Lying at the crossroads between Europe and Asia (Russia to the north and Turkey to the south), Georgia also has a western coast on the Black Sea. It's northern boundary with Russia is formed by the rugged chain of the Caucasus Mountains which includes such peaks as Elbrus (5633m), Europe's highest summit, and the striking Mount Kazbek (5047m). Georgia enjoyed a period of political and economic strength as long ago as the 12th century, under Queen Tamar, but this was followed by successive incursions by the Mongols, the Persians and by the Ottoman Empire. In 1921, the country was incorporated into Soviet Union, a situation which persisted for 70 years. It is only in the last 10 years that economic reform and stability have led to the opening up of Georgia for foreign travellers. With its capital at Tbilisi, this is a country that has traditionally prospered through its agriculture; growing grapes (for wine) where conditions allow and herding sheep in the highest valleys. Increasingly, tourism is playing its part, with resorts along the Black Sea and great opportunities for trekking and climbing in the most mountainous regions.