Unexpected Georgia

Georgia on your mind -  but it's not that Georgia!

This fascinating journey to the heart of the Caucasus offers a taste of old world Eastern European charm. Former Soviet Republics, Georgia and Armenia are warm and inviting, each with a rich cultural heritage of music, art, poetry and dance as well as a wealth of Orthodox Christian churches, cathedrals and monasteries. 

Georgian home cooking

For authentic Georgian cuisine, try Barbarestan in Tbilisi. Small, delightfully family-run and housed in an old butcher shop, the menu is designed around dishes from a famous 100-year-old cook book written by Princess Barbare Jorjadze, Georgia’s first feminist and 19th century chef.

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Pagan surprise

One of Armenia’s most unexpected highlights is the dramatically situated Garni Temple, an extraordinary pagan structure and symbol of pre-Christian Armenia built around 77 A.D. as a summer residence for the then empress. It is said that Emperor Nero contributed funds to its construction and it is the only Greco-Roman colonnaded building in the country.

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Church with a view

One of the most spectacularly situated churches anywhere, the 14th century Gergeti Holy Trinity perches high on a hill overlooking the town of Kazbegi. Get there via a bumpy road from the valley floor in a 4WD or, for the more energetic, on foot. It’s a compact place of worship but has a fascinating history and the views are unbeatable.

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For the cellar

Visitors can’t leave the region without a few bottles of Georgian wine. Traditionally made in the qvevri clay pots which are buried underground, the wines develop rustic, earthy flavours. A  favourite is a 2015 Pheasant’s Tears Chinuri, a crisp white that goes perfectly with seafood.

Why not go and see for yourself?

In many places, travellers will experience an unspoiled medieval feel while the major cities are vibrant with a newfound buzz. The landscapes are breathtaking with jagged alpine peaks, isolated rural communities, vineyards and orchards and above all incredibly hospitable people.

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