Georgia is a country of the most extraordinary landscapes and the most sincere hospitality. The beauty of local nature is fascinating, because the natural attractions of Georgia are high and majestic mountains with snow-capped peaks, crystal clear mountain lakes, violent rivers and waterfalls, as well as an extraordinary variety of vegetation. In this country, different cultures, customs and religions are intertwined in an amazing way, and everyone here will find something close and interesting to him. It is unusually easy to travel and discover new routes - all of us have something to see in Georgia, without having to travel long distances. After all, on a relatively small area there is a different climate, different types of vegetation, there are mountains, forests, valleys, and numerous reservoirs and desert lands. For example, in winter the country offers ski resorts, in summer - the magnificent seaside resorts, and in the off-season - recreational, wedding and gastronomic travel. This country will enchant you with its centuries-old secrets, the hospitality of the natives, rich cuisine and incomparable nature.
If you have an opportunity to experience the Georgian people, you should not miss it, and it is better to have a guide with you during your trip. Guides in Georgia are people who know everything and everyone, but you won’t be lost without them either, because tourists are loved here and they are always ready to help. Study the list and have a great time!
Tbilisi’s small courtyards, ancient stuccoed parades, numerous elements of artistic forging, intricate facades of houses imbued with the spirit of antiquity - there is no doubt: you have something to visit in Georgia, if you find yourself in the heart of its capital. The historical part of Tbilisi, or Old City of Tbilisi, is located at the foot of Mount Mtatsminda. When you come here, be sure to walk through these old winding streets, see the sulfur baths, visit the Narikala fortress and botanical garden.
Today on this territory there are ancient mansions, temples, palaces, erected in the classical traditions of Georgian architecture. Many of these buildings have been adapted for modern restaurants, tasting rooms, souvenir shops and hotels. But there is another part of the Old Town that is not tourist-oriented - there are abandoned buildings, dilapidated and dilapidated houses where people still live.
The Old Town once emerged in the place where sulfur springs flowed from the ground, and now the famous sulfur baths of Abanotubani are located. Emerging here, the future capital for centuries moved upwards, along the river Kura, towards Narikala fortress. The place was extremely well chosen - on one side it was protected by mountain ranges, on the other - by the waters of the turbulent river with steep banks. In the area of Metekhi, where the Kura river narrows, there is an ancient temple of Metekhi and a monument to the founder of Tbilisi - Vakhtang Gorgasali.
In the center of Tbilisi, on Mount Mtatsminda, is one of Georgia’s most famous landmarks - the Narikala Fortress, which means “impregnable”. It is unknown in what century the fortress was founded, but the first mention of it dates back to the 4th century AD when it was still called Shuris-Tsikhe and performed a defensive role. Throughout its history Narikala has been destroyed many times and each time it was rebuilt in new guises. Nowadays it has acquired the role of a calling card of Tbilisi and has become a real pride of local residents. There is an excellent viewing platform from which you can enjoy an excellent view of the center of Tbilisi.
Once Narikala played a protective role and its location is evidence of that: on three sides the fortress is surrounded by rocks and on the fourth side there is a man-made rock cave. Today you can climb to the top of the fortress by cable car and enjoy a beautiful panorama from the height. You can also get to the citadel by bus or on foot.
On the way up you can see some monuments of antiquity - for example, visit the Orthodox monastery of Lower Bethlehem, a little higher - Upper Bethlehem, next to which is a statue of Georgian mother. A walk to the fortress will allow you to get into the spirit of antiquity and erase the boundaries of time.
A holy, truly iconic place for Georgians is the city of Mtskheta, located 20 km from the Georgian capital. There are so many monuments of historical sites, that similar wealth can not be found anywhere else in Georgia. That is why Mtskheta is often called the “Second Jerusalem. This also explains the status of Mtskheta, as the city of shrines, which brings together pilgrims from around the world.
Mtskheta is located at the confluence of two mountain rivers - Kura and Aragvi, surrounded by majestic mountain peaks.
The city is so ancient that its entire history is measured in thousands of years. According to historical sources, the city was founded in the 1st millennium BC, during the founding of the kingdom of Kartli (Iberia), whose capital at that time and was Mtskheta.
Mtskheta has experienced very long and difficult history - the walls of the city survived the onslaught of Roman and Persian armies, in the Middle Ages the city served as an important commercial, crafts and religious center. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries the territory and surroundings of Mtskheta was declared an architectural and historical museum, inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Among the attractions of Georgia located in Mtskheta, it is worth visiting at least some of them.
In Georgia, as a country of majestic mountains, has historically developed a special kind of art - carving the premises of temples, fortresses and even entire cities in the rocks. Thus, the object of such unusual architecture has become another attraction of Georgia - the ancient city of Vardzia, located near the border with Turkey.
The city was carved in the rocks in the 12th-13th centuries AD to protect the southern borders of Georgia from enemy attacks. The unusual city is a whole multi-level complex with streets, staircases, tunnels, monasteries, baths, libraries, fortresses, and living quarters. The city had more than 600 rooms connected by the passages, which went deep into the rock for 50 meters, stretched along the rock for 800 meters in width, and in height had eight levels.
In case of enemy attack, the city acted as a shelter for civilians and could hold up to 20,000 people. In the center of the cave city was cut the temple of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin, where up to this day remain fragments of frescoes dating from the 12th century. According to one version, Queen Tamara, who reigned at that time, was buried here, and to prevent vandals from finding and destroying the tomb, eight funeral processions went from Tbilisi to different parts of the world in the days of her death.
In the 13th century, as a result of a major earthquake a huge layer of rock broke away from the rock in which the town of Vardzija was located, exposing the walls of the city. Later Vardzija suffered from the Mongol invasion, and today it is home to about 15 novices of the monastery. In 1938, Vardzija became a museum-reserve, which is up to this day.
In the middle of Tbilisi not so long ago, in 2010, appeared a unique structure - a modern bridge across the river Kura (Mtkvari), which connected the two banks as two historical eras. The Peace Bridge has become one of the most modern attractions of Georgia, which was loved by locals and visitors alike. However, it was not always like this - at one time, the construction of the bridge caused a wide resonance in society, and many were unacceptable combination of ancient architecture, located in the historic part of town, with such a modern construction.
Nevertheless, the bridge was installed, which made a positive change in the architecture of the city - the Peace Bridge connected the past and the future of the city. The bridge is 156 meters long and has about 30,000 lights integrated into an interactive lighting system. When the sun goes down all this beauty lights up and flashes in Morse code mode, which transmits the names of the chemical elements that make up the human body. According to the idea of the Italian architect Michel de Lucci, this message plays the role of a kind of anthem for life and peace.
The stylish and modern structure made of glass and metal also plays another important role in the life of the city - it serves as a link between the recently built Rike Amusement Park and Tbilisi Old City.
In the picturesque mountainous regions of the country, namely Svaneti, there is something for you to see in Georgia - there are the Svan Towers. Those structures, which have survived to this day, were erected in the period of the 8-13 centuries.
There are several suggestions as to why the towers of Svan were built.
The base of the tower is made of masonry about 2 m high, which makes it strong enough to withstand earthquakes. The tower of Swan usually has four or five stories with a wooden staircase in between. Each floor of the tower has a narrow window, usually facing south. Today the towers are not used for any purpose, climbing up the towers is not possible due to the lack of partitions and stairs, which have long since collapsed.
Some of the towers are publicly owned, while others are privately owned, and some owners have plans to equip these rooms for tourist accommodation.
“Fortress of God” - so literally can be translated the name of a unique sight of Georgia, an ancient monument of architecture - the cave city Uplistsikhe. It is located 75 km from Tbilisi and 12 km from Gori.
In times immemorial, this rock city included a whole complex of magnificent temples, halls for celebrations and living quarters. All of them were interconnected by special tunnel corridors. The city has a multilevel structure, and even now there are a lot of religious objects preserved here.
Uplistsikhe was built for several millennia. So, in the 1st millennium BC the rock city served as a religious center, and by the 4th century BC it had everything for a decent life. Although there were many houses here, the main role was played by religious buildings.
In 337 AD, when Christianity was recognized as the state religion of the country, a battle took place between the ancient inhabitants of Uplistsikhe and the followers of Christianity. The inhabitants of the cave city were executed, and many buildings were destroyed and looted.
The final decline of Uplistsike occurred in the 13th-14th centuries, when about 5 thousand inhabitants were killed as a result of the Mongol invasion.
Today only a small part of the ancient complex is available for sightseeing, but even here you can see interesting sights of Uplistsikhe:
Not far from the village of Samadlo, 16 kilometers from Tbilisi, is an ancient monument of religious culture - the Betania Monastery. The shrine was built in the name of the Nativity of the Mother of God, and today the monastery remains active, it is inhabited by monks, and worship services are held in accordance with all the customs and traditions. The ancient religious landmark of Georgia is located in the gorge of the river Vere, on the territory of the monastery there are two small churches.
There is little authentic information about the origin and existence of Bethany - we only know that the main church of the Nativity of the Virgin was built around the 12th century, and the small Church of St. George - a little later, by the end of the 12th century. The frescoes in the Church of the Nativity date back to about 1207.
The Church of the Nativity is a classic structure of the cross-dome type. This temple is famous for its frescoes, which are the most valuable in the interior decoration. One of the most significant frescoes is a portrait of Queen Tamara and the fresco with the image of King George III.
For many years services were held in the temple, but in the Middle Ages, when all the inhabitants died here, the place was abandoned for many centuries. And only in 1850, the dilapidated temple was discovered by the artist architect Gagarin, who discovered there a fresco depicting Queen Tamara. The temple was restored and began to live a new life, which continues to this day.
The Caucasus has always attracted by the beauty of its mountain slopes and the grandeur of its peaks, its strength and impregnability. Picturesque landscapes of the Caucasus once again confirm that travelers and desperate conquerors of mountain peaks have something to visit in Georgia. One of the highest and most beautiful peaks of the Caucasus is Mount Kazbek, located right on the Georgian-Russian border. The landscapes of Kazbek are extraordinary beautiful - in order to comprehend all the beauty and charm of these places, you must visit here and see everything with your own eyes.
The height of Mount Kazbek is 5047 meters, and starting from the height of about 3300 meters on the slopes of the mountain there is eternal snow. Below this mark stretches subalpine and alpine meadows. From the summits in all directions descends several large glaciers. In the vicinity of the peak there are deposits of igneous rock - once there were powerful streams of lava flowing down the slopes into the Daryal Gorge. The fact is that, by origin, Mount Kazbek is a dormant volcano. Origin of the mountain began several million years ago - at the place of Kazbek was a shallow sea, which was surrounded by a chain of low mountain peaks, which became the prototype of the modern Caucasus range. Magma eruptions brought mineral deposits and stones from the depths to the surface, and the layering of lava over the centuries led to the formation of the mountain.
Right at the foot of Mount Kazbek there are thermal springs, the turbulent Terek River flows and the historic Military Georgian Road runs.
Ananuri fortress is located on the Georgian Military Road, 12 kilometers from the town of Ananuri. In fact, the Georgian Military Road itself is the most important landmark of Georgia, along which there are many places of interest.
Ananuri fortress was built on the bank of the river Aragvi, at the mouth of the river Vedzatkhevi. The exact date of its construction is unknown - the construction of one of its towers refers to the 13th century. The first detailed descriptions of the castle itself dates back to the beginning of the 18th century. Originally, a tower was built on the site of the fortress, which was later surrounded by the castle. Built for defense purposes, Ananuri was an important outpost. In the period of internecine strife among the Eristavians (13th century), it performed a defensive function, preventing attacks from the Daryal Gorge and allowing, if necessary, to retreat into the mountains.
The entire perimeter of the fortress walls has been preserved to this day. Three temples, several small towers and two large ones, of which one is the earliest structure on the site of the fortress, are available for inspection and study.
In terms of architecture, the most valuable in Ananuri is the Church of the Assumption, built in 1689. It has classical proportions and cross-domed type of architecture, its facade is decorated with decorative elements in the form of crosses and vines, which is not typical for buildings of that period.
To the west of the Church of the Assumption is an older church of the Virgin Mary, also called the Church of the Savior.
Each traveler has different preferences and financial capabilities, so we have prepared information about different attractions, among which you will be able to find the right one for you. And do not forget that excursions in Georgia is not just about sightseeing, but also about communicating with the locals!
For those who are planning a trip to Kazbek or have already been there, there is something to see in Georgia. At the foot of the mountain, in the village of Gergeti, is the Church of the Trinity, or Gergeti. It is one of the buildings where you start to get acquainted with the cultural heritage of Georgia.
The Church of the Holy Trinity in Gergeti was built back in the 14th century. At the same time separately from the temple was built and the bell tower, which is located nearby. The first historical mention of this church belongs to the 18th century. At this time Georgia was subjected to invasions of the Persians, and in the temple was hidden from the enemy many valuable relics, including the cross of Saint Nina.
During the Soviet Union, no services were held in the church. In order to shorten the way to the temple, here in 1988 built a ropeway that led from the village Kazbegi. But soon, at the request of the local population, the road was dismantled. Nowadays, the temple has been restored, and today it is a functioning men’s monastery.
Like most religious constructions, Trinity Church is rich in interesting bas-reliefs. For example, one of the bas-reliefs of the bell tower depicts some terrible creatures called vishaps. It was believed that once they were deities, but with the advent of Christianity they turned into dragons.
There is a tradition among climbers of staying overnight near the temple. It helps them to get used to the altitude and gain strength for the subsequent ascent.
In the Georgian city of Zugdidi, there is a Georgian landmark that preserves its distinctive history and has become the pride of the entire city. It is the Dadiani Palace, the residence of the Mingrelian rulers of the Dadiani family. The palace is full of treasures, among which the most valuable is considered to be the posthumous mask of Napoleon. But how was this French relic connected with the Georgian land? The fact that the Dadiani princes were distantly related to Napoleon, and for this reason, many relics associated with the great French commander moved here.
If you have time, you should visit the beautiful park area of the palace, over its creation the best European gardeners worked. Many rare plants from all over the world can be found here; the botanical garden has been set up in the park.
Everyone not indifferent to the history of Georgia is sure to find something to visit in Georgia when traveling. They should definitely visit the most ancient district of Tbilisi - Metekhi, located between the Avlabari district and the Old Town. This area is full of ancient buildings, but its main attraction is the 12th century church of the same name, located on a rock, where you can enjoy a wonderful view of the capital.
The development of Tbilisi began with the Metekhi area in the 5th century AD, when King Vakhtang Gorgasal founded the city. In the process of archaeological excavations across the river from Metekhi some ruins have been discovered - according to speculation, this was the first palace complex, which served as a royal residence.
Among the sights worth visiting in the area are the following:
On the border of the Greater Caucasus and Colchis Depression, 20 kilometers from Kutaisi, is a small Georgian town Tskhaltubo. At 5 kilometers from the city there is a mysterious attraction of Georgia - the karst caves, among which the most visited and equipped was the cave Kumistavi, whose second name - the Prometheus Cave.
This cave was discovered in 1984, and almost immediately became a tourist attraction. The largest cave in Georgia stretches underground for 11 kilometers, and only its tenth part is open for visiting and viewing. But even in this area it takes at least an hour to walk on foot.
Today it is one of the most attractive and tempting places in Georgia: underground rivers and lakes, waterfalls, bizarre stalactites and stalagmites, colorful illumination - all this attracts with its beauty and uniqueness. Visiting Kumistavi Cave gives guests a unique opportunity to explore the region’s underground world in all its beauty.
For example, you can take a 1.6-kilometer hike or a boat trip along a real cave river. Temperature inside the cave at any time of year is kept at about 14 degrees, which makes it comfortable to visit.
The Prometheus Cave got its second name thanks to a Caucasian legend, according to which the hero Amirani, just like Prometheus, who had angered the gods, was subjected to punishment - he was chained inside the cave, and an eagle was tearing his liver day and night.
Official site: http://apa.gov.ge/
If your route runs through Kutaisi, or if you find yourself passing through here, you have something to see in Georgia, and you don’t need to travel far for that. Just 4 km northeast of Kutaisi, in the middle of picturesque landscapes and lush vegetation, there is an ancient landmark of Georgia - the Gelati Monastery.
Gelati Monastery ensemble consists of 3 churches and a bell tower. At 50 meters from the church fence the life-giving holy spring takes its source. The building of Gelati Academy founded under the monastery deserves special attention - in the Middle Ages it was the center of scientific thought.
In our times there is enough information about how the monastery was built and how life was going on in it at different times.
An architectural monument of the end of the century before last - the elegant mansion of Mirza Riza Khan in the center of Borjomi. It is not surprising, that such a beautiful house belonged to a person with a special status - the Persian Consul Mirza-Riza-Khan. The carved patterns, which frame the stone elements of the facade, contain the name of the house, the name of the owner and the date of construction. The soft turquoise decoration of its facade is a unique blend of Georgian, European and Iranian architecture. In the past century, at different times there was a museum, a hotel and a sanatorium here. Today, within the walls of the house there is a fashionable hotel with a restaurant, swimming pool, sauna and room for health procedures.
The tradition of erecting monasteries on an elevated site can be traced to some Georgian cloisters - as an example, the Jvari monastery, located on top of Mount Armazi, and the Katskhi pillar, a small monastic complex built on top of a 40-meter-high rock formation. This site is located in the region of Imeretia, in the village of Katskhi. Supposedly, the monastery was built between the 6th and 8th centuries. Up until the 15th century, solitary hermit monks offered daily prayers from the top of the Katsakhi pillar, and with the Turkish invasion this land, as well as the monastery, fell into disrepair. A new life was given to the monastery in 1993 by a monk who rebuilt the church on the rock, and it was named in honor of Maxim the Confessor.
The generous and beautiful Georgian lands captivate and inspire you from the first trip - the first time you are in Georgia, you are happy. What to see in these lands in the fall? Georgia in the fall - a place of magnificent colorful scenery, warm sea, pleasant weather and abundant harvest. The sun is warming you up with its caressing rays, the grapes are picked and the excellent Georgian wine is ready. This is a good time to visit an interesting attraction in Georgia in the fall - the Museum of Kvevri and Wine. While visiting the museum you can see the process of grapevine growing, the technology of sap production, when it is squeezed together with the seeds and poured into the kvevri - a large clay vessel, which is buried in the ground up to the neck. The main exhibit is a giant clay pitcher-quiveri about 8 meters high.
Official website: http://www.georgianmuseums
In addition to historical structures, natural sites, there are also modern technological attractions of Georgia, Batumi represents one of them. The 130-meter metal construction in 2012 is a giant spiral of DNA, the entire length of which is located 33 Georgian letters. Under the spherical dome of the tower was once planned to house an observatory, a TV studio, but for now there is a souvenir shop, a coffee shop and an occasional restaurant with national cuisine. And from the top you can get a bird’s-eye view of Batumi by taking a special high-speed elevator up there. The most beautiful tower at night, when it turns on a mesmerizing lighting construction - illuminated spirals, spherical top and, of course, all the letters of the Georgian alphabet.
In one excursion in Adjara you can cover several interesting objects at once. For example, 30 kilometers from Batumi there is the highest waterfall in the region - Makhuntseti, which is at its fullest in the springtime. The thundering water falling from a height of 30 meters into the canyon, the clearest natural baptismal font, in which you can refresh yourself, and the beautiful mountains of Ajara somewhere in the background - all these breathtaking views are breathtaking. For those who are in this region for the first time, a detailed tourist map of Georgia will help, which will allow you to navigate to the natural objects located here. So, not far from the waterfall on foot there is an arched bridge, built about 900 years ago - during the reign of Queen Tamara. Its length is 29 m, height - 6 m, and fragments of rock were used as a building material. Are you in Georgia? How about visiting the neighboring country Turkey? After all, there is a lot to see there! Read about Turkey sights and plan your future journey to Asia!