Great news from The New York Times - Georgia and Azerbaijan (only 2 of the former Soviet Union countries) has been selected as recommended places to visit in 2015.
Among best places to visit in 2015 - Milan in Italy is named as first best, Cuba as second (probably lift of travel restrictions to Cuba is playing a major role here), Philadelphia, USA - third.
Georgia (listed #25)
A wine revival at the foot of the Caucasus.
Written by Robyn Eckhardt
Georgia has all the makings of the next great wine destination: the world’s longest-running unbroken wine tradition (underground fermentation in clay vessels), hundreds of indigenous grape varieties, stunning landscapes and a band of vintners espousing natural methods. Its output has all become easier to sample, too, thanks to wine bars in the capital, Tbilisi (Konka, Vino Underground), a marked wine trail in Kakheti and wineries (Pheasant’s Tears, Iago’s Winery, Winery Khareba) serving traditional and modern Georgian cuisine. Those varietals will be feted this year at four major events: the New Wine Festival, Wine City Tbilisi at Tbilisifest, Telavino and the Tbilisi Cheese Festival.TasteGeorgia, a new local venture, can arrange food and wine tours, private meals with winemakers and tastings in Kakheti and beyond.
Azerbaijan (listed #51)
Oil fuels an architecture and tourism boom.
Written by David Farley
Baku’s mix of ancient culture and Dubai-style extravagance is putting it on the tourist map at last. A second oil boom — the first was in the early 20th century — in the Azeri capital has brought enormous wealth to this city on the shores of the Caspian Sea, and with it, a new skyline. The government has recently been converting oil money into rich architectural projects that encircle the Unesco-protected walled historical center. Eye-catching additions include the Flame Towers, three tongue-shaped 600-foot-tall skyscrapers (one housing a Fairmont Hotel), flames dancing on their facades, and the undulating white waves of the Zaha Hadid-designed Heydar Aliyev Center. New luxury hotels include a Four Seasons, Hilton andKempinski; this summer, the 33-floor sail-like Trump International Hotel & Tower Baku will join them — and just in time for the very first European Games, a multi-sport Olympics-like event, taking place in June.