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Research Team
Relive the day's action and insights with daily journal entries, digital photos, audio reports and more. Select one of the teams below to visit their latest entry.

Field Team
Follow Pat O'Hara's search for the perfect moment in the national parks of the Eastern Caucasus. Eleanor O'Hanlon reports, with photos by Russell Sparkman.

Georgia veteran Peter Nasmyth returns to guide us into the history and heritage of the region. Denise Rocco captures it all in digital images.

April 29:
In Ancient Groves

April 28:
Batumi and Beyond

April 26:
Fly Tusheti Air

April 25:
An Image of Eden

April 24:
The Road of Friendship

April 22:
Patriarch of the Forest

April 21:
Monastery in the Desert

April 20:
Vashlovani Reserve

April 19:
The Living Pillar

April 18:
Preparing for the Journey

April 17:
Georgian Table

April 12:
Tbilisi Overview

Email Teams in Georgia


Previous Dispatch

As if in admiration of the view, the monk's cells of the original Lavra monastery are carved lovingly into the pink sandstone cliffs. It's one of those rare places where man's work and nature seem to complement each other. Inside the gate a message confirms this, asking that guests respect the silence. "Dress and behave quietly," it reads.

The friendly, bearded Father Superior directs us up to the ridgetop and the second monastery, Udabno ("desert"). Here we feel the full impact of David-Gareja: a vast empty valley stretches away dozens of kilometers southward with an extraordinary silence. It opens out before us like a huge empty bell that never rings. Not a single human event exists as far as the eye can see. Suddenly one realizes just how rare silence is, and how urgently it should be preserved. A team of three dogs mysteriously joins us and sits quietly on the ridge, their red tongues hanging out, eyes staring out into the vacuum.

Zaza leads us through the row of mostly 12th century caves along the ridge with their magnificent, pastel colored frescos of saints and religious scenes. The Last Supper, angels, holy warriors, guardians, cross mandalas seem to glow out of the rock as if they were living inside.

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Dog in Contemplation

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