Traveling the Caucasus
The Caucasus are a fascinating and diverse part of the world, little explored by Western travellers. Situated between the south of Russia, the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea and the Middle East, there are some areas that are true gems and well worth a visit.
Made up of 3 countries and a number of disputed territories, the Caucasus are a fascinating and culturally diverse destination.
Their position on the edge of Europe makes them a mixing pot of East and West and an intersection of Islamic and Christian cultures. Their one time status as part of the Soviet Union has left a captivating and unique historic legacy. Few places can boast of such a varied and fascinating cultural milieu. With Azerbaijan in the East, Armenia in the West and Georgia in the North, the Caucasus are a place that everyone should try and visit.
Before you set off on your travels, it is always worth thoroughly researching important logistics, such as how to send money to Canada or your homeland, and vice versa, as there may come an emergency where you (or a loved one abroad) are in need of cash and don’t have time to waste.
Something to keep in mind, as you are more vulnerable when you’re somewhere unfamiliar, as well as being in need of funds to get from A to B. It is not something you want to be worrying about when you are many miles away from what you are used to.
Now, here’s what to consider when visiting the unexplored world…
Tbilisi is a city like no other. The Georgian capital is a destination high on the list of travellers the world over and it is not difficult to see why. With stunning architecture, a rich history and exquisite cuisine, Tbilisi has everything that a person could ask for.
Georgian food is little known in other parts of the world, but is incredibly unique and very tasty. Georgian wine is similarly underrated and well worth a try! Georgians themselves are very friendly and noted for their exceptional hospitality.
This break away Georgian region has a tumultuous and difficult history. Technically still a part of the Georgian state, its independence is recognised by only a handful of countries. Obtaining a visa is a difficult endeavour, but whoever manages to get one is in for a treat.
The area is resplendent with beautiful nature and access to the balmy Black Sea. A hidden gem.
Azerbaijan is the most populous of the Caucasus nations with around 10 million people, and the country’s capital represents the great extent of the nation’s fascinating culture and history. Its medieval walled city is a true wonder and a good example of the long history of the region.
The Flame Towers, 3 towers covered in LED screens, are a more modern example of the city’s impressive architecture.
The Armenian capital Yerevan is an amazing place to visit. Armenians are incredibly proud of their culture, and nowhere is this more apparent that in Yerevan. The city is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited urban conurbations and has a wealth of history to discover. Republic Square in the city’s core has a wealth of impressive architecture and awe-inspiring fountains.
The History Museum of Armenia is the place to go to learn about the ancient Armenian culture.
All in all, there is so much to see and do in the region of the Caucasus between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea. Often with less tourism than your typical holiday spots (although, since the 90s these areas have been seeing a larger increase in tourists), you can enjoy a more traditional trip where you can really immerse yourself in the culture.
From ancient churches, beautiful landscapes, diverse civilisations, intriguing delicacies and the highest peak in Europe (Mount Elbrus in Russia), there is so much to explore and soak in. We would recommend getting over there before the unexplored world becomes overly explored, like so many once untouched, tranquil areas of the world have now become, with the acute rise in the travel sector.
Though, there is still so much to enjoy and learn, and going to these lesser known countries is a great way to delve into a journey of discovery. Enjoy!