Travel to Georgia
With sublimely perched old churches, watchtowers and castles dotting its fantastic mountain scenery, Georgia has to be one of the most beautiful countries on earth. This is a place where the human hand has much enhanced that of nature. Georgia is now developing its tourism potential and making the full range of its attractions safely and readily accessible to travellers. Appealing accommodation for all budgets is becoming available across the country and opportunities for exploring by foot, horse or vehicle are expanding fast.
A mythical place, Georgia is the land of Colchis, where Jason found the Golden Fleece and fell in love with Medea. Many Georgian women are still named after her and share the charms and subtle beauty that she possessed. In the first century ВС, the Greek geographer Strabo described a technique used in Georgia for getting gold from a river. The technique, involving a sheep fleece, is still known among the old men of Svaneti, thus giving substance to the legend. The Amazons are said to have lived beside the Tergi (Terek) River, and Prometheus chained to either Mt. Kazbek or to Mt. Elbrus. In Georgia, our archetypes are the stuff of their national history.
Bordered by the Caucasus mountains to the north, the Black Sea to the west, Azerbaijan in the east, and Turkey and Armenia in the south, Georgia is at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, and as such also shares the complicated and turbulent history of the Middle East. It is a land whose geographical position combined with its exquisite beauty has attracted an excessive number of conquerors (by one count, Tbilisi, the capital, has been destroyed 29 times in its 1,500-plus-year history); and the evidence of Hittites, Assyrians, Scythians, Cimmerians, Persians, Arabs, Turks, and Mongols is certainly present. Despite these invasions and occupations of their land, Georgians have proved extraordinarily tenacious in maintaining their own culture, religion, language, and traditions.
From the snow-capped Caucasus mountains to its semitropical Black Sea coastline, Georgia abounds in natural variety. Tbilisi, the capital and by far the biggest city, has the atmosphere of an age-old Eurasian crossroads, yet it’s also a 21st-century city with European-style nightclubs and eye-catching new architecture. Georgia’s deeply complicated history has given it a fascinating cocktail of influences from Turkey, Russia, Persia, Central Asia and beyond, with a wonderful heritage of architecture and art. But today Georgia looks to Europe for its future and is the most Western in atmosphere of the three Caucasus countries.
Perhaps its greatest treasure is the Georgians themselves: warm, proud, high-spirited, cultured, obsessively hospitable and expert at enjoying life. This is a country where guests are considered a blessing. The abundant local wine flows freely, tables are laden with fine food and you’ll never cease to be delighted by the warmth of your welcome.
Georgia has a unique history that makes it a fascinating place to travel. This history is alive at every corner, discussed at every table, a veritable feast for the mind as much as food is for the belly, hospitality to the soul and scenery to the eyes. Now is an excellent time to travel before it is forever changed by the inevitable throngs of Western tourists.