Georgian Military Highway
Georgian Military Highway Kazbegi Reviews
Georgian Military Highway Jun 17, 2011
The Georgian Military Highway has to be classified as one of the greatest drives in the world. Should the weather be clear, you will find yourself enclosed by 4000 meter tall mountains, yet looking down on huge valleys. It’s a must to be able to stop to take photos on this road. You will see wildlife in the form of eagles and goats, traditional shepherds, lonely watch towers and Soviet memorials.
The Georgian Military Highway connects Tbilisi, Georgia with and Vladikavkaz, Russia. The highway follows the traditional route used by invaders and traders throughout time. The road passes Ananuri Fortress, Jvari Pass (height 2400 meters) and the Terek valley.
The Georgian Military Highway was begun by the Russian military in 1799. After the Kingdom of Georgia was annexed by the Russian Empire in 1801, Tsar Alexander I ordered to improve the surfacing of the road to allow troop movement and communications. The highway was greatly worked on post WWII, where tunnels to protect from snow drifts were created. A lot of the work was carried out by Nazi POWs. There is a small graveyard at Jvari Pass for the dead German workers.
Although the Russian Federation border is closed on the Military Highway, on occasion the Russians do use the road for its primary purpose. During the 2008 South Ossetia crisis, the Russian Federation’s 58th Army threatened Georgia’s capital by this lifeline.
September in Georgia is hot! However, on the drive to Kazbegi it was snowing and stormy! Be prepared for extreme variations on weather.
Definitely rent a taxi for this trip, as you’re going to ask to stop for photos! Highlights of the mountain road include:
Ananuri Fortress on its turquoise lake.
A steep hairpin road up to Gudauri Ski resort.
A valley top drive looking down on watch towers and castles.
A large Soviet monument.
Javri Pass and graveyard.
Snow drift protection tunnels.
More watch towers, and finally Kazbegi.
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