Georgia: A Sovereign Country of the Caucasus (Odyssey Guides) (英語) ペーパーバック – 2004/9/30
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This long-awaited revised third edition to the original and most comprehensive guidebook in English about Georgia reflects the tumultuous geopolitical reality of the country in the new millennium. Bordered by the Caucasus Mountains to the north, the Black Sea to the west, Azerbaijan to the east and Turkey to the south, Georgia stands at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and as such occupies an extremely strategic position along the Silk Route. This fascinating land is home to one of the most hospitable people in the world whose culture dates back to the Bronze Age. This guide explores the various regions of the country in depth, focusing on the Golden Age of Georgian culture in art and architecture during the medieval period but by no means neglecting the bar and restaurant scene of today. Literary excerpts from renowned Georgian and European authors, as well as from the national epic, The Knight in the Panther's Skin, provide added insight. This is the guide to have when touring the Caucasus and the one the New York Times called, "the best guidebook to Georgia."
- This guide explores an extraordinarily beautiful country which at the same time has enormous strategic importance within the region
- Comprehensive study of the country's religion, art and architecture
- Literary excerpts provide an insight into a culture little known in the West
- Detailed section on local food, wine and Georgian hospitality
- Overview of business environment
- Authoritative history of Georgia from tribal rule to national independence
- Useful websites
- 101 color photographs
- 22 maps and plans
"The most comprehensive and insightful guide to Georgia that I can imagine."
Regrettably, however, this very affection soon becomes one of the book's many, many flaws. Rosen's style is florid to the point of being laugh-out-loud funny: open any page at random and you're sure to find a sentence gushing with the moonstruck hyperbolic excesses of a hopeless sentimentalist. (Wish I could now provide examples, but I abandoned my copy of the book in Georgia.) Much worse, though, is the book's utter, utter uselessness as a travel guide. Rosen provides no practical information whatsoever for the independent traveler: where to stay, where to eat, how to get from point A to point B. Some phones and addresses for hotels and a very few for restaurants--the vast majority of them in Tbilisi--are appended without comment at the very end of the book, but no descriptions are provided, and no value judgments about the quality of the places are made. This is a "guide" wholly without "guidance"! Nor does the author get off the well-beaten tourist-track: nearly a third of the book is devoted just to Tbilisi, while entire regions (Guria, Racha, Kvemo Kartli and Samegrelo) are glossed over in a paragraph or two. Fabulous places like Bakhmaro don't merit so much as a mention.
How then does the author fill his 300-odd pages? With long-winded disquisitions on the art, architecture and history of the country. Some of this is interesting, some not, but none of it is useful once you're actually in Georgia. Fine to go on for pages and pages about the history of Gelati Monastery, for example, but the only thing you need to know once you're on the road is how to get there easily from Kutaisi...the one piece of information this book doesn't provide.
So, as PRE-DEPARTURE background reading, the book isn't completely without merit, especially for those who know little or nothing about the history of the Caucasus. (Some "background" areas where you'd expect to Rosen to be good, however, he comes up inexplicably short. I'm thinking particularly of the perfunctory sections on Georgian language and Georgian cuisine.) To actually help you get around Georgia, though, you're better off with any other travel guide. Tellingly, I lived in Georgia for nearly two years, and the entire time I was there this book sat gathering dust on my shelf, while whenever I needed some practical information I referred to the older Lonely Planet or Bradt guides--both flawed themselves, but far superior to this effort.
Visiting Georgia is not like visiting Europe, but if you are a traveler that doesn't mind things being a little unpredictable or a little rustic, or likes out of the ordinary trips like the Middle East, South America, etc. you'll have no problem. The warm-hearted hospitality of the Georgian people, their culture, food and wine, more than makes up for the problems of a country still pulling itself together after the ravages of communism.
The book covers a little of everthing - history, culture, information, maps, and of course beautiful photos of Georgia and its people. If there is a better guide to Georgia here in the U.S. I haven't come across it.