The Caucasus mountains rise at the intersection of Europe, Russia, and the Middle East. A land of astonishing natural beauty and a dizzying array of ancient cultures, the Caucasus for most of the twentieth century lay inside the Soviet Union, before movements of national liberation created newly independent countries and sparked the devastating war in Chechnya.Combining riveting storytelling with insightful analysis, The Ghost of Freedom is the first general history of the modern Caucasus, stretching from the beginning of Russian imperial expansion up to the rise of new countries after the Soviet Union's collapse. In evocative and accessible prose, Charles King reveals how tsars, highlanders, revolutionaries, and adventurers have contributed to the fascinating history of this borderland, providing an indispensable guide to the complicated histories, politics, and cultures of this intriguing frontier. Based on new research in multiple languages, the book shows how the struggle for freedom in the mountains, hills, and plains of the Caucasus has been a perennial theme over the last two hundred years--a struggle which has led to liberation as well as to new forms of captivity. The book sheds valuable light on the origins of modern disputes, including the ongoing war in Chechnya, conflicts in Georgia and Azerbaijan, and debates over oil from the Caspian Sea and its impact on world markets.Ranging from the salons of Russian writers to the circus sideshows of America, from the offices of European diplomats to the villages of Muslim mountaineers, The Ghost of Freedom paints a rich portrait of one of the world's most turbulent and least understood regions.
This new edition of The Caucasus is a thorough update of an essential guide that has introduced thousands of readers to a complex region. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and the break-away territories that have tried to split away from them constitute one of the most diverse and challenging regions on earth, impressing the visitor with their multi-layered history and ethnic complexity. Over the last few years, the South Caucasus region has captured international attention again because of disputes between the West and Russia, its unresolved conflicts, and its role as an energy transport corridor to Europe. The Caucasus gives the reader a historical overview and an authoritative guide to the three conflicts that have blighted the region. Thomas de Waal tells the story of the "Five-Day War" between Georgia and Russia and recent political upheavals in all three countries. He also finds time to tell the reader about Georgian wine, Baku jazz and how the coast of Abkhazia was known as "Soviet Florida." Short, stimulating and rich in detail, The Caucasus is the perfect guide to this fascinating and little-understood region.
Georgia has been called the world’s most beautiful country, yet only little is known about it beyond its borders. This topical and vital book by the “ideal chronicler” (Literary Review) Peter Nasmyth is the perfect and much-celebrated introduction to its remarkable people, landscape, and culture.Over its 3,000-year-old history, Georgia has been ruled by everyone from the Greeks to the Ottomans, became a coveted part of the Russian Empire for a hundred years, and was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1921. In twenty-five years, Georgia has undergone a dramatic socioeconomical and political transformation, and although its political situation remains precarious, Georgia’s strong sense of nationhood has reinvigorated the country.Vivid and comprehensive, Nasmyth’s Georgia: In the Mountains of Poetry is a unique eyewitness account of Georgia’s rebirth and creates an unforgettable portrait of its remarkable landscape, history, people and culture. Based on personal experience and offering fascinating insights into the life of ordinary and high profile Georgians, it is essential reading for anyone who does not yet know, or wants to know more, of this astonishing place.
Armenia: Art, Religion, and Trade in the Middle Ages
By: Helen C. Evans
A fascinating exploration of art created by the varied Armenian kingdoms that connected the East and West during the Middle Ages As the first people to officially convert to Christianity, Armenians commissioned and produced astonishing religious objects. This sumptuous volume depicts and contextualizes the compelling works of art that defined the rich and complicated culture of medieval Armenians, including carvings, liturgical furnishings, beautifully illustrated manuscripts, gilded reliquaries, exquisite textiles, printed books, and more. Situated at the center of trade routes that connected the East and West during the Middle Ages, Armenia became a leading international trade partner for Seljuk, Mongol, Ottoman, and Persian overlords, while also serving as a powerful ally to Byzantium and European Crusader states. Written by a team of international scholars, with contributions from Armenian religious leaders, this book will stand as the definitive text on the art and culture of medieval Armenia.
~CLASSIC POETRY OF AZERBAIJAN~ ~An Anthology~ Translation & Introduction Paul Smith Here is one of the few anthologies in English of the greatest poets of Azerbaijan in the classic period, from the 11th to the 17th century. All the poems translated here in the forms of the ghazal, masnavi, ruba’i, qit’a and qasida have been kept to the correct rhyme and meaning. The poets are… Qatran, Mahsati, Mujir, Khaqani, Nizami, Shabistari, Humam, Kadi Buran-ud-din, Nasim Anwar, Nesimi, Khata’i, Fuzuli and Sa’ib. There is an Introduction on Various Forms in the Classical Poetry of Azerbaijan and biographies and further reading options on all of these always engrossing and powerful, beautiful, mysterious, often romantic and spiritual and often Sufi poets. Included is the female poet Mahsati, one of the greatest poets of the east and Nizami, one of the greatest poets of all time. 231 pages. COMMENTS ON PAUL SMITH’S TRANSLATION OF HAFIZ’S ‘DIVAN’. “It is not a joke... the English version of ALL the ghazals of Hafiz is a great feat and of paramount importance. I am astonished. ” Dr. Mir Mohammad Taghavi (Dr. of Literature) Tehran. “Superb translations. 99% Hafiz 1% Paul Smith.” Ali Akbar Shapurzman, translator from English into Persian, knower of Hafiz’s Divan off by heart. “Smith has probably put together the greatest collection of literary facts and history concerning Hafiz.” Daniel Ladinsky (Penguin Books author). Paul Smith is a poet, author and translator of many books of Sufi poets of the Persian, Arabic, Urdu, Turkish, Pashtu and other languages… including Hafiz, Sadi, Nizami, Rumi, ‘Attar, Sana’i, Jahan Khatun, Obeyd Zakani, Mu’in, Amir Khusrau, Nesimi, Kabir, Anvari, Ansari, Jami, Omar Khayyam, Rudaki, Yunus Emre, Mahsati, Lalla Ded, Bulleh Shah, Shah Latif, Makhfi, Mansur Hallaj, Majnun, Khaqani, Iqbal, Nazir Akbarabadi, Shabastari, Baba Farid and many others, as well as his own poetry, fiction, plays, biographies, children’s books and more than a dozen screenplays. www.newhumanitybooksbookheaven.com
Bread and Ashes: A Walk Through the Mountains of Georgia
By: Tony Anderson
Tony Anderson set out in the summer of 1998 to walk through Georgia. He wanted particularly to visit the Georgian mountain tribes - Tush, Khevsurs, Ratchuelians and Svans - to discover if they shared a common mountain culture, and to test the old idea of the Caucasus as an impenetrable barrier from sea to sea. From Azerbaijan to Svaneti, Anderson found communities where the old customs and beliefs still triumphantly survive, despite years of Communist oppression and the terrible uncertainties since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Throughout his journey Anderson refers back to many other visits to Georgia, to the politics of independence, to the war in Abkhazia and Ossetia, to the civil war and Shevardnadze's accession to power, to the history of these people at one of the great crossroads of the world. It remains an abiding mystery that Georgia has managed to survive at all, devastated time and again by the vagabond hordes from the steppes and torn between the mighty empires that struggled over it. But survive it has with a vibrant culture still intact and, in the mountains, still deeply connected to its ancient ways.
Azerbaijan - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
By: Nikki Kazimova, Culture Smart!
For Westerners, the modern state of Azerbaijan may be hard to pinpoint. This small, oil-rich country in the southern Caucasus, on the southwestern shore of the Caspian Sea, only made its way on to the contemporary world map after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. As the world shrinks and competition for precious resources intensifies, the direction this strategically and economically important country takes will affect us all. The historically tolerant and pluralist Azeri people have an ancient history and a rich culture. Azerbaijan lay on the route of the Great Silk Road, the trade network that connected China with Europe, and its people have lived through centuries of conquests by different imperial powers. It was also situated in the heart of the Great Game, the struggle for control of Central Asia played out between Russia and the West at the turn on the nineteenth century, which seems to be going through a modern remake. Azerbaijan has been called “the quintessential borderland, many times over: between Europe and Asia, Islam and Christianity, Russia and the Middle East, Turks and Iranians, Shi’a and Sunni Islam.” Azerbaijan was briefly independent after the First World War, when it was the first Muslim state to adopt progressive Western values. A democratic republic with full women’s suffrage, it boasted the first women’s high school, the first opera, and the first female opera composer, as well as the first ballet in the Muslim world. There followed seventy years of Soviet rule. After a bitter war in 1991–94, areas of Azerbaijan were occupied by neighboring Armenia, and the country has absorbed a huge number of refugees. At the same time, it is experiencing a new oil boom and the economy is growing. Among the people, there is a growing sense of national identity. Culture Smart! Azerbaijan looks at the many facets of this identity and explains the complex workings of Azerbaijani society. It will equip you with vital information and advice about the customs, practices, and sensibilities of a society poised on the brink of change.
Georgia - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
By: Natia Abramia, Culture Smart!
Georgia lies between Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East, on the southeastern shore of the Black Sea. This small Caucasian country is used to playing a significant role in global geopolitics, and its strategic location at the crossroads of different civilizations has been a curse as well as a blessing. Once a battlefield of the Christian and Muslim worlds, today it is caught between its NATO aspirations and its location in Russia’s backyard. The Silk Road brought the best of the world to Georgia. Its ancient Christian culture shows the influence of Arab, Persian, and Ottoman conquerors. Combined with this is a southern, “Mediterranean” feel, traces of the Soviet legacy, and a strong Western influence. What awaits the visitor is a unique culture that goes back thousands of years. Georgia has a rich historical heritage, wonderful food and wines, unforgettable scenery, authentic folk music and dances, an attractive business climate, and an educated and hospitable people for whom indulging a guest is more a religion than a duty. Culture Smart! Georgia offers invaluable insights and practical tips for tourists and business people alike. The author, Natia Abramia, guides you through the past and present-day realities of her motherland, explaining what makes people tick, how they live and feel, and how to get on with them. You will discover that the Georgians will not let you down. Learn how to reach their hearts, and they will charm you back.
Armenia - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture
By: Susan Solomon
Culture Smart! provides essential information on attitudes, beliefs and behavior in different countries, ensuring that you arrive at your destination aware of basic manners, common courtesies, and sensitive issues. These concise guides tell you what to expect, how to behave, and how to establish a rapport with your hosts. This inside knowledge will enable you to steer clear of embarrassing gaffes and mistakes, feel confident in unfamiliar situations, and develop trust, friendships, and successful business relationships. Culture Smart! offers illuminating insights into the culture and society of a particular country. It will help you to turn your visit-whether on business or for pleasure-into a memorable and enriching experience. Contents include: * customs, values, and traditions * historical, religious, and political background * life at home * leisure, social, and cultural life * eating and drinking * do's, don'ts, and taboos * business practices * communication, spoken and unspoken