Corona virus outbreak has affected everyone and everything. Even though, it taught us a great lesson – not to take little things for granted and to appreciate and respect each other – it just caused huge discomfort for everyone. People to protect each we have to stay isolated and this can cause a lot of anxiety and stress for everyone. Best way to solve this issue is to start planning where to travel, because if you are like me, travelling is the biggest stress relief for you. So let me help you with planning and tell you that you MUST start from Georgia! Here’s why:
Starting from the one of the highest mountains in Europe – Shkhara, continuing with Khazbegi Mountain, ending with the marvelous cave city Vardzia and Uplistshikhe – we have it all! Wonderful canyons like Martvili, Okatse and hidden villages like Tusheti, Svaneti, Shatili and Bakhmaro in mountains, vibrant seaside cities like Batumi, Kobuleti and Gonio, mysterious semi- deserts like David Gareji and Vashlovani, fruitful vineyards in the biggest region of Georgia – Kakheti, dense forests Borjomi-Kharagauli and Lagodekhi and mighty glaciers – All at once! What else you’ll need?!
If you still don’t know, let me tell you that Georgia is the cradle of wine! We’ve been making wine for about 8000 thousand years and we are also in Guinness world records for having the oldest wine. Our technique for making wine is not ordinary. Georgians use Kvevri (Huge clay jar that is places underground. Persistent temperature of the earth creates best place for wine to form and mature). We usually put grape with seeds and skin, mash it all together, put it in Kvevri and let the nature do its job. Because after grapes are in Kvevri, only thing we can do is to pray to get the good wine. It is like lottery, you never know what you’re going to get. The secret for having the best wine is the love that goes into the making process. Wine plays huge role in everyday life and also special celebrations. When you come here, definitely start your trip with stop at some wine shop and bar. Recommended wine from me is the amber kind and you can also try – White wine : Kisi or Rkatsiteli Red Wine: Saperavi or Ojaleshi because it’s unique in the whole world. You’ll thank me later.
Georgia is known for its delicious meat dumplings called – Khinkali (Vegetarians can also enjoy it with potato, cheese or mushroom filling). Everyone should try it but take in mind that there is special etiquette when it comes to eating Khinkali. It’s juicy and the whole point is not to spill that holy juice.
You should never ever eat Khinkali with fork and knife!
Note: Because if you do, know that some Georgian will die somewhere and that will be on your shoulders.
Khachapuri is really Georgia’s national treasure. It’s cheesy bread that is made in many different ways and shapes. The most famous one is Adjarain Khachapuri (boat-shaped khachapuri), which is from the seaside region called Adjara. Inspiration of the shape obviously came from all the boats and ships in the black sea. I also recommend definitely trying Imeruli Khachapuri, Megruli Khachapuri, Penovani Khachapuri and so many more.
But if you think our cuisine is only Khinkali and Khachapuri, then you are wrong. We have a lot more delicious dishes like: Pkhali (chopped and minced vegetables), Fried Eggplants with Walnat, Cucumber and Tomato Salad With Walnuts, Shkmeruli (Fried chicken with garlic sauce and cream), Ojakhuri (Fried Pork with Potato), Tashmijab and sweeties like: Churchkhela (Grape juice with flour and walnuts) dry fruits and so on… To try most of those dishes you can participate in our delicious tour Tbilisi Food Tour
If you want to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, unique spices, meat and many other things, you should definitely visit Tbilisi’s bazaars/markets. Sometimes they can be chaotic and jungle-like, but they will for sure attract you with delicious smells, beautiful colors, interesting people and wide smiles. The most famous bazaar in Tbilisi (the capital city) is Dezerter.
One more interesting destination is Tbilisi Flea market located on the dry bridge. It’s an open air market, where you’ll find things you never knew excised before. You’ll see antique vases, tableware, Soviet-era memorabilia, vintage jewelry, coins, hand-made carpets, old maps and books and so much more.
Georgian people are always the reason why tourists love this place so much. Locals believe that a guest is the gift from god and need to treat them like royalty. They will treat you with delicious food and wine. They might not even let you leave them without any food on the way. So expect a lot of generosity and hospitability in my country!
Tbilisi is the capital city of Georgia and it is known for the diversity of cultures, religion and people. This is the place where you will meet people with different beliefs and values coexist peacefully. You will see orthodox, catholic and apostolic churches, synagogues and mosques.
In Tbilisi you will notice interesting combination of old and modern buildings. You’ll find buildings that date back to 6th century and also ones that were built in last month next to each other. Great example of that is The Peace Bridge (known as Glass Bridge) that connects old and new Tbilisi. I definitely advise you to visit it, because it gets you to a beautiful Rike park.
Tbilisi nightlife is something we are proud of. If you are a night owl and like going in clubs and cafes to get wasted or meet new people, Tbilisi offers you array of places for that. The most famous nightclub is Bassiani, which is located under the national football stadium.
Also you can check Khidi, Drama bar, Dedaena bar, Café Gallery club and so many more!
If you are on low budget, don’t worry, Georgia is super affordable! Transportation in cities and in-between regions is very practical. Food and lodging are also economical.
These are some of the reasons why you should visit my wonderful country Georgia after pandemic ends. You’ll discover many other reasons yourself.
Now only thing you have to do is to wait for your first salary after quarantine and start planning travelling to Georgia.
I recommend joining our incredible group on Tbilisi Free Walking Tours! Know that the door of our country is always open for you!
Author: Anano Ghibradze (Guide)
Photo Credits: Levan Giorgadze