Discovering Georgia - our top 7
Once part of Soviet Russia, Georgia is fast becoming a top place to visit - with beautiful scenery, rich history, charming towns and friendly people, it’s easy to see why. This is our list of top 7 must-see attractions.
The capital of Georgia is a picturesque city, with an interesting mix of the ancient and modern to explore. The new ‘Bridge of Peace’, which connects the old town to the new part is an eye catching glass footbridge.
The history here is astounding and there are some stunning churches to visit, as well as castles and museums. The cobbled streets of the old town take you back centuries and you can explore the shops and cafe culture. You also might like to take in the theatre, opera and jazz in this buzzing place. Don’t forget to take a trip in the cable car to Narikala Fortress, with beautiful panoramic views of the city below.
2. The food & wine
Did you know that the wine in Georgia is ranked as some of the finest on the planet? Winemaking dates back about 7,000 years and they have had time to perfect the craft! Make sure you head to the wine shops in the capital Tbilisi and if you have longer visit Kakheti, which is where the most famous Georgian vineyards are located.
Foodies will love it here too. The local specialities in Georgia are a mix of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours, including pomegranates, olive oil, spices and cheese. Churchkhelas (pictured above) are a delicious local sweet treat that you must try. They look like sausages when dry but are actually made of walnut halves, held together on a string, and dipped in thick grape juice. Also Khinkali (a type of dumpling) is particularly yummy and the trick is to eat it without getting the juices everywhere.
3. Mount Kazbegi
In the north, near the border with Russia, is the beautiful Caucasus mountain range, which includes Mount Kazbegi, the third highest mountain in Georgia. There are some great trekking opportunities for intrepid explorers and you can hire a guide to get to the top. There are also some amazing forests to explore in Georgia if you do like the outdoors.
While you are in the area, visit the town of Kazbegi, which offers breathtaking views of the mountains. Make sure you visit the Holy Trinity Church, also known as Gergeti Trinity Church, which is one of the most remote churches in the world (silhouetted against the mountain in the photo above).
For any history buffs out there the Joseph Stalin Museum in Gori, where he was born, has some unique memorabilia. The most fascinating parts are actually outside in the grounds, including his house, statue and even one of his railway carriages.
Literally translated as ‘the lord’s fortress’, this ancient town is in Eastern Georgia, only 10 kilometres away from Gori. The town is one of the oldest in the country and is amazing because it is completely carved out of the rocks. Some of the structures here date back to the Iron Age so are very rare indeed.
6. Vardzia Cave Monastery
In Southern Georgia is a vast cave system, constructed in the 12th century into the side of Erusheli Mountain. The cave monastery built here has always been an important religious centre for Christianity in Eastern Europe. The area is now a state heritage site and interestingly services are still held inside.
7. Sighnaghi Village
This popular tourist spot is in the Eastern part of Georgia, in Kakheti, and has a tiny population of only 2146 residents. This is a great winemaking region and the landmarks, traditional lifestyle and historical sites of the village are a really pull for visitors. Make sure you try Mwvadi before you leave, a local barbequed meat dish.
For more information on Georgia please go to www.georgia.travel.