Explore the Other Georgia
I took a day trip from the Georgian capital of Tbilisi and headed an hour north to the Ananuri fortress. The ancient 17th-century complex is perched on a hill overlooking the sparkling turquoise-colored Aragvi River and Zhinvali Reservoir. It offers some spectacular panoramic views of the mountains (beyond of which Chechnya lies, or so I was told), the reservoir, and the famed Georgian Military Highway. Take a walk on the beaten dirt paths that snake through the castle fortress, and stumble upon centuries-old frescoes, a bell tower, and domed churches. Make sure to bring your suit in the summer and take a dip with the local Georgians on the platform outside the fortress! Finish your day off with some hot khinkali dumplings at a nearby restaurant.
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