The first European tourists, the Argonauts, came to Georgia to search for the legendary Golden Fleece, approximately before 1000 BC. It is thought that the Golden Fleece may have been referred to the practice of using sheep’s hides to pan for gold in Georgia’s mountain streams, a practice still known to this day.
Day 1. Arrival
Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 2. Tbilisi
Breakfast at the hotel. We will visit the Old Tbilisi. Established more than 1500 years ago it is known that the first settlers arrived much earlier. The course of its history has been hard and never smooth. Tbilisi is a multicultural city. It is the home for more than 100 different ethnic groups. The architecture in the city is a mixture of local (Georgian), with strong influences of Byzantine, European/Russian (neo-classical), and Middle Eastern architectural styles. Tbilisi has a great number of important landmarks and sightseeing locations: churches, museums, and parks.
Visiting one of the symbols of Tbilisi. Sameba (Holy Trinity Cathedral) is the main cathedral of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Sameba is one of the main sacred places for Georgians. It is one of the highest churches in Europe with the height of 101 meters. It is also a unique building, the catherdral is build on top of another temple (Lower Church). Sameba is surrounded by a garden with beautiful flowers. There is a small pond with swans and ducks in the garden. And in the evening, this place is so lighted up that the church resembles fire, rushed to the sky.
You will visit the oldest and the most important temple in Tbilisi. Metekhi Church is erected on the cliff, overlooking the Mtkvari River. There is a statue of King Vakhtang Gorgaslani, founder of Tbilisi, in front of the church. The church dates back to the 12th century and has a diverse history, connected with Mongol invasions and political repressions of the Soviet Empire. The colorful Darejani Palace is also situated on the cliff, like the nest of a swallow.
Ascending by cable car to the Narikala Fortress – the heart and soul of Tbilisi. The fortress was established in the 4th century. An old odd masonry of its walls, observation towers and winding narrow paths, all tells about the antiquity of the building. From the many towers you will have a great panorama over the city, the old part as well as the modern part. Just behind Narikala you will find the Botanical Garden with its waterfalls, millions of species of flowers and trees. This is a favorite place to have a family rest or a walk for lovers.
One of the main attractions of Tbilisi is the famous sulfur baths. Here you can use all kinds of “bath services”, taking a bath and swimming in the water of natural hot sulfur springs. Exactly here Tbilisi started. “Tbili” in Georgian means “hot”. In finding these sources King Gorgasali ordered to build the city here. In time immemorial the magic properties of healing attributed to these sources, but now everyone knows the benefits of sulfur baths. An interesting design of these baths made in the oriental style and they are often called “Turkish baths”.
Sioni Cathedral was named in honor of Jerusalem’s Mount Zion. The cathedral is one of the main cathedrals in Tbilisi. Before the construction of the cathedral Sameba the Church Council of Georgian Catholics was in this cathedral. Sioni was founded in the 6th century and was rebuilt many times. Sioni is a repository of Georgian Patriarchs remains. According to available historical data St. Evstani Mtsheteli, saint of Georgia, is buried here. The church kept a cross made of vine that belonged to St. Nino, which brought Christianity to Georgia.
The Peace Bridge is a pedestrian bridge across the river Mtkvari. The bridge is 156 meters long. It is made of a metal frame and is completely covered with glass. The bridge is beautiful at day time as well as at night time because it has a very special interactive display system. On the two parapets of the bridge you find 30.000 led lights operating with 240 sensors to transmit their message every hour. The universal messages are relayed in Morse code. “This message celebrates life and peace between people”. The Peace Bridge of Tbilisi is in the list of the great bridges in the world.
Anchiskhati Church – In the Old Town there is the ancient acting St. Mary Church constructed during the reign of Dacha Udzharmeli, the successor of Vakhtang Gorgasali, in the 4 th century. The beautiful rectangular building of the church was build under the influence of ancient Palestinian architecture. The doors of Anchiskhati church are decorated with traditional Georgian cross similar to the one made by St. Nino.
In the carriages of the funicular you will go up to the mountain Mtatsminda, where in any time of the day you can enjoy great views of Tbilisi. You will have a walk in the Bombora Park (the former name of the park was Stali’s) here you can see the whole city at a glance from the Ferris wheel, try a popular Georgian lemonade “Lagidze Waters” in a variety of flavours and sit in a lovely restaurant with a great view, which according to a legend was built for Stalin.
Visit the Pantheon, the burial place of famous writers, artists and heroes of Georgia.
Finally the tour takes you to Rustaveli Avenue, where attractions such as the Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Parliament, Rustaveli Theatre, different art galleries and cafes will draw your attention and provide a cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Overnight in Tbilisi. Dinner. Free time.
Day 3. Tbilisi – Martvili – Zugdidi – Kutaisi
Breakfast at the hotel. Trip to the region of Mingrelia. walks on canyon and the town of Martvili located close on Abasha’s river awaits you. This place is known by the beauty and singularity. For many millions of years water carved in rocks from limestone the magnificent gorge, its depth reaching 40 meters at the bottom of which the river flows. Total length of the foreseeable part of the canyon is about a kilometer.
Visite to Martvili Monastery. Martvili-Chkondidi Cathedral was built late in the 7th century. Revered as the gem of Georgian masonry, this cathedral rests on the roots of the old oak tree. During the 10th century, King of Abkhazia Giorgi II, designated Martvili-Chkondidi Monastery as episcopal center. Martvili Monastery was considered a major educutional center. It is the final resting place of King Bagrat IV, whose contributions to the cultural and educational development of Georgia are immense.
Drive to Zugdidi. For centuries, Samegrelo was ruled by the powerful Dadiani family. The Dadiani Palaces History and Architecture Museum houses some exhibits of natural cultural heritage of Georgia – Tagiloni treasure materials, Mother of God holy vesture, the icon of queen Bordokhan– mother of queen Tamar of Georgia, manuscripts from 13th – 14th centuries, miniatures, memorial relics of Dadiani dynasty and objects connected to emperor of France Napoleon Bonaparte – brought to the palace by the husband of David Dadiani’s daughter.
you will go to the city of Kutaisi by boats, there you will have dinner and evening walk around the city. Spending the night in Kutaisi. Dinner. Free time.
Day 4. Kutaisi- Tbilisi
After breakfast kutaisi city tour: historical city center – white bridge, the first gymnasium, concert hall, city park, central square with fountain inspired by ancient Kolkhida arts, optionally – Kutaisi synagogue, museum of history .
Visit the Cathedral of Bagrati which is located on Ukemirioni’s hill and is called in honor of Bagrat III, the first king of the united Georgia, (X-Xiвв). The temple of King Bagrat was a special place where all great events of that time were celebrated, here was also possible to find protection against the enemy.
After short drive visit complex, dated by XII century, is included into world heritage sites Gelati Monastery is unique for its mosaics and wall paintings. Gelati was a center of science and education. Academy established inside walls of Gelati complex, was one of the most important centers of culture in ancient Georgia. Gelati monastery precinct is enclosed by a stone wall, now entered from the east but originally through the south porch, which houses the tomb of its founder, David the Builder.
Motsameta Monastery (11th century) – Located on a cliff above the gorge, the isolated “Church of the Martyrs” offers breath-taking views of the surroundings. It is a small and very beautiful monastery with round turrets crowned with peaked tent-shaped domes. The monastery is standing above the rough Rioni river and is buried in coastal vegetation. According to the legend the monastery was constructed on the place where Muslim aggressors executed David and Konstantin Mkheidze, Georgian princes, who refused to accept Islam.
Located very close to Kutaisi, on Sataplia Mountain, with a total area of 354 hectares. It has mountains and hills and is almost fully covered by the Colchis Forest. It has a corridor system with branches and halls. The cave is rich with stalactites, stalagmites and mineral rock curtains. The total length of the cave measures 600 meters. It has a stream flowing inside, which has carved out this cave over the past 30 million years. Over 200 footprints from dinosaurs have been discovered here, located on the stones in two rows. To the north of Sataplia cave there is a flowering meadow on the cliff with a number of bee colonies. This was the reason for naming this area Sataplia (“the place of honey”). When you go, be sure to check out the local museum.
Trip to Tbilisi. Dinner. Free time.
Day 5. Departure
Breakfast at the hotel. Purchase of souvenirs. Transfer to the airport.
The price per person $ US Dollars
Price Includes: Transfers, Transport throughout all round, Accommodation in Tbilisi (3 nights), Kutaisi (1), Breakfast (4), Entrance Tickets, Insurance, Services of the guide.
Not included: Air Tickets. Meals and Drinks not mentioned in the program.