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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Map of Caucasus region prepared by the U.S. State Department, 1994.

The South Caucasus is a geopolitical region located on the border[1] of Eastern Europe[2] and Southwest Asia[3][4][5][6] also referred to as Transcaucasia, or The Transcaucasus. More specifically, the South Caucasus area spans the southern portion of the Caucasus Mountains and its lowlands, lying between the two continents of Europe and Asia and extending from the southern part of the Greater Caucasus Mountain range of southwestern Russia and going southerly to the Turkish and Armenian borders, travelling between the Black and Caspian Seas. The area includes the southern part of the Greater Caucasus Mountain range, the entire Lesser Caucasus Mountain range, the Colchis Lowlands and Kura-Aras Lowlands, the Talysh Mountains, the Lenkoran Lowlands, and the Javakheti-Armenian Uplands. The Transcaucasus, or South Caucasus area, is a part of the entire Caucasus geographical region that essentially divides the Eurasian transcontinent into two.

All of Armenia is in Southern Caucasus; the majority of Georgia and Azerbaijan, including the exclave of Naxçivan, fall within this area. The countries of the region are producers of oil, manganese ore, tea, citrus fruits, and wine.

In Western languages, the terms Transcaucasus and Transcaucasia are translations of the Russian zakavkazie meaning "the area beyond the Caucasus Mountains", i.e., as seen from the Russian capital (analogous to the Roman terms Transalpine and Transpadania). The region remains one of the most complicated in the post-Soviet area, and comprises three heavily disputed areas – Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia, and Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan. Several wars, including the 2008 South Ossetia war, Ossetian-Georgian conflict, and the Nagorno-Karabakh war have been waged in this region.



Present administrative map of Caucasus.
Administrative map of Caucasus in USSR, 1952-1991.

Located on the peripheries of Turkey, Iran and Russia, the region has been an arena for political, military, religious, and cultural rivalries and expansionism for centuries.

Ancient kingdoms of the region included Armenia, Albania, and Iberia, among others. These kingdoms were later incorporated into various empires, including Achaemenid Empire, Parthian Empire, Sassanid Empire, during which Zoroastrianism followed by Eastern Christianity became the dominant religions in the region.

In 8th century A.D., most of South Caucasus became part of the Caliphate and Islam spread throughout the region. The region would later be conquered by the Seljuks, Mongols, local Turkic dynasties until the establishment of Safavid dynasty in 1501. From that time till the mid-19th century, South Caucasus remained in Safavid domain, except for the brief period in 17th century when it came under Ottoman control.

After the fall of Safavid dynasty in 1736, semi-independent khanates were established in South Caucasus under the nominal control of Persia. In the first quarter of 19th century, after two Russo-Persian wars, the region was finally conquered by Russian Empire[7].

The region was unified as a single political entity twice – during the Russian Civil War (Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic) from 9 April 1918 to 26 May 1918, and under the Soviet rule (Transcaucasian SFSR) from 12 March 1922 to 5 December 1936.

Transcaucasia, in particular where modern day Georgia and Armenia are located, is one of the native areas of the wine producing vine Vitis vinifera. Some experts speculate that it may be the birthplace of wine production. [8] Archeological excavation and carbon dating of grape pips from the area have dated back to 7000-5000 BC. [9]

See also


  1. ^ CIA World Factbook (May 2006). "Caucasus". Library of Congress. Retrieved 7 July 2009. 
  2. ^ Mulvey, Stephen (16 June 2000). "The Caucasus: Troubled borderland". News. BBC. Retrieved 1 July 2009. ""The Caucasus Mountains form the boundary between West and East, between Europe and Asia..."" 
  3. ^ Georgia, from Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  4. ^ Georgia, from Encarta
  5. ^ Georgia, from Intute
  6. ^ Georgia, from National Geographic
  7. ^ Thorez, Pierre. "Caucasus." Encyclopaedia Iranica. June 2, 2007
  8. ^ Hugh Johnson Vintage: The Story of Wine pg 15 Simon & Schuster 1989
  9. ^ Ibid. pg 17

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Caucasus : South Caucasus

This article is an 'itinerary.

This is an itinerary that is created for the South Caucasus, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. They can be taken separately or combined.


Day One in Armenia

  • Arrive in Yerevan
  • Visit tourist information office (Nalbandyan 3)
  • Visit the Parajanov Museum (surrealist director able to make art out of all manner of junk)
  • Half day trip to Echmiadzin Cathedral (mother church), Zvartnots Cathedral ruins.
  • Dinner at the Club (Agump), drink at Melody Cafe in the Opera Square

Day Two in Armenia

  • Breakfast at Artbridge before heading to the following sites in Central Armenia
  • Take a day trip to Garni Temple and Geghard Monastery (UNESCO)
  • Hike to Aghjots Vank from Garni. Continue to explore Khosrov Reserve if you are inclined (S. Stepanos Monastery, Fortress, old inhabited caves, canyons - might need car/guide).
  • Dinner at Amrots, stroll the Northern Avenue, check out the fancy fountains of Republic Square

Day Three in Armenia

  • Quick breakfast sandwich at Yum Yum (try the basturma!)
  • Head north to Lori
  • Visit Saghmosavank en route
  • Visit Akhtala
  • Visit Odzun
  • Spend night at Tufenkian Avan Dzoraget.

Day Four in Armenia

  • Breakfast at Tufenkian hotel.
  • Head to Haghpat and Sanahin UNESCO Monasteries.
  • Hike to Kobayr Monastery (15 min)
  • Hike to Horomayri Monastery (45 min) or Surp Grigori Monastery (35 min)
  • Head back to Yerevan, spend the night

Day Five in Armenia

  • Visit Matenadaran (Illuminated Manuscripts Collection)
  • Visit Armenian Genocide Memorial and Museum
  • Explore the city (and vernissage if it's the weekend)
  • Have dinner at Central Cafe
  • Sleep in Yerevan

Day Six in Armenia

  • Head to Southern Armenia, get an early start.
  • Visit Khor Virap Monastery and the views of Mt. Ararat en route
  • Visit Noravank Monastery's two double decker church and brick red cliffs
  • Visit some other sites of your choice in the area. Choose from:
    • Selim Caravanseray
    • Smbataberd Fortress
    • Mozrov or Arjeri Caverns (requires guide)
    • Tsakhats Kar Monastery
    • Areni wineries
  • Sleep in Jermuk

Day Seven in Armenia

  • Soak in one of the spas in Jermuk, take a bath, and hit the long road to...
  • Zorats Karer - Armenia's cruder and much older roadside "Stonehenge"
  • Tatev Monastery
  • Satan's Bridge spring fed pools (risk a treacherous climb down to the cavern and underground river below if you like)
  • Spend the night in Goris at Mrhav B&B.
  • Return to Yerevan or take a side trip to nearby Nagorno-Karabakh (see separate section on page)

Day Eight in Armenia

  • Head north to Yeghegnadzor where you can take the highway directly to Lake Sevan (Martuni). Head northwest along the shores.
  • Visit Noratus, Armenia's largest khachkar cemetary
  • Visit Hayravank Monastery, overlooking the lake
  • Visit "Kghzi", the peninsula with Sevanavank and the more popular beaches
  • Eat fish and crayfish on the shores of the lake!
  • Head to Dilijan and spend the night.

Day Nine in Armenia

  • Explore Dilijan
  • Visit Haghartsin and/or Goshavank Monastery
  • Have fish by the river - try Getap Restaurant
  • Visit a Molokan (Russian Amish type sect) Village
  • Head back to Yerevan to depart the following day, or on to Georgia


Day One in Azerbaijan

  • Arrive in Baku
  • Check into lodging
  • Eat lunch in Fountain Square at the Lebanese fast food shop
  • Walk around the Baku Bolvar
  • Go to the old city and spend the afternoon around the old city. Climb the Maiden's tower.
  • Eat dinner at Cafe Rendezvous
  • Walk around Fountain Square and enjoy the night life
  • Sleep

Day Two in Azerbaijan

  • Wake up
  • Eat pastries from Judo Petchka near Sahil station and eat them in the nearby park
  • Go to the Atashgah Fire Temple via electric train (leave 28 May station at 10:20)
  • Return to 28 May station, buy a night train ticket to Sheki and eat a lunch of Georgian food at Georgian Home
  • Go to Café Aroma or another cafe and get some coffee-invite a Bakuvian and learn more about the city over a cup of coffee/tea
  • Eat dinner at Cafe Rendezvous
  • Depart for Sheki at 22:00

Day Three in Azerbaijan

  • Share a taxi to the center of Sheki. Pay 1 AZN per person.
  • Check into lodging

Walk to the center of town while observing the ancient architecture of the Friday Mosque. Walk around the center and observe the men play bat gammon nard. After soaking in some of the culture walk to Chelebi Xan and try a bowl of Piti and Capital Salad Stolicnoye Salat. For a true Sheki experience, eat the pity in the following manner: First crumble up pieces of bread, pour the au jous into the bowl from the earthenware pot, eat the bread and au jous, and finally pour the rest of the stew into your bowl and eat it. To finish the night, walk up to the tea house inside the walls of the Palace of the Sheki Khans. There request a plate of the Sheki specialty halva alongside a pot of tea. Pay 2 AZN. Finally, walk back to the hotel and sleep soundly.

Day Four in Azerbaijan

Wake up and walk over to the Sheki Bazaar and eat breakfast at the Turkish café adjacent to the Istanbul restaurant. There have a pot of tea alongside delicious pastries. If you have a sweet tooth in the morning, make sure to try the snicker’s cake. After breakfast, walk through the Sheki bazaar and look at the various local handicrafts including scarves, unique boxes, and a plethora of sweets and confections. Once finished with shopping, buy a picnic lunch to eat in Kish. Then catch a cab up to Kish, pay .8 AZN for admission, walk around the church and eat lunch; pay the cab ~3 AZN and tell him to return in. It is also possible to take the 23 or the 15 minibus from the Sheki bazaar to save about 3-4 AZN up and back. Upon returning to Sheki take a cab to the Palace of the Sheki Khans, pay .8 AZN for admission, and tour the grounds. Then walk down the hill to the Karavan Palace and enjoy a dinner in the ancient grounds. To end the day, look at the various handicrafts on the road from the Karavan Palace while walking down the hill to the hotel.

Day Five in Azerbaijan

Wake up and go to the Sheki Saray’s Shebeke (stain glass) Restaurant. There order an omelet, a cup of coffee or tea by preference, and enjoy the plentiful variety of fruit, cereal, juice, and yogurt. Upon finishing breakfast pay 6 AZN and walk across the town center and go to the Friday (Juma) mosque. There tour the interior and enjoy the ornate geometric designs. Upon completing the tour, check out of the hotel and depart for Georgia on the 14:00 Balakan bus. Upon arriving to Balakan, find a bus marked to Tbilisi and board it.


Day One in Georgia

Day Two in Georgia

Day Three in Georgia

Day Four in Georgia

Day Five in Georgia


Day One in Nagorno-Karabakh

Day Two in Nagorno-Karabakh

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun

South Caucasus


South Caucasus

  1. Mountainous region of southwest Asia, lying south of Caucasus Mountains and comprising republics of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Also known as Transcaucasia.



Simple English

South Caucasus, also referred to as Transcaucasia or Transcaucasus, is the southern area of the Caucasus region between Europe and Asia, going from the Greater Caucasus to the Turkish and Iranian borders, between the Black and Caspian Seas.

Administrative map of Caucasus in USSR, 1952-1991.

All of Armenia is in Transcaucasia; the majority of Georgia and Azerbaijan, including the exclave of Naxçivan, fall within this area. The countries in the region produce oil, manganese ore, tea, citrus fruits, and wine.

The region is one the most complicated in the post-Soviet area, and has three heavily disputed areas – Abkhazia and South Ossetia in Georgia, and Nagorno-Karabakh in Azerbaijan.



The region was combined togerther twice – during the Russian Civil War (Transcaucasian Democratic Federative Republic) from 9 April 1918 to 26 May 1918, and under the Soviet rule (Transcaucasian SFSR) from 12 March 1922 to 5 December 1936.

The area of Transcaucasia, which is where modern day Azerbaijan,Georgia and Armenia are located, is one of areas where the wine producing vines vitis vinifera grow. Some experts think that this may be where wine was produced for the first time. [1] Archeological excavation and carbon dating of grape pips from the area have dated back to 7000-5000BC. [2]

Other pages


  1. Hugh Johnson Vintage: The Story of Wine pg 15 Simon & Schuster 1989
  2. Ibid. pg 17

Sources and references



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