Situated in the mighty Caucasus Mountains on a narrow bridge of land between the Black and Caspian Seas, this ancient country is dubbed the land of the ‘golden fleece’, from the Greek legend of Jason and his Argonauts, who allegedly gallantly sallied forth across the Black Sea in their quest to find it. Few small countries can boast such a distinct culture and richness of natural and man-made wonders as Georgia.
Many empires and cultures have left their stamp on the country, as it occupies a unique geopolitical space betwixt Europe and Asia, belonging neither fully to the east nor to the west. For much of the twentieth century it was firmly in the grip of communism, hidden away behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ and virtually unknown to westerners. Its isolation finally ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union, its subsequent independence in 1991, and the bloodless Rose Revolution of 2003 which set it firmly on a pro-Western trajectory. Today, it is opening up to tourism and offers a truly superlative travel experience.
From semi-arid plains, forests and high mountain scenery with stunning lakes, rivers and jagged glaciers framed by postcard-perfect alpine meadows in summer, Georgia also has a wealth of built-heritage. This includes highly photogenic monasteries, churches, fortresses, mountain villages, the capital, Tbilisi, with its mix of ancient and modern architecture, and most famously, the medieval koshki (stone towers) of the Upper Svaneti region, part of which is now a World Heritage Site. Georgia is a relatively undiscovered photographer’s paradise.