Travel Guide to Transylvania: Brasov, Bran and Dracula’s Castle

Travel Guide to Transylvania: Brasov, Bran and Dracula’s Castle

Transylvania, the storied territory west of Romania's Carpathian Mountains, can make for an entire trip on its own, or an unforgettable shore excursion from a Danube River cruise. Thanks to Bram Stoker's famous novel, Dracula, there's hardly a soul in the world who hasn't heard of Transylvania. We are all familiar with the spooky, forbidding atmosphere invoked by Stoker in his novel, but what is Transylvania really like? Read More



Top 5 Reasons to Love the South Caucasus

Top 5 Reasons to Love the South Caucasus

Located between the Black and Caspian Seas, the South Caucasus region plays host to dozens of languages, religions, musical styles and landscapes. For such a small region, the South Caucasus countries of Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan offer a staggering amount variety... and things to love. Read More


A Monastery Hike at Georgia’s David Gareja

A Monastery Hike at Georgia’s David Gareja

The David Gareja monastery complex, on Georgia’s southeastern border with Azerbaijan, is a long-established site of great significance for Georgians. Founded in the 6th century, the complex is still active today and features numerous cells carved straight into the bare rock face. These caves function as living quarters, refectories, chapels, libraries and rooms for instruction and silent meditation. Read More



Yerevan’s Cascade: Armenia’s Beacon of Art and Design

Yerevan’s Cascade: Armenia’s Beacon of Art and Design

Right in the heart of Yerevan stands a towering monument of art and design built into the northern slope of the city. It is called the Cascade, and it's home to the Cafesjian Center for the Arts. The monument is comprised of a series of escalators and exterior stairs that “cascade” down from the Monument neighborhood to the lower Kentron district near Yerevan’s Opera House. There is remarkable art to behold at several levels along the journey. But this ambitious project seemed like a distant dream for decades before its completion. Read More



Russian Cat Professionals: In the Home and at the Library

Russian Cat Professionals: In the Home and at the Library

Here on the MIR blog, we have been discussing cats in Russia, specifically in St. Petersburg. Previous entries have highlighted the hard-working “Hermitage Cats” who protect the world-famous museum from mice and other intruders, and the first cat cafe in Russia, the St. Petersburg “Cats' Republic” cafe, where visitors can commune with over two dozen cats for an hour at a time. Now our examination of cat culture in Russia takes us further afield, to Moscow, the Black Sea port city of Novorossiysk, and beyond to discover Russia's growing class of proletarian cats. Read More


From rags to riches in Russia: St. Petersburg’s “Hermitage Cats”

From rags to riches in Russia: St. Petersburg’s “Hermitage Cats”

People go to the Hermitage to admire the vast collection of art and artifacts from all over the world dating from prehistoric times all the way to the present day. But as they wander the halls of the stately Winter Palace on St. Petersburg's Neva River, most visitors don't know that a separate Hermitage collection exists in the basement – a collection of cats. Read More