Samtskhe-Javakheti is a region that never stops surprising visitors, from the mineral springs of Borjomi to the ancient cave city of Vardzia. Historically one of the most important cultural centres in Georgia, much of the region today is virtually unknown to tourists, but this ancient land of cave cities and hilltop monasteries is once again opening its doors to the outside world – specially now that a new road means you can get here in just two hours from Tbilisi. It is a mountainous, volcanic region, traversed by ravines, springs and lakes, as well as large and fast moving rivers. But this diverse landscape provides a perfect cultivation area for the production of some of Georgia’s most famous and best known traditional foods. Samtskhe-Javakheti’s location at the crossroads of three civilizations contributed to an intense development of relations between the ancient cultures of Georgia, Asia Minor, and the Middle East. Archaeological remains show that the area was particularly advanced by the Bronze Age and developed further through the medieval period. Today many monuments still stand to tell their remarkable stories and no modern traveller’s journey to Georgia is complete without a visit to one or more of the Saro and Abuli castles, or Akhaltsikhe fortress, Safara and Zarzma Monastery complexes, Vardzia cave town, or the incredible mineral springs in Borjomi.