Sighnaghi, Georgia

Sighnaghi, with only 2,100 people, is a mountain top architectural gem.  Its name comes from the word siginak, Turkish for “shelter.”  It was built in the 18th century as a fortified town on the frontiers of Moslem Azerbaijan and Dagestan.  It main industries are wine making, carpet making and, now, tourism.  The town is circled by about 4.5 kilometers of wall with 23 defensive towers.  The wall winds around the mountain side.  I walked along the top for about a half a kilometer between several of the towers with great views of vineyards running down the mountain. Continue reading Sighnaghi, Georgia

Ananuri Citadel and the Church of the Assumption, Georgia

Ananuri, a citadel used to sit on a ridge above a river that has been dammed so now sits on a point in the Zhinvili Reservoir.  The town that it towered over is underwater.  The Church of the Assumption was used as a barn in Soviet times and the frescos were whitewashed.  Some have now been uncovered.  The carvings on the outside walls of the Assumption Church include a huge cross visible from the highway and grape vines loaded with fruit.  Nicholas says the reason Georgians greet guests with wine is in commemoration of the Eucharist.  Each greeting is a … Continue reading Ananuri Citadel and the Church of the Assumption, Georgia