Georgia Gallery

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Sighnaghi
Sighnaghi

View from Sighnaghi across Alazani Valley

Sighnaghi
Sighnaghi

Cellar at the Okros Winery

Sighnaghi
Sighnaghi

Sighnaghi street art

Sighnaghi
Sighnaghi

View across Kakheti

Tbilisi
Tbilisi

Slightly psychotic looking baby Jesus mosaic at Jvaris Mama, which dates back to the sixteenth century, though a church has stood on this site since the fifth century.

Tbilisi
Tbilisi

Old Town

Tbilisi
Tbilisi

Niko Pirosmani painting of a giraffe from 1905 in the National Gallery. The most recognised artist in Georgia, Pirosmani had never seen a giraffe, but was so enamoured by the idea of such a creature that he decided to paint it.

Tbilisi
Tbilisi

Peace Bridge, widely known as the 'Always' Bridge for its resemblance to a sanitary towel

Tbilisi
Tbilisi

Sculpture of revellers in the birthplace of wine

Tbilisi
Tbilisi

View of the capital from the Nariqala Fortress

Tbilisi
Tbilisi

Dry Bridge Market - from Lenin busts to Stalin portraits, hub of Soviet memorabilia

Tbilisi
Tbilisi

Built in 1984 as a glorified registry office, the Palace of Rituals - dubbed the ‘Cathedral of Atheism’ by the BBC during a visit by Margaret Thatcher - resembles a seventies sci-fi take on a Martian factory. Swirling round edifices like unravelling toilet rolls give way to a central column which brings to mind a giant, phallic chimney

Tbilisi
Tbilisi

Stalin's chief henchman and the man who most likely murdered Uncle Joe, Lavrenti Beria's house in Tbilisi

Mtskheta
Mtskheta

Relief in the 11th Century Svetitskhoevli Cathedral in the old capital of Georgia.

Gori
Gori

Stalin's death-mask in the museum dedicated to him in his hometown

Gori
Gori

Selling souvenirs outside Stalin's private railway carriage

Tusheti Valley
Tusheti Valley

High in the Greater Caucasus Mountains, the road to Tusheti is only passable for a few months a year

Keselo Fortress
Keselo Fortress

Constructed during the Mongol invasion in the 1230’s, Keselo originally consisted of 13 towers, of which six were rebuilt from 2003. On the peak among the towers, it wasn’t difficult to imagine the time when villagers would haul their possessions inside and pour boiling water on the heads of their foes

Bochorna
Bochorna

The highest permanently inhabited settlement in Europe at an elevation of 2,345 metres. Cut off by snow-drifts for over eight months a year, according to a government census from 2014, its permanent inhabitant’s number just a single old man

Abano Pass
Abano Pass

Crossing the Abano Pass at 2,826 metres, the ice sheets, ancient and immovable looked unreal, like giant chunks of Styrofoam. Along the roadside, graves were to be found in abundance

Batumi
Batumi

Capital of the Adjara region. DJ's rent out umbrellas, a new sound system every fifty yards producing a cacophony of doof

Batumi
Batumi

Set back from the teeming shoreline in a grassy area, a mosaic octopus with starfish sprouting from its walls and dolphins leaping from its roof which once housed the Café Fantasy has been abandoned since 2000. Its once dazzling exterior now decaying, its main modern use seems to be as a urinal.

Batumi
Batumi

Ali & Nino monument based on Kurban Said's novel. The metal figures move to embrace

Mestia
Mestia

Tiny capital of the Svaneti region. View from a Svan Tower, where locals would hole up when invaders came, throwing boulders down upon them

Mestia
Mestia

Sculpture in the Central Square

Kutaisi
Kutaisi

Georgia's second city, home to the new parliament

Khulo Valley
Khulo Valley

Hitching Georgian style.

Danisparauli
Danisparauli

The village of Danisparauli in the remote Khulo Valley.

Danisparauli
Danisparauli

House in the village of Danisparauli in the remote Khulo Valley.

Akhaltsikhe
Akhaltsikhe

Originally dating back to the 9th Century, the Ottoman Rabati Castle in the old slaving town of Akhaltsikhe.

Zestafoni
Zestafoni

Ancient wine-growing region in Western Georgia; part of the Imereti Province.

Oni
Oni

Making lobiani, traditional bean-filled bread.

Oni
Oni

Once home to one of the largest Jewish populations in Georgia, in 1972 the synagogue in Oni had 3,150 congregants. Today, only 10 Jews remain in the remote town.

Shovi
Shovi

Abandoned dacha in Shovi near the border with Russia. Established in 1926, Shovi was a Soviet-era holiday hotspot for the well-heeled.

Mt Tsikhvarga
Mt Tsikhvarga

Mt Tsikhvarga on the Georgia-Russia border. When I asked our driver why he had a shotgun, he replied, 'for bears and Russians.'

Friendship of the Soviet Peoples Mon
Friendship of the Soviet Peoples Mon

The Friendship of the Soviet Peoples Monument stares out over the stolen lands of South Ossetia. Of all the Soviet Republics, Georgia was the most resistant to Russian rule.

Friendship of the Soviet Peoples Mon
Friendship of the Soviet Peoples Mon

The Friendship of the Soviet Peoples Monument stares out over the stolen lands of South Ossetia. Of all the Soviet Republics, Georgia was the most resistant to Russian rule.

Stepantsminda
Stepantsminda

The ramshackle border town formerly known as Kazbegi. It was from local author Aleksandr Kazbegi's novel 'The Patricide' that Stalin adopted his first nickname, 'Koba.' The novelist went insane before dying young.

Gergeti
Gergeti

The village of Gergeti in the shadow of the 14th Century Gergeti Trinity Church.

Darial Gorge
Darial Gorge

Trucks queue to enter Russia. The driver I hitched with had been waiting for twelve days.

All images copyright Stephen M. Bland