Georgia's southern flank is a diverse and highly scenic region whose biggest attractions are the spectacular cave city of Vardzia, the important religious centre of Mtskheta and the stunning mountain landscapes of the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. Historically much of the region was part of Tao-Klarjeti, a cradle of medieval Georgian culture that extended well into what’s now northeast Turkey. Tao-Klarjeti fell under Ottoman rule from the 1550s to the 1870s, was briefly part of independent Georgia after the Russian Revolution, and was then divided between Turkey and Bolshevik Georgia in 1921. This is in many ways Georgia's heartland: St Nino passed through on her way to bring Christianity to Georgia and national bard Shota Rustaveli was born here. More recently, the town of Gori was the birthplace of one Joseph Stalin, who also did his bit to put the area on the map.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Southern Georgia.