National Geographic: ‘Off the beaten track in Georgia’

Ushguli is one of four villages that make up the Upper Svaneti UNESCO World Heritage Site. Remote and well-preserved, buildings in these villages date to the 12th century. Photo: Aaron Huey., Oct 22, 2019, Tbilisi, Georgia

 There is no place on earth like Georgia, reads the beginning of a story released by National Geographic by writer Aaron Huey, with breathtaking photos of the country taken by the author.

The country’s 18,000-foot mountain peaks, ancient wine country, Black Sea Coast, stunning cathedrals and simple monasteries, and a tradition of feasting, singing, and dancing, have brought me back time and time again over the past two decades. Not to mention they have wine flavored ice cream outside their churches!” says Huey.

He says that “Georgia still has a wildness not yet smothered by large crowds of tourists,” and it is still possible to feel like you’ve stepped through time here when walking through mountain villages, like those made up of dozens of 13th century stone towers in places like Svaneti.

The story reads that the landscapes of Georgia are so geographically diverse that within that same day you can find yourself in places like Vashlovani, where you can wander the deserts and badlands looking for hawks, and if you are extremely lucky you may even see a Eurasian lynx or wolves crossing the open plains, or silhouetted on the ridgelines of those far flung eastern lands.

Huey says that many do not know this, but Georgia is considered the birthplace of wine.

The word ‘vino’ comes from the Georgian gvino, which has been made in the southern Caucasus in underground earthenware containers called qvevris since 6000 BC.”

The author tells the story of Georgia’s capital Tbilisi, “which has always been a cultural crossroads, home to those of varied religious, and ethnic, backgrounds.”

See the full story here.