Flame Towers and Şəhidlər məscidi – Baku, Azerbaijan

The Flame Towers loom above every street in Baku. At night their neon displays light up the city on their own: first orange and red flames lick up the sides of the towers; then they fill up with splashes of water; then the complex turns the colours of Azerbaijan’s flag – green, red and blue. It is a needless show of wealth, but an extraordinary sight. … More Flame Towers and Şəhidlər məscidi – Baku, Azerbaijan

Photo essay: Armenia’s sorrow (Yerevan to Gyumri by train)

I arrive at Yerevan’s train station just after dawn, and buy coffee and bread from the underpass between platforms – fuel for the four-hour journey to Gyumri, Armenia’s second city.

The train is dusty and dilapidated; it has hard seats and filthy windows. It goes slowly, bumpily, its wheels making soothing clunks on the rusted tracks.

The journey is haunting. The landscape of western Armenia looks abandoned, left for dead. But this isn’t so. This rocky corner of the Caucasus is far from an unwanted wasteland: it is one of the most emotionally charged places on earth. … More Photo essay: Armenia’s sorrow (Yerevan to Gyumri by train)

Stepantsminda (Kazbegi), Georgia

In the heart of the Caucasus Mountains, close to Georgia’s border with Russia’s North Ossetia, the village of Kazbegi is a breathtaking stop along the Georgian Military Highway.

People come here for the hike to Gergeti Trinity Church – a climb of 2170 metres (7120 feet) into the mountains. The trek through farmsteads and forests, and the view from the chapel, are stunning. … More Stepantsminda (Kazbegi), Georgia