We left the wine region of Georgia, heading northeast up into the mountains that border the Russian Federation. It was a long drive but a beautiful one, with its more rural landscape until we turned north onto what is known as the Military Highway, the primary route into Russia.
Our first stop was Ananuri, a 17th fortress that included two church’s and defensive towers. It is located in eastern Georgia in the municipality of Dusheti, along the Georgian Military Highway. It overlooks the head of the Zhinvali Reservoir, over 1800 feet above sea level. The ancient structures include an upper and lower fortress, bell tower, and accessory buildings. It was the residence of the King’s officials in 1743 and became the crossroads of trade routes that led to the development of trade in the region.