The Best Book on the History of the Caucasus

Learn about the Caucasus before you visit.


essential places to go in georgia

Photo by Scoundrelgeo


The Caucasian Challenge can be a whirlwind, as incredible roads, breathtaking scenery, and welcoming hospitality all compete for your attention. We only visit the South Caucasus, but even this small region is home to many languages, diverse cultures, and rich histories. So, it can be a good idea to learn a little history before you arrive. And we know the perfect book.

Are The Caucasus in Europe?

We love them, but we still don’t know for sure whether the Caucasus are in Europe or Asia.


are the caucasus in europe

Photo via Creative Commons 


The Caucasian Challenge departs from Istanbul (in Europe, not in the Caucasus), before heading west across Northern Turkey (not in Europe, not in the Caucasus), reaching Georgia (maybe in Europe, definitely in the Caucasus) and Armenia (ditto). Can it be possible that for two days we are East of Europe, but driving further East… towards Europe?


Stalin’s Favourite Wine

Stalin had good taste in wine, it seems.



Georgia claims to have invented wine, and artifacts do show evidence of wine production for at least 8,000 years. As we travel through the country on the Caucasian Challenge, though, you may notice that when marketing wine Georgians often rely on somewhat more recent history. Two semi-sweet reds, Khvanchkara and Kindzmarauli, vie for the status of Stalin’s supposed favourite.


The Amazing History of Georgia… On Film

Watch Salt for Svanetia, and learn a little more about this amazing country.



Each year on the Caucasian Challenge minimal assistance rally, one of the most beautiful locations we visit is Ushguli, the highest village in Georgia. In the mountains of the picturesque Svaneti region, and cut-off from the rest of civilization for many months each winter, the village was the setting for the 1930 silent movie Salt for Svanetia, which told the story of the local population and their traditions. It’s a fascinating artifact for anybody interested in Georgia.


Why We Love Churchkhela

Is there a more delicious Georgian treat than churchkhela?



When first time visitors to Georgia travel with us on the Caucasian Challenge, we are often asked about brightly coloured “sausages”, seen on roadsides all over the country. They are churchkhela, one of Georgia’s many hidden culinary gems. And they taste even better than they look.


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