The Roads Less Traveled in Turkey and Georgia

The Roads Less Traveled in Turkey and Georgia

Discover the meeting places of the ancient world in eastern Turkey and Georgia on a back-road exploration of out-of-the-way towns and villages. Along the way:

  • Admire the UNESCO-listed Hittite and Bronze Age sites of Hattusa, Yazilikaya and Alacahoyuk.
  • Visit the remote UNESCO-listed Great Mosque and Hospital Complex of Divrigi, a place like no other in Turkey.
  • Learn about Svanetian culture over a meal with a family in a private home.
  • Be a guest at a potter’s home outside of Kutaisi and learn about Georgia’s signature pottery style.
  • Stroll the streets of Tbilisi, stopping to sample fresh baked bread or pick up a bottle of Georgian wine from a local market.
  • Savor an authentic “Georgian Table,” featuring an abundance of local specialties and an official Georgian toastmaster.

Remote Route Through Turkey: Ankara and the Anatolian PlateauTravelers on MIR’s Ancient Kingdoms of North East Turkey & Georgia begin in Turkey’s capital, Ankara, visiting the wonderful Anatolian Civilizations Museum, with artifacts from the Paleolithic Age to the 2nd century AD, and then follow traces of the old Silk Road east through arid valleys and rocky hills redolent of old empires and kingdoms. They admire under-explored UNESCO-listed Hittite and Bronze Age archaeological sites, as well as the remote Great Mosque and Hospital Complex of Divrigi.

Mountainous Mestia, Georgia <br>Photo Credit: Inga Belova

Mountainous Mestia, Georgia
Photo Credit: Inga Belova

Gorgeous Georgia: Mountains, Feasts, ToastsIn Georgia, the group enters medieval fortress towers of stacked stone in mountainous Svaneti, and learns about Svanetian culture over a meal with a family in a private home. They stroll the streets of Tbilisi, stopping to sample fresh baked bread or pick up a bottle of Georgian wine from a local market. And they pull their chairs up to an authentic “Georgian Table” feast, featuring an abundance of local specialties and an official Georgian toastmaster.


Staff Picks:  Ancient Civilizations, Road Trips and Cave Monasteries We asked three MIR staffers to tell us about their favorite stops along this itinerary.

  • Ankara’s Anatolian Civilizations Museum

MIR staffer Helen Holter has lived in Turkey and been back to visit many times.

“Each time I walk through the domed covered market that houses the Anatolian Civilizations Museum, I find it hard to grasp that I’m staring at rare artifacts from as far back as 8,000 B.C. Here, in the heart of civilization, the dots of history are connected in display after display of our human history, from Paleolithic to relatively modern times. I’m especially blown away by items from Çatalhöyük – the world’s most significant Neolithic site – along with ancient writing tablets, carvings, jewelry, and the Hittite bulls that once were the symbol of Ankara.”


  • The Mountains of Svaneti, Georgia

MIR staffer Mariana Noble tasted her way around Georgia on the inaugural departure of A Taste of Georgia: Wine, Cuisine & Culture.

“Our group made the spectacular drive up to Georgia’s Svaneti region in the fall of the year. As we climbed, the leaves got more and more fiery, the peaks higher and higher, and the ravines deeper and steeper. Svaneti is one of the most beautiful and remote places I’ve ever seen.”

  • Georgia’s Vardzia Cave Monastery

MIR staffer Devin Connolly has led quite a few tours around the South Caucasus, and she’s very fond of Georgia, especially the hand-dug medieval cave monastery of Vardzia.

“What amazed me about Vardzia was the vastness of this cave monastery, which extends high and deep into the side of a mountain. Early visitors to Vardzia must have been awe-struck by its scope and grandeur.”

Peering out from the Vardzia Cave Monastery, Georgia <br>Photo Credit: Paul Schwartz

Peering out from the Vardzia Cave Monastery, Georgia
Photo Credit: Paul Schwartz

Travel to Turkey and Georgia with MIRWith 30 years of travel experience, MIR is able to capture all that these destinations have to offer. The itinerary featured on MIR’s small group tour Ancient Kingdoms of North East Turkey & Georgia is representative of this destination expertise.

MIR maintains close connections to the people in Turkey and Georgia, and can arrange for you to do just about anything – from boarding a gulet, the small traditional sailing boats that ply the beautiful Mediterranean coast of Turkey, to enjoying a comparative tasting of Georgian wines made with an 8,000-year-old method.

You can also experience the hospitality of the Georgian people on these MIR tours:

Alternately, you can create your own Custom, Private Tour to Turkey and Georgia with our expert assistance.

Top photo: The ruins of Ani, Turkey. Photo credit: Mike Belton

PUBLISHED: November 11, 2015

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