Vardzia - the monastery dating back to the twelfth century AD, located on the banks of the river Mtkvari is one of the most important historical sites in Georgia. Similar to the cave towns that can be found in Goreme region, Turkey, however this one is even bigger, carved out of the entire wall of the cliff, with beautifully decorated church. The location, in the middle of a huge gorge, offers unforgettable views. Until this day, some monks still live in those caves.
It's unbelievable how diverse Armenia is, how astonishing the landscapes are and how many attractions are packed within such a small territory. From the amazing view of snow covered Mount Ararat, through gorges, canyons and sandstone formations to the ancient temples and monasteries carved into the walls of the cliffs. Even driving through Armenia is an attraction in itself. It's a great experience to discover something new, a country that is not visited by crowds of tourist and where a foreigner is still a rare sight.
I bet most of you don't know or have never heard about the country of Georgia (not to be confused with one of the states in the US), let alone its capital city - Tbilisi. Caucasus remains a rare destination for visitors from the west, except those more adventurous. However, if you do decide to visit the region, you will be surprised by its beauty and history.
Yerevan, the capital of Armenia is called "The pink city" because of the color of the stone used for building. Indeed, while driving through Armenian countryside you can easily spot that the houses along the way blend into the pinkish hills. Yerevan is a great example of the architecture from the Soviet Times. The buildings are concrete, heavy, and massive, streets are wide and the center city square is very spacious. After the world wars, the city of Yerevan was supposed to become 'a perfect city', designed by the architect Alexander Tamanyan. Yerevan is completely different than the neighboring capital of Georgia - Tbilisi that has medieval charm and wooden architecture with distinctive balconies leaning out over the cliffs. It' good to visit the two cities one after another, this way you will be able to experience the clash of two different eras even more.
The region of Caucasus is not large if the area is taken into consideration. However, it is extremely rich in culture and history which is concentrated in this relatively small piece of land. Besides Georgia, Armenia is an excellent proof to demonstrate it. Although so close to each other, (journey from Tbilisi in Georgia to Yerevan in Armenia takes only a few hours) those two countries are completely dissimilar. They have distinctly different languages with their own alphabets dating back to antiquity. So, if you like the ancient times and history, this is one of the reasons why you should visit Armenia.
Sometimes life is unfair and we are unlucky. The same thing could be said about the Caucasus region which has just about anything to become another great tourist destination, however it is so little known in the world. Such diversity of landscapes and architecture packed in such a small area is usually not very common. The country of Georgia with its cities Tbilisi and Batumi seems to be the perfect example. These cities are so close to each other but they are completely different.
Caucasus region is still rarely visited by tourists and backpackers. Maybe this is what makes it special, it's a place that is easily accessible, not far from Europe but seems very different and full of surprises wherever you go - it was the most surprising and nicest airport welcome I have ever encountered while entering a new country.
Georgia is a country which can boast very rich (and difficult) history, breathtaking landscapes and really original cities. This little country, located right in the center among the biggest powers on earth, has always been invaded from all directions. Few people in the West know about it. When you say "Georgia", they think you are talking about the state in the US. And those who know probably wouldn't visit it either. This is apparently because of the media coverage showing only war and poverty. But the war is over now, let's leave the politics aside and have a look at this forgotten place, a hidden jewel located on the crossroads between Europe and Asia.