this region is the premier wine producer of the country, booming with vineyards and wine cellars, offering first-hand experiences of the artisanal winemaking process.
However, Kakheti is not the only place where Georgian wine can be discovered. In fact, Georgia offers over 500 endemic vine grapes, many of them grow only in small micro-climates of restricted territories. One would be surprised that a small country like Georgia, with a population of only 3.5 million people, grows such a big variety of grapes. The secret lies in its amusingly contrasting nature. On the territory of 69,700 square kilometers, Georgia possesses every kind of natural wonder on earth: from lanky mountains to boundless plateaus, from cragged beaches to searing semi-deserts, deserts, and cavernous canyons.
Cocooned between the Greater and Lesser Caucasus Gorges, Georgia has an extremely precipitous landscape. Georgian mountains are famous for their unassailable nature and for having some of the highest points in Europe.
In fact, Georgia is home to several summits higher than Mont Blanc – the highest peak of the European Alps. One of them is Mount Kazbek – the jewel in the crown of the Caucasian Mountains. It is a 5,054-meter-high dormant stratovolcano covered with snow the whole year-round. Perched above a North-Eastern town of Stepantsminda, Mount Kazbek is surrounded by wild, sublime nature apt to marvel and amaze. Rooms Hotel Kazbegi was the first project by Adjara Group that became a significant destination on its own and placed Georgia on the world map.
Another mountainous gem in Georgia is Bakuriani. The oldest skiing resort of Georgia, famous for its coniferous trees, spectacular views and biodiverse terrain with healing powers. The grandeur of the Georgian mountain retreats is in their functionality on every season, being celebrated for the skiing pistes in the winter and abundant hiking opportunities to relish the raw, unattainable Georgian nature throughout the whole year. Here’s more about Bakuriani and Rooms Kokhta – that has breathed new life into the destination.
During the summer, Georgia provides not only mountain getaways but balmy and vast beaches as well. Surrounded by the black sea, the subtropical Adjara region gives its own to every kind of sea admirer. For the appreciators of seaside cities with skyscrapers, tasty restaurants, beautiful boulevards, and vibrant nightlife – there is Batumi. For those into desolate vacations amid the wild nature, Adjara has a lot to offer – think of Tsikhisdziri, a small seaside village with rugged shorelines sinking into lush vegetation.
Despite the wildly contrasting nature in Georgia, one aspect remains intact for every region – the people and their legendary hospitality. Georgians are amusingly deep, warm and welcoming people and getting to know them is a spiritual journey of its own.
Follow our blog closely, as we feature the stories of amazing Georgian characters and fascinating destinations. And if you decide to visit Georgia, join us on unique travel experiences around the country. With the help of our in-house guides and by joining forces with the local communities, we explore the beautiful Georgian landscapes and historical sights through responsible travel.
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