The tongue-twisting southern flank of Georgia is a highly scenic region whose biggest attractions are the spectacular cave city of Vardzia and beautiful Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, which offers good mountain hiking. Landscapes are very varied, from the alpine forests and meadows around Borjomi and Bakuriani to the bare volcanic canyons of the Vardzia area.
Samtskhe-Javakheti (სამცხე-ჯავახეთი) 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.
Javakheti is the more elevated southeastern half of Samtskhe-Javakheti. Bordering Armenia, it has a majority Armenian population.