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EID ESCAPES: Put Georgia on your mind.

Naturally stunning and bursting with culture, Georgia is, as-yet, a relatively undiscovered destination.

The former Soviet state is just a short hop from the UAE (about a three-hour flight) so the ideal Eid destination and well worth a visit. The country, located in the Caucasus region, is steeped in history with a wealth of treasures to offer any visitor.

It boasts subtropical marshes, semi desert, lofty alpine zones and snowy peaks - all within a 100km of each other - not to mention several thriving and historical towns, including lively capital city Tbilisi.

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Those travelling for a taste of culture can choose from 12,000 historical and cultural monuments, including four UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Those keen to take a relaxing break can spend time at the country's fresh mineral water springs, or take a break at the seaside on the beautiful shores of the Black Sea. And lovers of nature can explore eight national parks and 31 protected wild areas.

Want to know more? Here's five things that may surprise you about Georgia and put you on the path to discovering it for yourself…

THE CRADLE OF EUROPEAN CIVILISATION

Recent excavations of Dmanisi have revealed an extraordinary record of the earliest hominid dispersal beyond Africa (1.75 million years ago). Several hominid individuals, along with abundant well-preserved remains of fossil animals and stone artefacts, have been found. The Dmanisi specimens are the most primitive and small-brained humans found outside of Africa and have changed scientific thinking about how humans spread across the world.

A HIGHLIGHT FOR CLIMBERS - ENJOY SOME OF EUROPE'S HIGHEST MOUNTAINS

From the breathtaking flanks of Mount Ushba (4,719m), which offer some of the most technical routes in Europe, to the majestic white pyramid of Mount Tetnuldi (4,974m), Georgia's Greater Caucasus is a climber's

dream destination.

BIRTHPLACE OF VITICULTURE

Georgia is one of the oldest wine producing regions of the world. The fertile valleys of the South Caucasus, which Georgia straddles, are believed by many archaeologists to be the source of the world's first cultivated grapevines and Neolithic wine production, more than 8,000 years ago.

VISIT A COUNTRY STEEPED IN HISTORY

Georgia is the second country to convert to Christianity, which it did in 337AD. Its magnificent history of church buildings, dating from the fifth century right up to the present day, is one of the primary attractions of the country.

AN ECLECTIC DESTINATION - THERE'S SOMETHING DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE

From adventure tourism to discovering the art of wine making, Georgia has something to delight every visitor. Take advantage of the cheapest heli-skiing in Europe, or tour some of the finest medieval architecture in the world, delve into ancient, subterranean cave cities or relax at world-class beach resorts - it's all possible in Georgia.

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Publication:7 Days (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Jul 25, 2013
Words:470
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