Georgian Military Highway and Kazbegi

The Georgian Military Highway is a spectacular piece of road in more than one way. The mountain scenery is stunning, and there are impressive churches along the way, but the driving experience (even with a good driver and decent car for the day) was pretty terrifying, overtaking lumbering Russian trucks struggling up the hillside, and avoiding the numerous cows on the road (pretty typical experience in Georgia).DSC08408The road runs from Tbilisi to Vladikavkaz, Russia, where the trucks were bound for, but due to congestion at the border the police keep them waiting in several places along the road, only releasing ten at a time. Saw literally hundreds of trucks lined up, waiting for up to a week to make it through the only border crossing between Georgia and Russia.DSC08451I stopped short at Kazbegi though, about a three hour drive, to see the famous church high above the town. First stop though was the Ananuri church, heavily fortified from the days when the road really was a military highway for invading Russian troops, sadly repeated in 2008.DSC08281 DSC08290Further along two rivers met, clear from the different colour of the waters.DSC08324High on the mountain side lies the Russian Georgian Friendship Memorial, a somewhat ironic monument given the history between the two countries. It’s a colourful addition to an epic landscape, with the familiar sight (living in New Zealand) of a volcano in the distance.DSC08334 DSC08342 DSC08347 DSC08348 DSC08357 DSC08355Cows started to become more of an issue on the road, as they wander freely and unpredictably, ignoring the fast moving traffic. It’s a wonder that in a week and a half in Georgia I only saw one injured cow.DSC08372We reached Kazbegi, and hiked up in less than an hour to the Tsminda Sameba church. Pretty standard Georgian church in terms of design, made special by its enviable location.DSC08390DSC08379DSC08385DSC08393DSC08399

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