Bridge of Peace

Bridge of Peace

Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Mtskheta

Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Mtskheta

Uplistsikhe

Uplistsikhe

Kartlis Deda

Kartlis Deda

Joseph Stalin Museum, Gori

Joseph Stalin Museum, Gori

Georgia

Tbilisi

May 2012 • Even though it's been two decades since it left the Soviet Union, Georgia continues to nurse a bad hangover from the totalitarian bender. Lacking the natural resources of neighbor-to-the-east Azerbaijan and the human resources of neighbor-to-the-west Turkey, the country is an economic laggard, with poverty and disrepair similar to Moscow circa 1996. Georgians themselves are gruffly warm and hospitable, and there's a lot of hopeful renovation in Tbilisi and several other tourist draws. Some people complain that the changes are inauthentic (like the faux alpine stylings of newly renovated Mestia), but it's hard to argue with the jobs and revenue that are being created. Plus it's time for the rest of the world to learn how much Georgia contributed to civilization (wine!) long before it fell under the Soviet Union's murderous thumb.

Bridge of Peace

Bridge of Peace

Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Mtskheta

Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Mtskheta

Uplistsikhe

Uplistsikhe

Kartlis Deda

Kartlis Deda

Joseph Stalin Museum, Gori

Joseph Stalin Museum, Gori

Joseph Stalin Museum, Gori