"The bible tells us that the magi were from the east, probably Iran, and travelled west to Israel upon the birth of Jesus. The flow of people and ideas from east to west has been a dominant force since the silk routes were established around 130 BC. All too often dismissed by the west we have much to learn from looking east to the seat of civilisation. In this issue Emily Lush explores the Caucuses. An area flanked by the Black and Caspian Seas, hemmed by Russia, Turkey and Iran, the Caucasus is one of the most culturally complex and fascinating regions on earth. Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan are ethnically, socially and religiously distinct, but with common threads of a shared heritage. A conduit of the fabled silk routes that for centuries served as the physical and ideological bridge between east and west, the Caucasus has benefited from generations of cross-pollination.