Caucasus Mountain Magic

“Pinch me, I must be dreaming!” was a recurrent thought floating to the top of my beauty addled brain as we travelled through the Georgian High Caucasus. The highest reward of travel is that awe inspiring moment when you are so overwhelmed by the spectacular view, the quiet beauty, or the deep experience that you forget about time and space and you just float wonderstruck. One afternoon I found myself atop a gorgeous Georgian horse in the high mountains of Tusheti trotting through a forrest of pine and birch. The tall birch trees have all turned bumblebee yellow. Nature dipped her fall paintbrush into crimson and rose and lightly brushed their very tops. Suddenly a slight breeze picked up and as it caressed the branches the yellow leaves started trembling with delight. I stopped the horse and listened to the gentle mountain etude my heart swelling in awe, my spirit soaring. How could I be so lucky to experience this magical moment?

With a feeling of profound gratitude I urged the horse on following my nimble Tush guide on his horse. With his black beard and embroidered red cap he looked like he just stepped out of a folk tale book, one of many I read as a little girl. As we came upon a distant village an old church came into view. We dismounted respectfully and as my companion cared for our horses I stepped inside through the low wooden door. Usually Georgian churches are mysteriously dark but here the whole interior was painted in cheerful blue with queens and kings of yore offering a friendly greeting. One of them undoubtedly was 12th century conquering Queen Tamar, a queen so mighty and so beloved everyone in Georgia calls her King Tamar. After we gave the horses a drink in the cool river we raced them back galloping to our hearts’ and our spry horses hearts’ content while the tall mountains with a sprinkling of snow on their highest peaks cradled the green high valley in their protective embrace. Despite the seemingly impenetrable High Caucasus range throughout the millennia in response to the raids from neighboring tribes the villagers of Tusheti built tall defensive towers where people and cattle could weather the history’s storms. Walking through the villages was not just like stepping back in time but also stepping into a fairytale. Every minute now I expected Rapunzel to appear at the window and let down her hair. Even the clouds up high were full of fairytale magic colors. Tush hauntingly beautiful music and remnants of beliefs of worshiping the sun reach back to the dawn of time, with round white stones offering protection and white sheep’s wool spun into legends. In other mountains, in Svaneti, it wasn’t just the neighboring tribes, but also the very neighbors one had to seek protection from. The rivers there ran with gold, but also with blood of the feuding families. Each family had a strong stone tower connected with underground tunnels to other clan members houses. How sad to have your existence narrowed down like that! Living your life in fear, hatred and revenge when there is majestic beauty all around, making the heart sing with every step.

And love grow…

17 thoughts on “Caucasus Mountain Magic

  1. Thanks Ksenija. Really beautiful! I am planning a trip to Armenia and Georgia in 2021. I hope to go to Azerbaijan too. Gail

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  2. Wow, I think I have a new background on every screen of my computer after reading that one – beautiful photos! Fall is just starting to happen in Sonoma County; we had our first rain earlier this week. Thanks for sharing the colors across the world!

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  3. Wow………these may be your best pictures ever!!! What kind of camera are you using? The sky!!!! Awesome!!!! Blessings and safe travel!!! I must assume this is where you celebrated your birthday and I can not imagine a better way to celebrate!!! xoxoxoxo

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  4. You made me feel like I was on that horse with you! So gorgeous and so sad about all the feuds when surrounded by such beauty.

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  5. What a crisp countryside! We were reading your post at the end of a tourist packed day in Siena. The eager travelers should all be in Georgia!

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