A Photographic Introduction to the Republic of Georgia – Kazbegi

January 12, 2016


I have been living and working in the Republic of Georgia since September, 2015. This is my first post to share this gorgeous, enchanting and welcoming country in the four months I have been here. I have to say, this is one of the most pleasant surprises I have had in years. If you are considering some international travel, I cannot recommend Georgia enough. Come and visit! You will not be disappointed.

If you have any questions or inquiries, shoot an email off to one of my personal accounts, gilbertislands@gmail.com, or Stephen@heart-sign.com.  This is a country not to be missed!

Over these first four months I have accumulated literally thousands of photographs. If you would like to see a gallery of what I have so far shared on social media, I invite you to my Instagram account at @stavella2314. Because I have so many photographs from all over the country and in so many genres – landscape, historical, religious, long exposure, night, urban, people – I will share them over several blog posts.

Without too many more words, let me start with photographs from one of my favorite areas so far, the northern region of Kazbegi on the Georgian/Russian border. Kazbegi – locally known as Stepantsminda – is located in what is known as the Greater Caucasus mountains stretching the length of the northern part of the country. If you consider Georgia a part of Europe, then these are the highest mountains you’ll find, reaching heights in excess of 17,000 ft (5,000 meters).

At 16,600 ft., Mt. Kazbek is the highest mountain in the Kazbegi/Gergeti area. Its local name is Mkinvartsverti, meaning Ice Top. It is the mythical mountain upon which it is claimed Prometheus was chained as punishment for stealing fire from the Gods. Forming at the edge of Kazbegi is the Dariali Gorge created by the Tergi  (Terek) river. It runs for eight miles through rugged, steep mountains and cliffs, creating a dramatic landscape that has inspired famous Georgian writers and poets like Ilia Chavchaavadze, Alexander Kazbegi and Grigol Orbeliani.

Without further ado: Kazbegi/Stepantsminda


I have visited here twice. On both occasions I hiked from Gergeti village to the Gergeti Sameba monastery you can barely see on the plateau at the top of the photo facing Mt. Kazbek.



Looking one way (at Mt. Kazbek)…


… and then the other (at Gergeti Sameba monastery, 14th century)


Descent with the color of the setting sun on the mountains


Looking down through the villages of Kazbegi and Gergeti along the Tergi River


Walking through the village of Kazbegi, where satellite dish and traditional life intersect


Hiking into the fog-shrouded Dariali Canyon


The Dariali Canyon


The Military Highway leading from Tbilisi to Kazbegi and beyond to the Georgian/Russian border is a major trucking route moving goods between the two countries and beyond to Armenia and Azerbaijan.


Cindy (my traveling partner on my second trip to Kazbegi) and I met and hung out with some welcoming local residents at a roadside fruit stand and local restaurant.



Mishvidobit (Peace!)



All content Copyrighted © Stephen Tavella



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