Georgia is the beating heart of The Caucasus. Boasting 8,000 years of winemaking, a kaleidoscope of history, breathtaking scenery and one of the world’s most unique cuisines, there truly is something for everyone. Straddling the Europe/Asia border, the country is neither European nor Asian, but somewhere in between. It’s a melting pot that all will enjoy. Here’s why you should visit Georgia.
Cradle Of Wine Making
Arguably one of the best things about the small but mighty country is its wine. Georgians have had over 8,000 years to perfect their winemaking skills and thanks to this, have produced some of the world’s most unique and delicious wines. From Kakheti to Svaneti, you’ll find hundreds of small family vineyards that preserve the ancient Georgian techniques of winemaking such as qvevri and amber wine.
Because of this, viticulture is synonymous with Georgian identity, and that means no dinner, supra, family gathering or party is complete without at least a few gallons of homemade Saperavi and Rkatsiteli. Clink a few glasses with the phrase ‘Saqartvelos Gaumarjos’ meaning ‘To Georgia.’
While the Soviet Union still casts a dark shadow over the country, Georgia’s history is so much more than that. The nation was known for ancient links to the Colchis and Iberia Kingdoms and thriving old-world civilization long before Gori gave birth to Stalin.Just meander through Tbilisi’s old narrow streets, and you’ll see the centuries-long influence of Persians, Russians and Turks that only add to the curiosity of the charming capital.
Take a stroll up Mtatsminda to the ruined 4th Century Narikala Fortress once occupied by Persians, observe the sombre Soviet exhibit at the State Museum or indulge in Mongolian inspired Khinkali at one of the cities many eateries. You’ll also find that there is no shortage of UNESCO sites from Svaneti’s forgotten villages to the old capital of Mtskheta.
Outside Tbilisi, you’ll find even more exciting bits of history. On the outskirts of Gori, lies one of the most import pre-Christian settlements in the country – Uplistsikhe. Dating back to the 7th century, this strange and wonderful cave town has much to explore. Smack dab in the middle of the Silk Road route passing through Georgia; it’s no wonder Uplistsikhe played such a pivotal role in not just the country’s development, but Eastern Europe as a whole.
One vital tip we can give when visiting Georgia? Pack loose pants and come ready to eat. Georgia is home to some of the world’s most unique, flavourful and ancient cuisines. With influence from Slavic, Persian and Mediterranean food, you won’t find another cuisine like it on the planet. The Georgian table is full of savoury comfort foods like hearty spiced meats, unique stews, ancient wines, and more.
Eat your fill of khachapuri, a cheesy-bread dish hailing from the Adjara region. Slurp juices from khinkali packed with minced meat and herbs. Treat yourself to a warm clay bowl of lobio or feast on perfectly spiced kharcho. One thing’s for sure… You won’t leave hungry.
Georgians are a proud, happy and welcoming people and thanks to this, you’ll never be short a friend. They are famous for their hospitality and warm nature toward tourists. Locals believe every guest is a gift from God. and this is no wonder considering Georgians are more than happy to stuff you with their homemade wines, foods and show you around the country. Get ready for a chipper escort to your destination if you ask for directions. And an invite to someone’s home if you ask where to find the best glass of wine.
What Georgia lacks in size, it makes up for tenfold with natural beauty. Here you can take a dip in the black sea, wander through a wildflower meadow, go skiing and hike a mountain all in the same day. Thanks to its unique location in the Caucasus Mountains, there is always something new to explore. The nation is also home to Europe’s highest village – Ushguli. This secluded and isolated Svanetian mountain village is known for it’s ruined medieval towers and uniquely preserved culture.
Georgia was one of the world’s first countries to adopt Christianity. Thanks to this, the country is chockfull of ancient monasteries and picturesque mountain churches. You’ll find jawdropping Orthodox churches all over the country such as Kazbegi’s famous Gergeti Trinity Church and Sioni’s 7th century Atenis.
The architecture in Georgia is the perfect blend of old and new. There is much to explore from Tbilisi’s colourful balconies, centuries-old Orthodox churches, and imaginative Soviet structures. Take Batumi’s futuristic skyscrapers just a hop away from the cities Roman ruins or head for Tbilisi’s Bridge of Peace flanked by the ancient Narikala Fortress.
Lastly, the Georgian language or ‘Kartuli’ is truly in a league of its own. Traced back to the 1st century, the ancient script exclusive to Kartuli consists of single case letters. Not only is it ancient, the language is extremely isolated. There’s only 4 million speakers globally! However, while the language is small, it doesn’t stop Georgia’s spirit from shining through. Take the main greeting, ‘Gamarjoba’, this directly translates to ‘victory’ and is a testament to the countries long war history.