Monday, September 6, 2010

Visit To The Caucasus

Visit To The Caucasus

The Caucasus hotspot spans 532,658 km² in the nations of
Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, the North Caucasian portion of the
Russian Federation, the northeastern part of Turkey, and a part of
northwestern Iran. In the southern reaches, this hotspot integrades with
the Irano-Anatolian Hotspot.The topography of the Caucasus comprises
the Greater Caucasus Range, the Lesser Caucasus Mountain Chain, the
South Caucasian Uplands, and the Transcaucasian Depression, between
the Greater Caucasus Range and the Lesser Caucasus Mountain Chain.
More than 2,000 glaciers cover 1,450 km² in the Greater Caucasus
Range. The northern third of the hotspot is the broad North Caucasus
Plain, the eastern part of which is below sea level. Climate throughout the
region is variable, with annual rainfall ranging from as little as 150
millimeters in the eastern part of the hotspot on the Caspian Coast to
more than 4,000 millimeters in the coastal mountains along the Black Sea.

The vegetation of the Caucasus is also quite diverse. In the northern part
of the hotspot, grassland steppes in the west transition to semidesert
ecosystems, and then to desert in the east. In the central Transcaucasian
Depression, swamp forests, steppes, and arid woodlands are replaced by
semideserts and deserts along the Caspian Sea. Scattered throughout the
hotspot are broadleaf forests, montane coniferous forests, and
shrublands. There are two refugia of Tertiary flora in the region: the
Colchis in the catchment basin of the Black Sea, and the Hyrcanian in the
extreme southeastern end of the Caucasus on the Caspian Sea coast.

The word Caucasus derives from Caucas, the purported ancestor of the
North Caucasians. He was a son of Togarmah, grandson of Biblical Noah’s
third son Japheth. According to Leonti Mroveli after the fall of the Tower of
Babel and the division of humanity into different languages, Togarmah
settled with his sons: Kartlos, Haik, Movakos, Lekos, Heros, Kavkas, and
Egros between two inaccessible mountains, presumably Mount Ararat and
Mount Elbrus.The lower parts of the Caucasus Mountains are situated in
the Greater Middle East area. They are generally perceived to be a
dividing line between Asia and Europe, and territories in Caucasia are
alternately considered to be in one or both continents. The highest peak in
the Caucasus is Mount Elbrus in the western Ciscaucasus in Russia, which
is the highest point in Europe.The Caucasus is one of the most
linguistically and culturally diverse regions on Earth. The nation states that
comprise the Caucasus today are the post-Soviet states Georgia,
Armenia, and Azerbaijan. The Russian divisions include Krasnodar Krai,
Stavropol Krai, and the autonomous republics of Adygea, Karachay-
Cherkessia, Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Chechnya,
and Dagestan. Three territories in the region claim independence but are
not universally acknowledged as nation-states by the international
community: Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh and South Ossetia.

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