North Ossetia-Alania

Deep into the Caucasus

The North Caucasian Republic of North Ossetia-Alania is one of a series of semi-autonomous Russian republics stretching from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea.  Like the other republics and countries in the region, it is steeped in history and has often been at the mercy of successive empires jockeying for power over the mountain […]

Dagestan

From the Caucasus to the Caspian

The mountainous Republic of Dagestan lies at the eastern reaches of Russia’s North Caucasus region on the Caspian Sea coast.  Sandwiched between Chechnya to the west and Azerbaijan and Georgia to the south, this relatively little-known corner of the world offers the visitor stunning scenery, a wealth of history and some remarkably good wines.  Its […]

The Mosaics of Tunisia

An insight into life in Roman times

Following on from my previous posting about Tunisia, this post focuses exclusively on the country’s fabulous mosaics.  I do not usually do single issue posts, but the mosaics were so impressive it seemed a pity to only show a couple of pictures of them. Mosaics are images made from putting together small roughly square pieces […]

Tunisia

A Kaleidoscope of Culture

The North African country of Tunisia is a place I had wanted to visit for some time.  Earlier this year, I finally got myself organised, booked a hotel and hopped on a plane.  I was not disappointed with the experience. Tunisia lies at the eastern end of the Atlas Mountains. Although the Sahara desert reaches […]

Djibouti

Salt Lakes, Deserts and Dying Forests

Djibouti is one of Africa’s smallest countries.  Located in the Horn of Africa between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somaliland, it has just 850,000 inhabitants.  It used to be a French colony, but in 1977 became independent.  Alongside Arabic, French is still an official language and there’s a clear French influence in the country’s cuisine. Djibouti’s strategic […]

2016 – A Retrospective

2016 was a year full of surprises for many people.  Looking back on it, few people – myself included – were sad to see the year end. But then I began going through my photographs of 2016.  I realised that, beyond the year’s horrible headlines, I can look back on some great moments and trips to fascinating […]

Isfahan

Boulevards and Bridges, Palaces and Parks

Isfahan is a highlight of any visit to Iran.  A city of boulevards and bridges, palaces and parks, mosques and minarets, it retains much of its past glory and is famous for its Persian–Islamic architecture.  With a strategic position on the main north–south and east–west routes crossing Iran, the city was once ranked alongside Baghdad […]

Shiraz

Of Nightingales and Roses, Waterways and Wine

Shiraz, in the south of Iran, is known as the city of roses and nightingales.  It’s also renowned for its poets, literature and wine.  Indeed, it’s from Shiraz that the eponymous grape, so beloved of wine drinkers, comes – although under the country’s strict alcohol laws you’d struggle to find any wine on sale here. […]