'He turned his back on his native borders
And flew off to a far-away land,
Alongside the merry ghost of freedom.'
- 'Captive of the Caucasus' (1822), by Alexander Pushkin
When I first started toying with the idea of crossing the North Caucasus, my Georgian colleague was keen to remind me that it is a region of violence, inhabited by the gortsy (the Russian word for 'highlanders' - but usually with a pejorative sting of the uncivilised and barbaric mountain natives). Since then I have been reading the various travelogues written on the region throughout the centuries.
One aspect was consistent in these accounts: travellers were always surprised to find how little have changed since the time of their predecessors. An 18th century traveller in the Caucasus once wrote that 'the mountains are much in the same state as they were in the time of Herodotus or Strabo'. Similarly, journalists covering the 1990s Chechen War were surprised by how easily they could make connections with the past.
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I like to travel, and I like to find out about things so I have created this blog to share what I saw on my journeys.
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