Gergeti Church, Stepantsminda, Caucasus Mountains, Georgia by Philipp Harald

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We awoke early one morning in Stepandsminda to watch the sunrise over Mt Kazbek and the Gergeti Orthodox church, only to find the morning totally overcast. Eventually we were rewarded with a wonderful backlit scene as the clouds parted under the warming rays of the rising sun, and a ray of light briefly illuminated a hill behind the church.

The Gergeti Trinity Orthodox Church is a delightful structure which has survived since the 14th century. It lies at elevation 2170 meters near the base of Mt Kazbek, on the Georgia-Russia border in the Caucasus mountain range. Mt Kazbek itself is a large dormant volcano; the surrounding terrain is composed of loose rock, ash, and basalt; the region is subject to sporadic earthquakes which demolish weaker structures. This region is also known for it's ski slopes which are becoming quite popular with European tourists.

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