The Observer

Published in Georgia - Social interactions and entertainment - 12 months ago - 1

Unmatched in its mountain scenery, undeterred by its tumultuous past, the nation of Georgia is now seriously on the up, attracting travelers from both Europe and Asia (continents it straddles neatly on the Caucasus Mountains) and touting everything from the snow-tipped peaks of Svaneti to shimmering beaches on the Black Sea. Here, we take a look at the spots every visitor to Georgia should be sure to have on their bucket list. Enjoy.


1. Tusheti National Park
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Cascading down the northern edges of the Greater Caucasus Mountains, right on the cusp of Russia and Chechnya, the Tusheti National Park is the historic home of the eponymous Tush peoples. It’s also breathtaking in the extreme; big on relief and made up largely of soaring peaks and grass-clad hills. There are few roads in sight, and the villages that can be found nestled amidst the misty mountaintops are historic, brick-built affairs like Dartlo, which can be seen protruding almost organically from the Georgian lands, encompassed in rural sheep farms (the region is particularly famous for its wool and cheeses) and swathes of spruce forests to boot.


2. Tbilisi
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The great up-and-coming capital of this up-and-coming country, Tbilisi is the nerve centre of Georgia’s drive towards modernity. It’s also a town steeped in history, making it a great place to explore the republic’s fine balance of the old and the new. The city sprawls out along the ridges that bubble about the banks of the Mtkvari River. The district of Old Tbilisi forms its heart; a medley of mysterious Byzantine churches, timber balconies and the occasional piece of striking modern art (check out Sioni Street). Above, draped over the hills, the mighty precipices, cathedral tops and bulwarks of Narikala stand firm, while well-to-do Vake district babbles with public fountains and pretty parks.


3. Borjomi
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While Borjomi may still be best known as the source of its namesake mineral water – a salty, uber-frizzante concoction that was beloved by Georgia’s onetime Soviet masters – the city of today has plenty more to offer than just its sulphuric, volcanic springs. For one, the setting is magnificent, with the town plugged neatly between the ridges of the Borjomi Gorge. Then there’s the elegant faces of Russian imperial architecture, painted in pretty yellows an ochres and abutting neatly up to the fountains and grassy lawns of the city park. What’s more, the mysterious Green Monastery lurks just on the edge of town, encompassed by primeval forests and oozing with dark tales of monkish massacres from the Middle Ages.


4. Vardzia
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Cut and carved meticulously into the sandy rock faces that rise like phalanxes against the meanders of the Mtkvari River in the deep Georgian south, Vardzia remains without question one of the most dramatic sights to behold in the country. It’s estimated that the various tiers of monolith churches, caves and shrines seen here were inhabited from at least the middle of the 12th century, when the dynatstic kings of the Bagrationi are thought to have commissioned the first constructions on the sheer-cut edge of Mount Erusheti. The real must-see, however, remains the glorious Church of the Dormition; a rock-carved shrine which displays an enthralling montage of murals and iconostasis that fuse Oriental, Byzantine and Romanesque styles alike.


5. Mtskheta
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Situated just a short ride out of the capital of Tbilisi, UNESCO-attested Mtskheta clutches the low-lying banks of the Aragvi River confluence. Hailed for its countless Christian sites and importance as one of the nerve centres of the Georgian Orthodox Church, the town draws huge crowds throughout the year. They come to see the beautiful rises and magnificent frescoes of the great Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, which stands as one of the finest examples of medieval Georgian religious architecture and a revered pilgrimage site for Georgians right across the country, or the Jvari Monastery on the hill, soaring high above Mtskheta – a curious mix of tetraconch architecture, Hellenistic, Byzantine and Georgian styles hidden between its apses.




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Comments (1)

hopefully turks won t attack you again like in the last game