Trip Tips: Georgia's Caucasian charm lures hikers and hipsters
By Michelle Moghtader
TBILISI (Reuters) - A history spanning centuries and civilizations, churches perched atop green mountains and inexpensive food and wine are just a few of the draws of the small Caucasian country of Georgia.
Nestled between Russia, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Georgia has emerged from years of conflict to become the go-to travel destination in the Caucasus.
This land served as a battleground under the rule of Persians, Arabs, Mongols and Soviets until it declared independence in 1991. That was followed by years of civil war and economic hardship until the Rose Revolution of 2003, when peaceful protests ousted then-president Eduard Shevardnadze.
The country was rocked by a brief invasion by Russia in 2008 over disputed territory, and tensions still simmer.
Today Georgia draws tourists from neighboring countries, its Black Sea coast especially popular with visitors from Armenia and Azerbaijan and its mountain resorts frequented by tourists from former Soviet republics and Europe.
The nation of 4.5 million people has maintained its own identity, set apart by the autonomous Georgian Orthodox Church, as well as a distinct language. Continued...