Have you been thinking about joining the teach abroad movement in Georgia, Asia? This friendly country – with its stunning natural scenery and rich historical legacy – is located to the east of the Black Sea, just the other side of Eastern Europe. If you’re considering making a move to this beautiful country, you should take a look at our top 10 things to do in Georgia, and you may just find yourself booking your TEFL course (and some plane tickets!)
As the capital of Georgia, Tbilisi offers a wealth of historic architecture, from museums, churches and cathedrals to ancient fortresses and overhanging balconies. Be sure to visit Old Tbilisi for its cobblestone streets, stunning old architectural relics, and numerous shops, cafes and restaurants. Narikala Fortress offers breathtaking views of the city, and it’s easily accessible by cable car or hiking.
2. Georgian cuisine
Eating out in Georgia can be a real pleasure, with cuisine combining former Soviet dishes with Mediterranean and Near-East ingredients such as olive oil, herbs, spices, lamb, yogurt, pomegranates and cheese. Just as the country is an intriguing blend of East meets West, so is its distinctive cuisine.
3. Georgian wine
Georgian wine is ranked as some of the best in the world; and given its long history of wine making (dating back to 8,000BC) this isn’t surprising! If you’ve only got a few days in Georgia, you’ll find numerous wine shops in the capital city of Tbilisi. Travellers with time to spare should visit Kakheti, which is home to some of the country’s most famous wineries.
4. Georgian military highway
A 200-kilometer road cuts through the Caucasus Mountains and runs from Tbilisi to Vladikavkaz in Russia. The Georgian Military Highway was constructed in the early 19th century by Russia, but the route itself has been used for thousands of years for trade and by invading armies; there are numerous historical sites and villages to explore along the way.
5. Mount. Kazbegi
The third highest mountain in Georgia, Mount Kazbegi boasts some pretty wild and remote terrain just begging to be explored – you’ll want a guide if you’re interested in heading on any serious adventures, though.
6. Tsminda Sameba
This 14th century Holy Trinity Church, also known as Gergeti Trinity Church, is one of the most isolated churches in the world. The church sits at an elevation of 2,170 meters on the bank of Chkheri River on Mount Kazbegi. The church, which is actually an active monastery, is a popular destination for travellers stopping for the view or to witness a prayer with the monks. At the base of the mountain, the tiny village of Kazbegi offers several starting points for hikes in the area.
7. Vardzia Cave Monastery
Vardzia is a massive cave complex that was carved into the side of Erusheli Mountain almost 1,000 years ago. The complex was initially constructed as a fortress, but it later became a monastery and an important spiritual centre for Eastern Europe Christianity. Today, monks still live within its caves, while services are still held occasionally in its stone church.
8. Bodbe Monastery
St Nino was a 4th-century evangelist who preached Christianity in Georgia, and her relics are enshrined in the Monastery of St. Nino at Bodbe, which now serves as a nunnery. It is one of Georgia’s major pilgrimage sites because of its association with St. Nino.
Known as The Fortress of the Lord, Uplistsikhe is located near Gori in Eastern Georgia, and the 16th century BC city is one of the oldest in Georgia (and birthplace of Stalin!). What’s more, the city has been entirely carved out of rock, and with most original buildings still standing today, it’s a terrific opportunity to see Christian and Pagan architecture existing side by side.
10. Sighnaghi village
The tiny village of Sighnaghi lends insight into a traditional Georgian village, with only 2,000 residents. Old traditions and lifestyles still run strong in this village in Eastern Georgia, and you’ll also find a number of Georgian wineries in the area, making it the perfect place to experience Georgian village life and sample some of Georgia’s excellent wines.
These are just a handful of the many sights and attractions that The Republic of Georgia has to offer. If you are interested in travelling to Georgia and seeing these sights for yourself, you can find information about how to get a free round-trip flight and a monthly stipend to teach in Georgia via Reach To Teach Recruiting, an official partner of Georgia’s TLG program.