Georgia

ROUND BLACK SEA IN 3 VAGABONDS PART 2: THE NATURE

What do you need to make a sea? In the case of the Black Sea, you take three tectonic plates between Europe and Asia that clash, divide and subside under the pressure of volcanic activity for several million years, and let rivers and rains fill the gaps. You then add a narrow strait to connect the water basin to the Mediterranean. The end result is a sea with low salinity whose shores and currents still reflect its geological past: on maps and in aerial photographs the two ancient basins that made the current Black Sea are still clearly discernible, divided by a pointy end: the Crimea.

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ROUND BLACK SEA IN 3 VAGABONDS. PART 1: THE HISTORY

It encompasses six countries, with wide rivers, majestic mountains and splendid beaches, and the remains of ancient civilisations and modern developments. Peopled with adherents of the three Abrahamic religions, and redolent of times of splendour, confrontation and tragedy, the shores of the Black Sea combine different nations, geographic and climatic features, and history. In a series of three articles, we will cover the most exiting sites in a region that is still underexplored by Western travellers. We begin with the history of the Black Sea.

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MOUNTAIN OF TOWERS

Their song was strange, three different voices weaved into a single melody that sounded as if from another time – and its effect was hardly due to the strong homemade Chacha, or brandy, guests are treated to here.

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CABLE CARS OF GEORGIA

Two young girls are munching bean-paste khachapuri by an array of old graffiti drawn with a pencil on the crumbling walls of a funicular station. The wooden benches look prehistoric, but a flat screen TV on the wall is on, broadcasting a Turkish TV soap. A handful of other people wait for the arrival of the next car on Chiatura's main cable car line.

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