Arts in the Caucasus

Arts in the Caucasus

You will find a rich heritage of Arts in the Caucasus ranging from the fine craft of carpet weaving to startling modern experiments in painting and theater. Petroglyphs beckon from cliffsides revealing the life of prehistoric man, while ancient churches carved into bedrock testify to ingenuity, spirituality and sheer love of beauty. Museums and galleries display collections of abstract or figurative art, with both traditional and modern influences.

In Baku, Azerbaijan, the newest addition to the arts and culture scene is the YARAT centre. Located in a renovated Soviet era building overlooking the Caspian Sea, it is now a locus for innovative arts in the Caucasus, Central Asia and other neighboring countries. If tradition is more to your taste check out the carpet museum—a striking, modern building that aecho texturally resembles a rolled up carpet, and housing a dizzying collection of gorgeous carpets along with exhibits explaining the history and craft of carpet making.

If you want to see how a museum can become part of the heartbeat of a city, visit the Cascade Complex and the Cafesjian Center for the Arts in Yerevan, capitol of Armenia. The late Mr. Cafesjian was determined to help his country get to its feet after the Soviet exit, and one of his great gifts was renovating this massive, neglected complex into a cultural center for sculptures, installations and rotating shows. It is also a favorite social hang out in Yerevan. From the huge to the intensely personal, a visit to the Parajanov museum showcases the extraordinary creativity and singularity of the Caucasus’ greatest pioneer of cinema, Sergei Parajanov. Going from being a darling of the Soviet film schools, he plummeted to persecution in prisons and labor camps, (even while being lauded by the European critics) but never stopped creating.

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Stay Fit in the Caucasus

Stay Fit in the Caucasus

Travel, while exciting, can take its toll on our bodies. Very few of us can say we arrive at a distant destination and step off the plane feeling refreshed and energized. But there are many ways to stay fit in the Caucasus. Urban areas provide exercise areas and many hotels provide workout rooms and often a good-sized swimming pool –or two! In the Caucasus mountains themselves, trekking and skiing are popular pastimes.

The Boulevard in Baku, Azerbaijan is a long strip of waterfront on the Caspian Sea, and it has been developed from an exclusive neighborhood for oil moguls into a public promenade complete with exotic landscaping, all kinds of amusement centers, and the famous Azerbaijan Carpet Museum. But it is also a popular place for jogging, and contains a public exercise area where young people can be seen working out at all hours. 

Ski resorts can be found all through the Caucasus.  In Armenia, the Tsaghkadzor resort was formerly used to prepare skiers competing in the Olympics. Both Georgia, with 4 top notch resort areas and Azerbaiajan with its newly developed and truly palatial Shadag resort have invested heavily in modernizing their facilities. All offer state of the art lifts that offer stunning views of the mountains through all seasons.

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Dining in the Caucasus

Dining in the Caucasus

No matter where you are dining in the Caucasus, certain things are going to be consistent: fresh, local ingredients and vivid flavors. These are age-old cuisines and the classic dishes are second to none.  Here are a few highlights – and recipes!

Armenia

When you travel in Armenia you will frequently see a brazier going on the side of the road, a signal that kabobs (shashlik) are being grilled at a nearby establishment, or home. Kabobs are ubiquitous, and whether it is chicken, beef or lamb, it will be family farm raised. Other staples of the Armenian table are yogurts both thick and kefir-like, and white cheeses served with fresh herbs and crèpe-thin lavish bread. Stuffed tomatoes, peppers and of course, grape leaves are typical main and side courses. Fruits both ripe and dried add sweet/tart flavors (particularly the famous Armenian apricot). Although a plethora of aromatic spices, usually associated with Indian food is used, this is not a spicy-hot cuisine.

Here’s a recipe for stuffed grape leaves.  It’s time consuming, but a great team project, with results that always get raves—you’ll be spoiled for any other kind.

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Our 10 Year Anniversary - Once-in-a-Life-Time Adventures

For our celebration we want to make 2018 a very special year for our travelers, so we have planned a series of extraordinary events and anniversary tours to recognize and celebrate our ten year anniversary.

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