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This is the Ossetian St. George.  It’s attached to a cliff along the road from Vladikavkaz in North Ossetia to Tskhinvali in South Ossetia.

Both straddle the Caucasus Mountains between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea.  North Ossetia is a part of Russia — but South Ossetia is a country that doesn’t exist.

There are, in fact, four such hidden countries in Europe – states with their own governments exercising sovereign control over the area within their borders, yet whose existence is ignored and unrecognized by the UN and almost every other country in the world.

In addition to South Ossetia, they are Abkhazia, Transnistria, and Srpska.  You read about the latter two last year:

Srpska in Tectonic Europe (May 2016), and Transnistria in Where The Soviet Union Still Exists (August 2016).

Each of the Countries That Don’t Exist are uniquely fascinating –  with their own history, culture, beauty, and charm.  All are mysterious and unknown to the outside world.

The number of Americans who have ever heard of these countries is tiny – the number who have actually been to any one of them far tinier.  Almost no one, American or anyone else, has been to all four.  Would you like to come with me to all four at once?  You’ll be astounded by what you’ll see, experience and learn if you do.

Abkhazia lies along the Black Sea Riviera, strewn with pretty beaches and palm-studded ocean promenades.  Yet it also boasts turquoise gems like the Blue Lake in the Caucasus and one of the world’s most spectacular Christian church complexes, the New Athos Monastery:

South Ossetia is in the center of the Caucasus that dwarf the Alps, and the friendliest kids you’ll ever meet:

There’s also ancient castles in the sky, and the mysterious Dargavs City of the Dead:

Transnistria may be lost in a Soviet-time warp, but it also makes really good brandy in the world’s largest brandy distillery:

Srpska has overcome its history to be a haven of devout and welcoming Christianity.  The cathedrals are magnificent, while the countryside is a place of tranquil beauty.

We can experience all this and a lot more at the end of summer:  From August 25 to September 8.  If you’d like the full itinerary, just email me at [email protected] or [email protected].

You’ll come home with memories you’ll never forget about incredibly fascinating places no one else you know has heard of.  Plus TTPers always have a wonderful time together.  I hope you’ll consider joining me.

Oh, I almost forgot – there’s an option for us to go to another mysterious hidden place that’s also unknown – the Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea of Kaliningrad.  We’ll even venture out along the “Curonian Spit” to the Dancing Forest:

The full itinerary has a lot of links and photos.  Just email me to get it: [email protected] or [email protected].

Remember:  Life is short – the time for a great adventure is now.  Let’s have that adventure together.