Caucasus and Georgia, Crossroads                კავკასია და საქართველო


South Caucasus is a crossroad, a junction, a roundabout! Situated on the western end of the Land Silk Road, it's an area of total intercultural mix. A real Eldorado for the linguist, with something like 50-100 languages, depending how you define "dialect" and "language". There are indigenious  languages like  the Kartvelian languages, Georgian and Mingrelian, East Caucasian languages like Chechen and Daghestanian and West Caucasian languages such as Circassian and Abkhazian. But there are also Iranian languages e.g. Ossetian and other Indoeuropean e.g. Armenian. Turkish dialects is spoken in the mountains, but Azeri is almost the same as normal Turkish. In addition, Russian is the lingua franca, but in the South, Russian is slowly replaced by English, especially in Georgia. This total mix is also seen in the food, and some historical facts adds a greek component as well. 

Religiously, this area, is also very rich. Ortodox Christianity is dominant, but in the North Caucasus, Sunni Islam dominates. In Azerbaijan, Shia Islam, is prevalent, but in a very secular form. Armenians have their very own brand of Christianity, but historically, Zoroastrianism, ruled both Eastern Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. But Armenia and Georgia are the two oldest Christian nations in the world. There are also a few Yazidi Kurds living in the area. Except for the more established religions, people are supersticious and still practices, and believe in, folk religion. Myths and spirits connected to the mountains and forests are popular, especially in the rural remote mountainous area of the north. Turkey is of course Sunni, but with a large portion of Alevi Shia, and a substantial secular element. 

Chechens, Mongols and Putin, Sjamil etc. Conflict, nagorno-karabach.....

Georgia, or Sakartvelo, as they call their own country, is a place like no other! It is completely lovely! A melting pot since many thousands of years! Strategically positioned beteween Asia and Europe, Persia and Greece, the Middle East to the south and Russia to the north.  South Caucasus is also the birthplace of wine.

The eternal flame of the Zoroastrian temple at Surakhani, Baku, Azerbaijan.
The eternal flame of the Zoroastrian temple at Surakhani, Baku, Azerbaijan.