Located on the border between Europe and Asia, the Caucasus is named after the Caucasus Mountains and the Elbrus Mountain – the highest mountain in Europe. Visiting to the Caucasus, travelers will have many unique experiences of culture, cuisine and landscapes, especially in Azerbaijan and Georgia.
1. Azerbaijan – Land of Fire
Located in the south of the Caucasus of Eurasia and dubbed as “the Land of Fire”, Azerbaijan owns the world’s largest lake or flaming hills with flourishing oil industry. Baku – the capital and the largest city of Azerbaijan is compared to be like the second Dubai on the Caspian Sea of the Middle East. This site possesses the combination of the charm of a medieval city and modern city. Any corners of the city also grab the attention of tourists.
Old Baku Town owns many stone buildings with eye- catching decorative patterns. Situated in the center of Old Baku, Shirvan Shakh palace, built in the 15th centery, is identified as “one of the pearls of Azerbaijan architecture” by UNESCO. Along with Shirvan Shakh, Icheri Sheher Fortress, Maiden Tower, numerous mosques and saunas, ect create a long list of Baku’s heritage from the medieval period to the present.
New Baku- the new city of Baku with lots of skyscrapers attracts travelers dues to many interesting sites such as Flame Towers, Crystal Hall complex with sports and entertainment, The Heydar Aliyev Foundation’s cultural center, museums, exhibitions, shopping centers, parks, etc.
Besides, the local specialties should not be missed when visitors explore this land. Azerbaijani cuisine is the featured combination of its own cuisine and the cuisine from its neighboring countries but it still retains its uniqueness. Pilaf rice is rated as the top of Azerbaijani cuisine because of its eye- appealing look, attractive fragrance and unforgettable taste. This local specialty will bring an unforgettable impression in the hearts of travelers.
In Azerbaijan, barbecues are very popular. Chicken, veal, goat meat, quail meat, ect are chosen to make this dish. In particular, roast lamb is the most attractive dish that visitors should not miss out.
2. Georgia (Georgia) – The Land of Beauty
Sharing the same border with Azerbaijan, Georgia is one of the most poetic countries all over the world with countless green valleys stretching with the vineyards and ancient churches in the midst of the majestic mountains.
Georgians value beauty. Therefore, houses, costumes may not be new but they must be decent and the market for handicrafts is not too luxurious, but the stalls are decorated extremely delicate.
Tbilisi – The capital of Georgia owns countless ancient buildings such as the “Sambeba” church (symbol of the resurrection, the unity and immortality) located on the top of St.Ilya, Metekhi church, captivating travelers thanks to their magnificent paintings inside. Narikala – the ancient fortress with towering walls is also one of the famous tourist attractions of Georgia. Standing in this fortress, travelers can see the overview of Tbilisi city.
Besides its cultural and architectural heritage, Georgia is one of the world’s oldest wine producing areas with more than 8,000 years old. UNESCO records the Georgia’s traditional method of brewing wine as an intangible cultural heritage. Accordingly, Georgians would bury clay lavas (locally called Kveri), covered with wood lid and covered with soil, some of which could have been buried underground for 50 years.
Although this wine is less popular in Europe, Georgia wines are favored by high- ranking Russian leaders, in particular the red wine “Khvanchkara” is produced in the Racha mountainous area. Visiting this site, travelers will have the opportunity to taste a variety of wines made from the famous grape varieties around the world. The traditional Georgian dinner, also known as supra is often mentioned when it comes to wines. Supra is always held for parties with many guests, which tables are not used and people sit down on the ground when eating.
Moreovers, “khachapuri” – the Sulguni cheese toast and egg yolk; the khinkhali – the meat dumplings with the flavor of the juice or shashlik – grilled beef accompanied with coriander bean stew and so on are some other interesting dishes of Georgia cuisine.