The Caucasus is a region between the Black and Caspian seas that contains the Caucasus Mountains. It is known for its linguistic diversity: aside from Indo-European and Turkic languages, the Kartvelian, Northwest Caucasian, and Northeast Caucasian families are indigenous to the area. Politically, the Caucasus region is separated between northern and southern parts. The southern parts consist of independent sovereign states, and the northern parts are under the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation. It is home to the Caucasus Mountains, which contain Europe's highest mountain, Mount Elbrus.
Amazing story of Caucasus Region
- It is mountainous region and famous for its spectacular peaks including Mt. Elbrus that divides the region into the North Caucasus and the South Caucasus. The North Caucasus includes Dagestan, Chechnya, and other small republics that are part of today’s Russian Federation. The South Caucasus is comprised of the independent states of Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan.
- The Caucasus is culturally diverse region and the map shows the borders that separate the political entities in the Caucasus, but in fact crossing from Georgia to Chechnya involves traversing high mountain passes that are open only part of the year or using one of a few strategic tunnels. Such natural barriers mean that many groups in the region have existed in isolation for millennia.
- Historical roots in the region are indeed impressive: Petroglyphs from 10,000 years ago can be found in Azerbaijan and Georgia is the site of the world’s first cultivation of grapes for wine, some 8,000 years ago.
- The Caucasus region is surrounded by “dangerous neighbourhood’’ because in its historical perspective the regional clans and nations always encounter with wars and invasions which are also prevail today. For example, more than 30,000 people died in a conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Chechnya is the best example where hardly a week goes by without bombings or shootings that kill a dozen people.
- This region is a strategically crucial region occupying a narrow neck of land between two bodies of water and is one of only two ways to reach the Middle East from Europe by land. Merchants used to have a choice of three unappealing routes – either risk travelling by sea, take the route across the Balkans and Turkey or go through the Caucasus.
- This region has been part of the Russian Empire, the Crimean Khanate, the Ottoman Empire and Persia as well as the home of a multitude of independent states. Throughout the 19th century, the Caucasus was a battleground for various players fighting for access to the Caspian Sea. The Soviet era was the only time when there were no wars in the region.
- The highest peak is Mount Elbrus (18,510 ft.) which is considered the highest point in Europe located in this region that formed over twenty million years when the Arabian tectonic plate collided with the Eurasian plate.
- According to the Greek mythology the Caucasus, or Kaukasos, was one of the pillars supporting the world. After presenting man with the gift of fire, Prometheus (or Amirani in Georgian version) was chained there by Zeus, to have his liver eaten daily by an eagle as punishment for defying Zeus' wish to keep the "secret of fire" from humans.
- The Roman poet Ovid placed Caucasus in Scythia and depicted it as a cold and stony mountain which was the abode of personified hunger. The Greek hero Jason sailed to the west coast of the Caucasus in pursuit of the Golden Fleece, and there met Medea, a daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis.
- According to the Persian mythology, the Caucasus region is often identified with the mythic Cafcuh or Mount Qaf which means surround the known world. It is the battlefield of Saoshyant and the nest of the Simurgh.