08:45 â[email protected]¢ 28.11.14

By Anne Sewell

The Caucasus consists of three countries, speaking three different
languages, and offering a fascinating vacation at the cultural
crossroads of Europe and Asia. While each country borders on the other,
they could not be more different, but each offers a delicious cuisine,
interesting history and a friendly welcome.

This area has been considered a cultural crossroads for a long time
and the Caucasus has been influenced by many nations and religions
over the years. The results of this influence can be seen in the many
religious sites throughout the Caucasus, as well as the extensive
history of the region.

The three Transcaucasian countries occupy a strip of mountainous land,
situated between the Black and the Caspian Seas, and with the Caucasus
Mountains offering stunningly beautiful (and often snow-capped) views.

All of Armenia is located in the South Caucasus. Azerbaijan and Georgia
(excluding their northern regions) are both located in the same region.

A brief tour of Armenia must include a visit to the cosmopolitan
capital, Yerevan. While this land-locked country might still have
touches from the previous Soviet era, the capital city offers an almost
Mediterranean feel, but with a café culture, shopping and dining
experience quite unlike anywhere else. For those in a shopping mood,
Yerevan offers a weekend flea market, with many beautiful objects on
sale, including carpets, art work, obsidian chess sets and hand-made

Armenia was the first country in the world to adopt Christianity
as the state religion, and the cities and countryside offer many
fine examples of temples, monasteries and churches, nestled in the
spectacular landscape, including the beautiful Monastery of Tatev,
pictured below.

The second of the three countries, located at a cultural crossroads
in the Caucasus mountains, is Azerbaijan. A fascinating vacation
destination, Azerbaijan is situated right at the crossroads of Western
Asia and Eastern Europe. The country is bounded by Russia to the north,
Iran to the South, the Caspian Sea to the east and Armenia to the west.

A country of historic and ancient cultural heritage, Azerbaijan
offers much in the fields of architecture, literature, music and
the visual arts. The country has the distinction of being the first
Muslim-majority country to offer modern universities, operas and

There is evidence that human settlement in Azerbaijan dates back to
the late Stone Age with ancient structures and carvings dating back
to the distant past, including the caves of Damcılı, Tagılar, Zar,
Yataq-yeri and the necropolises of Leylatepe and Saraytepe.

Other fascinating and ancient rock carvings can be seen in the National
Park Gobustan, where the petroglyphs pictured below date back to
10,000 BC. This area of the country has been declared a UNESCO World
Heritage Site and is considered to be of "outstanding universal value".

The capital of Azerbaijan is Baku, a mixture of both historic and
modern and a fascinating city to visit. In Icheri Sheher, one the
older areas of the city, winding alleyways take a visitor through
the medieval walled city and its historic palace, mosques and the
12th century Maiden's Tower. The newer part of Baku offers a stroll
past the impressive mansions, built by the oil barons during a boom
between 1870 and 1914 and the impressive Martyr's Alley, a memory to
the fallen heroes of Azerbaijan, rising up over the Bay of Baku.

The third Caucasian country is Georgia, bounded to the north by Russia,
to the south by Armenia and Turkey, to the southeast by Azerbaijan
and to the west by the Black Sea. The photo included at the top of
this article is taken in the Georgian mountains.


From: Baghdasarian