Historically, in Georgia, a country of high mountains and stone rocks, a special kind of architectural art has developed – carving temples, fortresses and even entire cities in rock monoliths. The objects of such unique architecture were the cave city of Uplistsikhe, the complex of David Gareji monasteries and the amazing ancient city of Vardzia.

By visiting the mysterious cave structures, you will discover the memorable and exciting sights of Georgia, learn a lot of interesting and exciting about the history of their occurrence. You can wander through the mysterious, ancient caves and fully experience the bewitching spirit of antiquity.

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Day 1. Arrival

Arrival at the Tbilisi International Airport.   Transfer to the hotel. Time at leisure.

Departure to Mtskheta. The oldest capital of Georgia, located 20 km from the center of Tbilisi.

Visit to the Shio-Mgvime Monastery – an ancient monastery founded in the 6th century by the monk Shio, who spent his last years in a deep cave located on the territory of the monastery. Where did the name of the monastery come from – “Shio-Mgvime”, which in Georgian means “Cave of Shio”. The first building was the Church of St. John the Baptist. The monastery quickly became the largest monastic community; by the end of the 6th century, it had about 2,000 monks in its ranks. The monastery was repeatedly devastated and destroyed. At the end of the 19th century, Shio-Mgvime was completely renovated. Now it is active and still attracts pilgrims.

Visit of Samtavro Monastery –  one of the oldest women’s monasteries in Georgia. The date of the construction of the church should be considered the interval between 339 and 351 years. However, the original building has not been preserved, the current temple stylistically dates back to the 11th century and was built simultaneously with the Svetitskhoveli building that has come down to us under King George I. In 1994, Samtavro was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Visit  of  Svetitskhoveli Cathedral(The Life Giving Pillar), which is included into the list of Heritage of UNESCO. Svetitskhoveli is one of the most sacred places in Georgia and, along with Jvari Monastery, the clear highlight of a trip to Mtskheta. It was founded in 1010, built on the site of Georgia’s first church, and contains the graves of the ancient Georgian kings, including Sidonia, who was said to have been buried holding Christ’s robe.

Visit of  Jvari (The Cross) Monastery. The 6th century monastery is on the high mountain, there opens a beautiful view of the city and merge of two rivers Aragvi and the river Mtkvari. It is the culmination of a number of artistic and architectural aspiration in early Christian Georgian architecture. The view from above is amazing.

Overnight in Tbilisi

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Day 2. Tbilisi - Uplistsikhe - Borjomi - Akhaltsikhe

Departure to the cave city of Uplistsikhe. Even from afar, this quaint rock city fascinates with its unusual view. Cave grottoes gape like giant pores on the rocks, inside of which life once boiled. There were increased excitable diseases, temples, dwellings, mixed among themselves by winding corridors. It is difficult to discover that this titanic work of discovering a city from stone hardness arose – the creation of hand products. Once on the territory of Uplistsikhe there were about 700 caves and were present, and today there are about 150 of them.

The history of this unique complex has about 3,000 years, which are formed by epochs of ups and downs. At the beginning of the 4th century, an emergence arose between the pagan Uplistsikhe and the first Christians, which ended with the fact that the priests and Uplistsikhe were persecuted, parts of the city’s premises were destroyed and burned, in place of the two main pagan Christian temples. In 1920, the city was overtaken by disaster – an earthquake. It took a lot of work and increased losses for many specialists in excavation, clearing, removal, restoration and a large number of outstanding monuments.

Visit to the house-museum of Joseph Stalin. The exposition contains many things that actually or supposedly belong to Stalin, including some of the furniture from his offices, and gifts. The display of the exposition ends with one of the twelve copies of Stalin’s death mask. In front of the main museum is the house where Stalin was born and spent the first four years of his life. The museum presents Stalin’s personal railway car. The car has been used by him since 1941, including for trips to the Tehran and Yalta conferences.

Departure  for Borjomi. Modern Borjomi is one of the popular resorts in Georgia, which is suitable for ecotourism and family holidays. Its convenient location in the beautiful mountains of the Lesser Caucasus attracts many tourists all year round with its landscapes, the opportunity to relax and improve your health. There are dozens of mineral springs in Borjomi. The main mineral spring is located in the Central Park of Borjomi.

Visit to the city park Borjomi. Borjomi Central Park is a well-groomed place with a lot of vegetation, clean air, which is considered healing here, and a pleasant atmosphere where residents and guests of the city like to relax. Central Park gained its fame thanks to the city’s main hot spring of mineral water, which anyone can try for free. The source is located in the park in a beautiful blue pavilion with a dome with a glass roof. The main alley of the Central Park stretches along the Borjomula River passing here, over which bridges are installed, the length of the park itself is about a kilometer.

Visit to the pools of natural mineral water. The sulfur pools of Borjomi are located three kilometers from the entrance to the city park. The hot tubs themselves are three pools. All the water that enters the tanks comes from large taps, it is cloudy and has a somewhat specific smell, nevertheless, water procedures in the hot spring give vigor, and as a bonus, a walk in the pine forest. Next to the sulfur baths there are benches, showers and a cafe.

Overnight in Akhaltsikhe

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Day 3. Akhaltsikhe - Vardzia - Vanis Kvabebi - Khertvisi - Tbilisi

Discovery of Akhaltsikhe – located on the banks of the Potskhovi River, at an altitude of 1000 m above sea level. Even the name of the city speaks of its military past: Akhaltsikhe means “New Fortress” in Georgian, and the recently restored Rabati Fortress is evidence of this. Built in the 13th century, this military building has seen a lot in its lifetime. The fortress was repeatedly destroyed, often under siege, and eventually absorbed the traces of various cultures and religions.

Departure to the cave city of Vardzia. Vardzia is not just cave rooms randomly dug into a sheer rock. This is a real multi-storey complex with streets, tunnels and stairs leading past monasteries, temples, fortresses, baths, libraries, residential buildings, etc. In total, over 600 rooms connected by passages, which stretched along the mountain for 800 meters in length, up to 50 meters deep into the mountain. meters and a height of eight floors.

The cave complex, in addition to the protective one, also performed a spiritual function – as a Christian monastery, in the center of which a large church of the Assumption of the Virgin was carved. Today, many historians argue that the construction of the Vardzia monastery complex, which was originally planned as a monastery, was only a pretext for building a powerful defensive fortress. Whatever the reason, the construction was a success: after all the work was completed, Vardzia looked like a real underground city.

Visiting  the  Vanis-Kvabebi Caves. The place impresses with its energy and sacredness. The wind rarely peeps here, maintaining centuries-old silence. Vanis Kvabebi consists of 19 levels (for comparison, there are only 8 of them in Vardzia Monastery). There were three churches on different levels, two of which have survived to this day. All the surrounding rocks are pierced with dark eye sockets of cells carved in the rock. It’s mind-boggling how much time and effort it took.

Visit to the Fortress of  Khertvisi – one of the ancient fortresses of Georgia. The location of the fortress is dictated by trade and military interests, for centuries along the Kura River there was a trade route from the Middle East to the northern regions. Judging by the ancient chronicles, Khertvisi is one of the first settlements on the territory of Georgia, which arose in ancient times, but was destroyed after the arrival of Alexander the Great. The picturesque place in which it is located makes this place even more attractive for tourists and travelers.

Visit to the Romanov Palace in Likani. The building is made in an exotic Moorish style, which is distinguished by oriental motifs, rich decorations and the difference of each of the facades. The palace was an important building, for its functioning, the first hydroelectric power station in the entire Russian Empire was built on the Kura River. The palace was built specifically for the hot and humid climate of Georgia – inside it is invariably cool and dry. After the overthrow of the autocracy, the palace in Likani continued to serve as the summer home of the ruling elite. Sometimes Joseph Stalin spent summer evenings here.

Visit to the Green Monastery. Monastery Located in the heart of a deciduous forest, a few kilometers from Borjomi. Here to this day there is a monastery, where the monks pray for the well-being of the country and the people. The monastery was built by the disciples of the famous Georgian figure Grigol Khandzteli – Christopher and Theodore. It consists of three basilica churches and a bell tower, where the ornaments of Georgian architecture are well read.

Overnight in Tbilisi

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Day 4. Tbilisi - David Gareji - Sighnaghi - Tbilisi

Departure for complex of cave monasteries – David Gareji. The foundations of the monastery complex were laid in the first half of the 6th century by the Assyrian monk David. Together with his disciple, he settled in a small cave in the middle of the Gareji desert and soon founded the first monastery there – the Lavra of David. Over time, the old hermit had followers and after a few centuries there were about 12 cave monasteries in the complex. Churches and refectories were built on their territory, and monks lived in cells carved into sandstone rocks.

Currently, the complex consists of about 20 monasteries carved into the rocks. The main monastery is the Lavra of St. David, which is located on the northern slope of the mountain separating Georgia and Azerbaijan. Two of the 20 caves contain still functioning monasteries. David Gareji occupies a special place in Georgian history and is one of the main attractions of Georgia. According to National Geographic magazine, David Gareji monastery complex is one of the wildest and most beautiful places in the world.

Visit to the Bodbe monastery. The monastery embodied ascetic rigor and religious grandeur: it spread over the Alazani valley, remembering everything that happened in it.  In addition to the fact that the surroundings of the monastery are unusually picturesque, the Bodbe Convent is one of the main places of pilgrimage in Georgia. It is here that the relics of St. Nino, who is considered the Enlightener of the Georgian people, are currently stored.

Visit of Signagi. This beautiful and comfortable town is located 2 kilometers from the Bodbe Monastery, whose cozy streets stretch right on the mountain slope. The buildings are built in the style of southern Italian classicism with Georgian elements. The city is famous for the fortress of the same name, which is included in the list of the most famous and largest fortresses in Georgia. Along the perimeter of the walls, 28 watchtowers have been preserved, from which a wonderful view of the Alazani Valley opens.

Overnight in Tbilisi.

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Day 5. Departure

Visit of Mtatsminda. One of the mountains around Tbilisi, called the “Holy Mountain” by analogy with the Holy Mountain of Athos. One of the most important factors that influenced the popularization of Mount Mtatsminda was the cave in which David of Gareji (Assyrian father) lived. The cave was considered a holy place for a long time. And in the 19th century, the temple of St. David of Gareji was built here. The funicular is a railway, a 500-meter road allows you to get out in the middle of the mountain, where you can visit the Pantheon of writers and public figures of Georgia, as well as climb to the Mtatsminda Amusement Park itself and enjoy the majestic panoramic views of the city.

Visit of Tbilisi sulfur baths, which are built in the style of classical oriental architecture. These are low, squat buildings, topped with semicircular domes with large glass openings in the center, which served as windows that illuminate the interior, since the baths themselves are below ground level.

Legvtakhevi is located in the center of old Tbilisi, behind the sulfur baths. This part of old Tbilisi is distinguished by individual landscape architecture, at the same time it is characterized by a significant architectural, historical and cultural heritage. There is also the central entrance to the Tbilisi Botanical Garden. From the high observation deck, located at the entrance to the garden, you can see the Legvtakhevi gorge, into which a 20-meter waterfall falls from a ledge of a rock.

Transfer to airport.


 

                                                  The price per person $ US Dollars

Accomodation           SNGL             DBL           TRPL
Mini Hotel            329             269            259
Hotel  3*            419             329            319
Hotel 3*+            459             359            349
Hotel 4*            599             459            419

 

Price includes: Transfers, Transport throughout all round, Accommodation  in Tbilisi (3 nights), Akhaltsikhe (1), Breakfast (4), Insurance, Services of the guide.

Not included:  Air Tickets.   Meals and Drinks not mentioned in the program.

*The tour programs are based on our experience and the opinions of our completely different customers. These are semi-finished circuits, whose programs can be easily redone. Add or subtract the number of excursion days. Sort or redo the excursion day, change the sequence, the duration, prices …

Every day excursion is a stand-alone destination. It is the separate route with the calculation of the distance and the comfortable movement between the excursion points. Each tour and each itinerary is examined at the time of the request. Also, at the desire of the tourists, they can change the already booked and paid program.

Uplistsikhe
Shio Mgvime monastery
Shiomrvime monastery
Shio-Mgvime caves
Jvari monastery
Mtskheta
Mtskheta
Samtavro monastery
Uplistsihe
Uplistsikhe ancient
Goristsikhe Fortress
Gogichant gele
Vardzia
Vardzia
Vardzia caves
Vardzia
Wine terrasses
Vanis kvabebi
Vanis Kvabebi
khertvisi fortress
Tmogvi fortress
Slesa fortress
Borjomi park
Atskuri fortress
David Gareji
David Gareji
David Gareji
Bodbe monastery
Signagi
Signagi fortress

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