Monasteries and Wine
Leaving the city lights behind, there are adventures to be had around the mountains and rivers of Georgia.
But first – wine! Not many people know that Georgia was the birthplace of wine and at famed wine estate Tsinandali the vines have been cultivated for centuries – and you can taste a variety of wines including Saperavi and Rkatsiteli.
The fertile plains of the central Kartli province reveal Uplistsikhe – an ancient rock-hewn town and monastery embedded in a network of caves. It has religious significance dating as far back as 645 AD, housing Kartlis, Arabs and Christian kings along the way and at one point 20,000 people lived here. Marvel at this archaeological feat and soak up the views that stretch for hundreds of miles.
The ever-present Caucasus Mountains that run from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea deserve further explorations. You can reach them by travelling along the Georgian Military Highway – one of the Caucasus’ most spectacular journeys, on a road that snakes through hilltops reaching a high of 2,000 metres.
You’ll discover a scenery not unlike the Himalayas, and this snow-capped panorama will accompany you all the way to Stepantsminda. Here mountain adventures await. Hike to picturesque churches that are cradled in the grasp of icy mountains or take a steep climb to the Chaukhi Massif which will give you an awe-inspiring vista of its seven peaks. The mountains are the place to experience typical Georgian hospitality with an opportunity to learn about its cuisine.
A hands-on lunch could see you creating dishes that are thousands of years old including khachapuri, a rich cheese-filled bread, and khinkali (meat-filled dumplings). On your way back to Tbilisi, stop at the Ananuri Fortress, a turreted fairy-tale castle that sits above the jade-hued River Aragvi. This arresting sight, alongside many others, will stay with you long after you leave Georgia.
Georgia Hot Destination 2020
Little-visited with a fledgling tourist industry, Georgia is a small country that makes a surprisingly big impression.
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