Every year, more than one million visitors step foot into Canterbury Cathedral in south-west England. Considered one of the oldest and most famous Christian churches in England, the Unesco World Heritage site dates back some 1,400 years, predating the country itself.
The cathedral’s role as an important pilgrimage site is inextricably linked to the murder of its most famous archbishop: Thomas Becket. After a long feud, King Henry II is believed to have ordered the murder of Becket in 1170. Shortly afterwards, a series of miracles were said to take place, leading Canterbury to become one of Europe’s most famous pilgrimage sites.
This is exactly what happened in Georgia’s southern Samtskhe-Javakheti region in the 1500s. For centuries, this key wine making region was home to ancient Georgians who lived in hollowed-out caves in the nearby volcanic rock and constructed terraced vineyards down its slopes. In the 1550s, invading Ottoman Turks destroyed Samtskhe-Javakheti’s vineyards and went on to rule the area for more than 300 years.
Yet, in recent years, locals have begun replanting indigenous grapes, restoring their ancestors’ once-proud terraced vineyards to their former glory and harvesting wine in the region for the first time in 400 years.