Tides of East and West, old and new, continue to buffer the country, and each time they leave, the country emerges, intact, but with a new flavor added to it. The Persian, Byzantine, Ottoman, Russian and Soviet empires have all left their mark, and the result is a country rich in culture, nature and history that you'll fall in love with. Here are eleven reasons why.
Trekking in Georgia
The countryside is largely untouched thanks to an international tourism industry that is still largely in its infancy. The scenery comprises rugged mountains, lush meadows and traditional rural villages. Those looking for a thrill can appreciate the countryside through a whole heap of outdoor sports, including horse riding, caving (the country boasts the deepest cave on Earth, as well as the highest peak in Europe) and para gliding. However, be careful as not all of Georgia's rich wildlife is friendly - there are bears around!
The UNESCO World Heritage site is a stunning mountain wilderness still echoing with stories of murderous blood feuds and sprinkled with Soviet relics and ancient stone outposts. Explore the tiny villages with churches that boast intricate frescoes dating back a 1,000 years. The province was only supplied with transport links in 2000, and so it's been changed very little by tourism. There are even traces of the Georgian animalist religion in the form of stone shrines adorned with the horns of sacrificed sheep.
Translated as "the Lord's fortress", this is another town swathed in an interesting and tumultuous history. It is a massive cave city, hewn into the high rocky left bank of the Mtkvari River. Just like the rest of the country, it has seen foreign empires come and go, and has changed from the residence of the Christian Kings of Kartli to the Mongols' punching bag.
Ninety per cent of the population prefers this national dish to pizza. And they're quite right, it's delicious. Yeast-dough is formed into a kind of boat shape, which is stuffed with suluguni, a cheese with the texture of mozzarella and tang of goat's cheese, with an egg yolk and a knob of butter chucked in for good measure!
A subtropical climate and backdrop of lofty mountains perfectly complements Batumi's Black Sea beaches. Batumi botanic garden is filled with bamboo forests and other flora beneath soaring sequoia trees. Local film, philosophy and music are hosted in the town's arthouse café, Conte. And if all that wasn't enough it is also the birthplace of good old, and extra cheesy, Khachapuri!