The Many Lives of Hagia Sophia

The Hagia Sophia has a history like no other building.


hagia sophia



The Caucasian Challenge begins in magnificent Istanbul, and before we head east to the Caucasus, there is time to explore this incredible city. There’s a lot to see and do, but nothing is quite as essential as a visit to Hagia Sophia, which for over a millennium was the world’s largest cathedral, and is now a national landmark. The history of Hagia Sophia — church, mosque, and now museum — is inextricably linked with that of Istanbul itself.


Georgian Wine Officially the Oldest in the World

Georgia has been making wine for 8,000 years.



Georgians, even their brutal dictators, love wine and any visitor will likely be regaled with stories about how Georgians, or their ancestors, invented wine. We on the Caucasian Challenge, despite loving the hospitality we receive there each year, always took those claims with a pinch of salt. It turns out, however, that we were wrong to doubt: this week academics have found evidence confirming that wine-making took place in Georgia an incredible 8,000 years ago.



The Cascade: the Symbol of Yerevan

Why we love Yerevan’s Cascade.


cascade yerevan

Credit: Benoît Prieur (Agamitsudo) – CC-BY-SA


It’s hard to describe exactly what it is, but the Cascade is certainly one of the most memorable sights Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, the final city of Caucasian Challenge minimal assistance adventure rally. For a place to socialise on hot summer nights, for views over the city and all the way to Ararat, and for an eclectic collection of modern art, the Cascade is without comparison. Don’t worry about the hundreds of steps, though, there are escalators inside!



Georgia Chosen for “Best in Travel” 2018

Inclusion in Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel” list is highly sought after.


ushguli highest village in europe

Photo by Dito1993


Every year Lonely Planet, the publishers of the world’s most popular travel guidebooks, release a new “Best in Travel” guide. Comprised of top 10 selections of the best countries, cities, regions, and “best value” destinations, budding travelers across the world take the guide very seriously indeed. And the 2018 guide brought great news for the Travel Scientists, as one of our all-time favourites places, Georgia (which we visit on the Caucasian Challenge) made the list of Best Countries!



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.

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