Imagine an undiscovered pocket of medieval Europe. Not some over-sanitised over-run enclave tucked away in the Alps, but situated in far-off mountains somewhere to the east of Turkey!
A place where one can come across a stupendous Romanesque cathedral in the middle of nowhere; no running the gauntlet of car parks and tour coaches, gift shops and cafes, nothing more than sheep grazing in fields that run up to the walls. A magnificently rich heritage of churches, monasteries and frescoes, of spectacular ruined castles perched on mountain crags and walled towns all set against the majestic backdrop of the Caucasus Mountains.
Georgia is all this and more. Still largely undiscovered, few realise the astonishing wealth and diversity beyond the capital Tbilisi. A marvellous cluster of many cultures, ancient history, extraordinary medieval dwelling towers, mountain top churches, unique cuisine and breathtaking high mountain villages only approachable by 4x4s.
Most of all, Georgia is its people, an ancient people with a sense of tradition, of honour, of value. A people whose appreciation of beauty, poetry and song is legendary and whose warmth and spirit reach out to the visitor. Together with its rich architecture and magnificent landscapes, Georgia is utterly beguiling.
Roger Peers’ illustrated lecture on the undiscovered Caucasus will take place at Dorset County Museum on Wednesday 20 March at 7.30pm. The talk is free although a donation of £3 is encouraged, and all are welcome. Advance booking is not required.