Monthly Archives: July 2015

Georgia. July 2015

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The Alps we already knew, and the Pyrenees, but this was finer than anything we had ever seen or even imagined in our wildest dreams! This was the Caucasus….How I wish I had brought my copy of Aeschylus! Alexandre Dumas père (1858) “It is a magical place, Georgia,” wrote John Steinbeck during a visit in the late 1940s, “and it becomes dream-like the moment you have left it.” Georgia’s landscape, wine and extravagant people consistently win it friends. John Steinbeck heard from Russians about Georgia’s charm long before he set foot here. “Wherever we had been in Russia, in Moscow, in the Ukraine, in Stalingrad, the magical name of Georgia …

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Azerbaijan. July 2015

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The countries of the South Caucasus have always been the “lands in-between”. In between the Black and Caspian seas, Europe and Asia, Russia and the Middle East, Christianity and Islam and, more recently, democracy and dictatorship. Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia and the territories around them have the mixed blessing of being at the crossing-place of different cultures and political systems. However, in my memory, those 3 nations were a part of one country I was born in – USSR. The beauty of the land, hospitality and heroism, three things that are always associated with Caucasus, I learnt in childhood by reading Alexander Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov, Leo Tolstoy and watching the all-time …

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Istanbul, Turkey. July 2015

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Istanbul – the only city that lies on both continents – is a place of wonder, curiosity, immense cultural tensity, history, architecture, food and human density. It is a place to be visited by everyone at least once in their lifetime, and it won’t leave you adamant or unbiased. It is a megapolis that, to some extent, carries on the traditions of a legendary city of Constantinople, its heritage, arts and tales. I have already visited Istanbul in 2000 as a law student and I, frankly, hated it. Not the city, but the obnoxious, stalking Turkish men who followed me around. I was 20 years old, it was my first cultural experience outside Belarus, and even …

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Malta. July 2015

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I chose Malta as my wedding venue! Yes, I chose the entire island where early Christian catacombs and Byzantine walls, Muslim streets and Norman towers, megalithic temples and Knights’ forts defined the world history for thousands of years. When D. and I started to plan our wedding, we considered a few options, however, it didn’t take us long to settle on Malta as it had everything we wished for and even more (and of course, D’s great-grandma was Maltese-born). Malta isn’t just another European island. Its history goes back to the 5000 B.C. blending together the cultures of ancient Phoenicians, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Normans etc. It is home to one of the oldest European …

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