Here’s a surprise: If any one region on earth personifies the phrase “eat, pray, love” it is the Caucasus! Here’s why.
EAT: If you are a dedicated foodie you will be “over the moon” in the Caucasus; there is a sophisticated cuisine that has benefited from the Turkish and Persian empires surrounding it. Fresh salads, the use of herbs and spices, fruits and nuts, makes for a delicious and healthful diet. No wonder the area is famous for its long-lived people. Add to this a seven thousand year old wine-making tradition in Georgia, famous mineral water and a world-class cognac produced in Armenia, delightful fruit beverages and modern wineries in Azerbaijan, (and of course, the Russian contribution of vodka) and you will want for nothing at the table.
PRAY: There is a mix of religions in the Caucasus. In Azerbaijan, you will find more influence of the Persian Empire, with traces of Zoroastrian culture under the predominant Islamic faith. Due to a contemporary, cosmopolitan outlook (helped along by its rich deposits of oil) in Azerbaijan, Islam has a devout but tolerant following. Meanwhile, Armenia was the earliest nation to establish a Christian Church of its own, in 301 AD, and Georgia followed in its conversion to Christianity in 327 AD. That makes them two of the earliest converts in the world, and the outpouring of energy to the creation of places of worship is astounding. From the magnificent churches carved out of living rock in Armenia, to the mountaintop religious aeries of Georgia, the sheer impact of spiritual commitment channeled into beauty is enough to move anyone, of any religion. The presence of synagogues in urban areas is also a testament to tolerance.