At the crossroads of Asia and Europe, nestled among dramatic mountains, lies the Caucasus. It might be an underrated destination at the moment, but the region's treasures won't be kept a secret for much longer. Head to the Caucasus for an unforgettable journey before it winds up on everyone's bucket list.
Where and what is the Caucasus?
The Caucasus refers to a region acting as a physical and cultural bridge between Asia and Europe, framed on the west side by the Black Sea and on the east side by the Caspian Sea. If Russia is conventionally considered to be part of the area, the three countries that are situated entirely within the Caucasus are Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.
These three underrated destinations at the heart of Eurasia flaunt a wealth of natural wonders, prized cultural attractions, and architectural gems that know no equal in the surrounding region. Hop on this virtual tour of the Caucasus, which will hopefully inspire you to book your tickets to see the real thing!
Start your journey seaside in Batumi
Seated on the shore of the Black Sea lies the delightful resort town of Batumi, Georgia, which is the perfect starting point to kick off your journey around the Caucasus. Boasting elegant 19th-century buildings in its Old Town, high-rise towers on the outskirts, and an ebullient, casino-filled waterfront, the town offers visitors a balanced blend of culture and leisure, authenticity and modernity.
Considered to be a center for both relaxation and architectural innovation, Batumi is an eclectic, joyful fusion of different sights and distinct ambiences. Noteworthy places include the luxuriant botanical garden, the effervescent Piazza Batumi square, and the neon-lit, convivial seaside boardwalk.
Discover Georgia's spiritual side
Heading inland, you'll stumble across the lovely Imereti region, which is notably home to two religious monuments of great beauty and importance, the Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery, which are thought of as one entity. Sitting on top of a grassy hill overlooking the quaint, riverside town of Kutaisi, the cathedral and monastery make for a charming trip back in time.
Dating from the 11th century, the cathedral is a jewel of medieval Georgian architecture. Its light grey facades and aquamarine domes contrast beautifully with the verdant, well-kept lawn surrounding the monument. The Gelati Monastery is a medieval monastic compound, whose simple, rustic exterior is balanced out by the intricate beauty of its interior. Adorned with colorful murals, gripping imagery, and gilded ornaments, the monastery's core is a masterpiece in itself. Both remnants of the Georgian Golden Age and listed together as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Cathedral are both unmissable stops on your Caucasus tour.
Immerse yourself in a fairy tale in Ananuri
The fortress complex of Ananuri is nestled among lush, rolling greenery, overlooking the peaceful Aragvi River. The historic riverside castle compound, which boasts breathtaking views of the surrounding wilderness and two quaint churches, is an absolute must-visit. But scenery isn't the only appeal of the fortress, which is also steeped in history by virtue of being the scene of many devastating battles over the course of the centuries.
Wander around the timeless Tbilisi
It's now time to discover Georgia's spirited, multifaceted capital. Sitting against the pristine backdrop of the craggy Mtkvari River valley rises the picturesque city of Tbilisi. If the Old Town still remains the most charming part of the city, with its colorful balconied houses, serpentine streets, and antiquated churches, Tbilisi is also beautified by the major modernization it is currently undergoing.
Stylish cafes, sleek museums, and lavish eateries have sprung up all over, adding to the city's versatility as it skillfully merges a village-like atmosphere with forward-looking aspirations. Noteworthy attractions include Narikala, the vestiges of a 4th-century fortress overlooking the city, the Holy Trinity Cathedral, the National Opera Theater, and the many lively markets whose overflowing stalls regularly take over Tbilisi's sinuous streets.