Georgia’s Stepantsminda among the most breathtakingly beautiful small towns in the world
30 September, 2017
Georgia’s Stepantsminda among the most breathtakingly beautiful small towns in the world
Thrilist, American online media brand covering food, drink, travel and entertainment, publishes very interesting article about the most amazingly beautiful small towns around the world.

The reason to be proud is that among them is Stepantsminda, also known as Kazbegi, the small highland town in north-eastern Georgia surrounded by huge Caucasus Mountains.

Stepantsminda was formerly known as Kazbegi, and the majority of people still call this beautiful little town “Kazbegi”.

Stepantsminda was named after a Georgian Orthodox monk named Stephan,
who constructed a hermitage at this location on what later became the Georgian Military Road.

The town is located 157 kilometers to the north of Tbilisi at an elevation of 1,740 meters above sea level and is distinguished for its unique nature. The place is also famous for its unique medieval Gergeti Trinity Church (Holy Trinity Church), built in the 14th century . The church stands at an elevation of 2170 meters, under Mount Kazbegi, overlooking the beautiful town of Stepantsminda.

Here is what Thrilist says about Stepantsminda:

As foxy cities go, the big ones are easy to reach -- they build airports there, after all. You want to see the vaulting domes and spires of Istanbul’s cathedrals? Punch in the airport code IST in Google Flights and you’re on your way, champ. Want to gawk at Osaka Castle during cherry blossom season? Why, that’s just an $800 nonstop from California to KIX. And then you can snap the same selfie as 50,000 other people. Congrats, sorta.

Much more rewarding for a discerning adventurer are those smaller nooks of ravishing beauty, often reachable only by car or boat or trail or ferry. On world maps these gorgeous villages and towns are marked only by the teeniest print, if they appear at all. They’ve managed to stay small despite their stunning beauty, and for that, they deserve a toast. None are secret, exactly, but their very size (held in check, often, by their remoteness) makes them all tricky to reach in their own ways. And yet we’re confident you’ll find ‘em absolutely worth the pursuit.
geotv.ge
Photo courtesy Giorgi Nikolava

Stepantsminda, Republic of Georgia

Population: 2,000

Architecture and natural beauty rarely make out this passionately. All eyes in this valley village face the hilltop 14th-century Gergeti Trinity Church and its neighboring belltower, both of which enjoy glacier-capped 16,560-foot Mount Kazbek as their backdrop.
geotv.ge
Photo courtesy David Dvali

Natural beauty aside, it’s the perfect base camp for exploring Kazbegi National Park’s hot springs, waterfalls, and acidic or carbonated lakes. You’re mere miles from the Russian border, which is not a merry conversation topic among these newly liberated, ultra-friendly Orthodox Christians. Better instead to debate white vs. red in this winery-mad country with more than 500 grape varietals and only 3.5 million souls to partake. -- Bruce Northam, American Detour
geotv.ge
Ko Phi Phi, Thailand

Population: 2,500

Ko Phi Phi island isn’t making anyone’s list of underrated anything anymore. But the throngs of tourists that pack this Thai village don’t detract from its stunning beauty. Sure, the light tan sand, turquoise waters, and towering emerald-colored limestone cliffs don’t feel like a secluded slice of paradise as much as they once did, but that makes them no less awe-inspiring. The crowds will flock to the speedboats or Bob’s Booze Cruise, and meander to Monkey Beach where bold primates saunter up and ask for food. The beach there is the same tableau of blues and greens that’s the trademark of Thai shoreline, and the friendly primates make it a light-hearted way to take in the scenery. -- Matt Meltzer
geotv.ge

Český Krumlov, Czech Republic

Population: 14,146

A small vermilion-roofed town cradled in a carpet of green sits right along an S-shaped loop of the Vltava River in Southern Bohemia. It’s but a speck on the map; yet for such a small town, Český Krumlov has managed to seal its place in history as one of the world’s most idyllic. Admire its Renaissance, Gothic, and Baroque architectural styles, the best examples of which are found in its impressive castle. Take in its old-world charm, which comes in a package of tangled streets and alleys paved with cobblestone and buildings coated with peeling paints of pale yellows, greens, and pinks. -- Michelle Rae Uy

geotv.ge
Chefchaouen, Morocco

Population: 42,786

Morocco's blue city isn’t much of a secret anymore, but the same difficult, mountainous topography that kept it safe from invaders for 500 years now keeps it relatively safe from tour buses. Though the buildings that shine white under the Moroccan sun would create a stunning contrast to the green and brown Rif Mountains around it, it’s the blue that makes this place so special. Legend has it the city was founded by Jewish and Muslim immigrants who painted the buildings blue to honor the color of the heavens. The azure streets feels like a meditative maze, at once mesmerizing and relaxing. Even when the weekend bazaars open on the steep, car-free streets, Chefchaouen feels calm, and calming. -- Matt Meltzer

You can read full story here

Related stories:

Kazbegi among 100 trips everyone should take in their lifetime

Georgia’s top romantic places

Skip the Alps – Hike Georgia’s Caucasus Mountains instead

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