Ushguli, the highest village in Europe. We almost didn’t get there because of road works. We had to drive over a broken bridge. I held my breath for that part.
The town of Mestia in the Svaneti region of Georgia is becoming hyper-developed. New roads have given access to a steadily increasing number of tourists. A ski slope has opened just minutes from the town. Svaneti seems to be popular with Israeli tourists.
The ethnographic museum is not to be missed!
I noticed a lot of changes in Georgia since my last trip: new roads, new bridges, new buildings, new western style coffee and sandwich places everywhere. I realised that it was the first time that I saw construction on such a scale since the collapse of the Celtic Tiger. It also seems to be more expensive.
One thing hasn’t changed: they still drive like psychopaths!
Agdam is a ghost town close to the Azeri border with Nagorno-Karabakh. It was an Azeri city with a population of 40,000 people. It was destroyed in the early 1990’s. Every building has been destroyed and looted. The mosque seems like the only building left standing. The top of one of the minarets was riddled with bullets. Inside the mosque looks like it is used as a cattle barn. It’s possible to climb onto the roof and up both minarets.
Since our visit, there has been some incidents in this area:
For a brief history of Agdam:
The road towards Agdam was sparsely populated. The gas pipes run overground because the earth is hard. I traveled for a day with a South African man who has spent the last four years driving his land rover through Africa and Europe. The last I’ve heard he is in Kyrgyzstan.
It was a long time before we met anyone. We stopped at a shop and everyone in the shop followed us out onto the street. They were great fun. We communicated through some improvised sign language.