The Caucasus is not a physical or political geography, but a cultural geography. The member states or ethnic groups of this cultural area are Georgians, Armenians and Azerbaijanis. It is a small region of great contrasts and has always been of geopolitical importance to the larger nations that surround it - Russia in the north and Turkey and Iran in the south. For centuries, the North Caucasus, as a borderland to European Russia, has been the literal and symbolic border between Europe and Asia. However, it is the Transcaucasian region, made up of the now independent countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. Over the centuries, the Caucasus has attracted the imagination of travelers. As you can see from the shortest historical chronologies, These were countries involved in near-constant conflicts, wars, forced migrations, massacres, ethnic cleansing, invasions, conquests and reconquests, with borders that shifted in response to every catastrophic event. Nevertheless, each country was able to cultivate its language, literature, folklore and art, and preserve its sense of ethnic and national identity.