Mingrelia – one of the richest and most beautiful regions of Georgia. Various natural sites include river canyons, bird watching spots and even alpic zones to the North of region. Come to Mingrelia, visit ancient historical sites, enjoy the incredible nature, the hospitality of the local people, you will never forget this trip.
Day 1. Arrival
Arrival at the Tbilisi International Airport. Transfer to the hotel. Time at leisure. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 2. Tbilisi – Nokalakevi – Shkhepi fortess - Teklati Monastery –Abedati fortess - Martvili
After breakfast drive to Samegrelo region. Nokalakevi is the place where an important ancient Georgian city was situated. Roman and Byzantine historians knew the city as Archaeopolis, but in the later Georgian chronicles it is called Tsikhegoji, “the fortress of Kuji”, its eponymous and semi-legendary third-century BC founder. The majority of the visible structures were built between the 4th to the 8th centuries AD when Archaeopolis functioned as the capital of Lazica. Remains of the original walls of a royal palace, acropolis, rich burials, baths, and the early Christian churches can be seen running up the mountain and along the cliffs that border the Tekhuri River. Rich collections of local and foreign coins found at the site indicate a high level of contacts with neighbouring countries, specifically with the Byzantine Empire.
The village Shkhepi kept ancient fortress which played an important role in the history of the region. Shkhepi fortess is of a nice way disposed on height east of the city of Senaki. Considered to be the very ancient building. The fortress in multi-layered. The main layer of the castle belongs to the period of precocious feudalism. Among the restoration of late period the first layers distinguish themselves with difficulty. For fortress such mountain is chosen, where from as on palms is visible the valée of Colchide. The observation here could concern a large territory, lock with direct order persists at the foot of the main road. For this instant, of the fortress stayed a central tower, a strongly demolished Eastern tower and and a Western base. We can find inside the wreck kvevri which makes us think that the fortress had its stocking of the wine.
Teklati Monastery played an important role in the cultural life history of Mingrélie. He overcame the persecution, which suffered the Georgian orthodox Church after the abolition of the autocéphalie. The man of the church in Western Georgia Gabriel Kikodze made everything so that the spiritual life in the convent persists. Gabriel constructed the temple, he also laid the foundations of the school of song of . Afterwards the soviétisation authorities organised in church the agriculture of day nursery and the rabbit, but none of the animals to reproduiser in the monastery could. In the years of postwar years, after requests of Patriarche-Catholicos Alexander Tsintsadze, church was turned to the monastery. In spite of persecutions the life spiritual in Teklati monastery persisted. After 90 years of last century was created the diocese of Poti and the region of Senaki entered it. The bishop Grigol Berbitchachvili led jobs of restoration, created here a new group of nuns. The monastery began a new life.
Fortress Abedati the monument of IV s., who is arranged as high as 130 m above the sea level. village Abedati is about 6 kilometres on the West from Martvili.Abedati Castle the oldest prison in the early feudal period. As it seems the castle is related with the ancient caravan route, which traces can be seen today. This is the ancient city mentioned by Agatia Skolastikosi in the 6th century. There was “lazique war” here, also known as the “Colchidian War” or in Georgian historiography as the “Great War of Egrisi” , was fought between the East Roman (Byzantine) Empire and the Sasanian Empire for control of the ancient Georgian region of Lazica. The Lazic War lasted for twenty years, from 541 to 562. The church standing inside the castle is not primary; it should be dated by IX century.
Departure to Martvili. Dinner. Free time.
Day 3. Martvili – Martvili Canyon – Martvilia monastery – Salkhino - Martvili
After breakfast vist of Martvili museum. The museum has 55,064 exhibits such as archaeological evidence, the chronology of the early Stone and Bronze Age period including labor and weapons, ceremonial stones, jewelry and a bronze figure of a “preacher”. In addition, it presents rich numismatic material like the gold coins from 4th-2nd centuries BC, Colchis White, a silver coin collection 10th-18th centuries, the manuscripts and charters from 18th-19th centuries, around 5,000 library publications of 19th-20th centuries, as well as paintings of contemporary artists including Lado Gudiashvili’s “Samaya”, Helen Chardin’s “Our Town” and “Moses” according to Robert Sturua. Additionally, the museum has a unique collection of vine land of Colchis and ethnographic angles.
Martvili Canyon or also it is called as Gochkadili Canyon is one of the amazing places in Georgia. It is among the list of ten Georgian natural monuments. White limestone rocks, where made its route river Abasha back in Mesozoic age. Herbivorous and predaceous creatures here were wondering millions of years ago. And on the river bed were discovered traces of ancient marine reptiles – mesosaurs. On the territory of canyon is preserved great number of calcified remains of prehistoric animals and dinosaurs. The age of these findings is more than 75 mln. years and this is the third such large-scaled finding throughout the world. The length of canyon is 2400 meters and the depth 20-40 m. In the middle of it is a 12 meters height beautiful waterfall. Martvili canyon is interesting not only with its prehistoric pas, but it is just beautiful and everything is mentioned by it. Here you can enjoy with a beauty of the wonder of nature, have a boat trip into the labyrinths of canyon and in some places and even you may have a bath in it.
Martvili Monastery was constructed in the late 7th century upon the roots of the old oak tree and was named in honor of Saint Andrew who preached Christianity and converted the pagans across the Samegrelo region. There was a scriptorium in the monastery. Collection of manuscripts created here is in safe keeping at the National Center of Manuscripts. Invasions of Turks and Arabs have damaged it considerably, and due to that, in the X century, the church was substantially overhauled by the king of the Abkhaz, Giorgi II (923-957). New support of the dome was made, outer walls were added, burial vault was leaned to. The painting of the monastery was performed in the XVI-XVII centuries by orders of Odishi rulers. To the north of the main cathedral, on the fence stands three-level minuscule cross-dome type church of Chikvani constructed of cut stones.
The summer residence of Dadiani in the village Salkhino is truly distinguished. The palace is situated near the home of Ojaleshi (variety of wine grape) on the bank of river Tsachkhura, which is famed for its fine trout. The plan of palace, with its ground-floor wine vessel, oaken posts, and handsomely ornamented arch, fully justifies the name of palace Salkhino, which means “Festive”. The idea of building a palace of this kind, on this spot, could only have come to a Prince such as Levan Dadiani, who spent all his life in feasting and singing. The garden was designed by an Italian designer Zeb Lambert. In the end of the garden there is a wine cellar built in the 18th century.
Overnight in Martvili. dinner. Time free
Day 4. Martvili – Balda – Kagu Waterfall - Motena Cave –Toba Waterfall - Oniore Waterfall - Martvili
After breakfast we go to the village Balda. We begin making transition towards a 15 metre The waterfall of Kagu. After the village, we go down towards the river, we pass The monastery of Balda and we go out towards the waterfall. Then according to track of the 0,5 km length it is possible to reach the cave of Motena, which is on the spine disposed east of Tabakeli. The cave is located at an altitude of 570 m above the sea level is worked out in the limestone layers éocène. His previous part is demolished and appears, as the opened throat. The cave of Motena is made up of two big rooms linked up by a narrow slit.. The length of first room of 30 m, the height 24-25 m complete Length of cave in 75 metres of chemical stores are stalactites and stalagmites, waterfalls of travertin. There is also a historical building, which was used in the Middle Ages as a fortress. It is necessary to mark that the visit of the cavern is not linked to any difficulties.
After visit we come back to the village Balda, then we go on towards the canyon being in the periphery of the village and which will be examined with a bridge spanned through the Canyon. Afterwards we head for the waterfalls of Toba and Oniore. These cataracts represent in reality some of the most considerable sources of the river of Abacha. At the root of the cataract, the water of constant limestone formed flapping deep pot filled with emerald water. In some time we will see a huge and very nice cataract of this valley – Toba. His 234 metre waterfall with a powerful debit avoids outside since a grand opening (25 x 11 metres). Towards cave 985 metres long, by which the river runs under the earth, has access only to the specialists, what confirms once again the originality of the ground. The Waterfall of Toba follows from the cave called the name of Arsene Okrodzhanashvili. It is the monument like Georgia. Unlike the cave of Motena, this underground creation of nature is not very accessible, it is possible to be only with the help of mountaineers’ special equipment there. The waterfall of Toba am highest in Georgia. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to see the cataract entirely, it is almost impossible, since the flux of the water, by going down down, gets lost in wood covering the slopes of mountains.
After the visit of the cave and waterfall, we head according to the track towards which is located at a distance of 2-kilometres in the northwest – the waterfall of Oniore following from the cave of Toba. Cellar and waterfall are a natural complex of monuments. Their beauty make a lasting impression on the visitors. The cave is located at an altitude of 750 m. above sea level and it is worked out in the upper layers of calcareous stones. The cave breadth of the entrance of which the height and is of 5 metres, passes to the vaulted room, where from moves away straight on the northeast, on the distance of 150-160 metres entrance envelop eastward and end with the siphon. The complete length the cave is 235 metres.
From the cave a powerful flux of the water follows, which forms on surfaces the waterfall of Oniore. The river, which follows from the mountain, in some time hides under the earth, and goes out in 5 km, by creating the waterfall of Oniore. A powerful flux liberated from the underground chains, drawn out of the hole in the rock, with a noise falls to the magical wood, where all trees are covered with the ship’s apprentices. Fortunately, it is corners still not much known by the world keeping original beauty. Having had dinner, had a swim and penetrated with the magnetism of these places, we put on under way.
Overnight in Martvili. dinner. Time free
Day 5. Martvili – Akhuti – Shurubumu – Lugela – Gvalashara – Otsindale - Tsalendjikha
Akhuti is the village located east of the city Chkhorotsqou, between the valleys of Zana and Otskarie. Several historical churches sonr kept in the village: “Dokhoroe”, “Legersame” and “Gogoletis sakatsio”. They dispose here the rests of the castle of “Salipartio”. In the village the monuments of national architecture were also wary
The territory of the village of Mukhuri (Chkhorotsqu) is crossed by Shurubumu canyon rich with the most beautiful cascades of waterfalls. The local population used Shurubumu cave for curing asthma, and in Kalichoni and Letsurtsume klastokarst caves dwellings of primitive hominids were discovered. Among the caves of Mingaria massif the Shurubumu karst Cave is notable. Entrance of the Shurubumu Cave (“shurubumu” means “silent” in Mengrelian dialect) is blocked by the stone avalanche. The Cave is adorned with almost all kinds of melted forms – stalactites and helictites as well. Walls are decorated with “stone waterfalls”. Water flow passes through the cave. Shurubumu Cave is one of the interesting objects of nature.
Another popular place in Chkhorotsqu is a seaside station of Lougela, which is also not far. Here the air of mountains was saturated some ozone, blends with maritime that made in his indeed healthy. Lugela celebrates for the waters of calcium chloride which cure diseases of the skeletal system and pronunciations, allergies, nephrite, stomatite, bleedings, etc. Nearby a water source is which favours the healing of diseases of the gastro-intestinal tract, and the cave used since the ancient time for the treatment of diseases of the respiratory system. By going on, you can enter the Alpine zone of the mountains of the Caucasus, and use the view of the meadows, from lakes and from waterfalls. We go farther according to the throat of Louguela and we reach the cascade of Gvalachara. We stop in the wood of Natipouri. These sites by these beauties produce unforgettable impression on the visitors.
Otsindale is a populated place in Chkhorotsqu. It is located at an elevation of 823 meters above sea level . At Taia village, a few kilometres southeast of Mukhuri and 15km north of Chkhorotsku. Its church dates back to the 11th century: a solar disc on its ceiling and the nearby ‘phallus stone’ are survivors from pre-Christian rites here.The complex combines a tower, which was constructed around the 8th century. The 80th years, church has been restored and handicraftsmen left some stones which it is stored in the museum Chkhorotsqu. The monastery of Otsidale is on a superbly panoramic hill With in full view on all Region of Samegrelo, on mountains of Gourie and zone of Black Sea of Abkhazia. We stay here to see «the nicest sunset in the world»
Overnight in Tsalendjikha. dinner. Time free.
Day 6. Tsalendjikha - Enguri dam - Tsaishi - Zugdidi
Cathedral of Christ the Savior, located on the banks of the River Tskhenistskali in the Georgian town of Tsalenjikha, refers to the ancient medieval buildings in the country. Cathedral with cross-domed architecture and three arcaded galleries, two of which were converted after in the family chapel was built in the XII-XIV commissioned kind Dadiani, who ruled in the Samegrelo. In the northwestern part of the wall that surrounds the church, is a two-storey bell tower. The ruins of the palace Dadiani are in the temple courtyard. First of all, Tsalenjikha Cathedral is known for its unique frescoes in the style of Renaissance, which were carried out from Constantinople hired artist Manuel Evgenikosom, as evidenced by the inscription on one of the pillars of the temple.
Visit of The Enguri dam, located in Georgia’s northwestern town of Jvari, is being added to the country’s list of most distinguished cultural heritage sites. The beautiful arched damn is the world’s second highest concrete arch dam, reaching 271.5 metres high and 728 metres wide and is jointly operated jointly by Georgia and breakaway Abkhazia as it lies on the Enguri River that separates the two areas. The dam located on the Georgian side in Upper Svaneti. It is beautiful place with wide panorama of mountains and blue lake.
Tsaishi Cathedral– was the Episcopal Cathedral. It is unknown its construction date. The information about the existence comes from XIV century. There was the crypt Dadiani’s family. Tsaishi necropolis is the interesting historical monuments, but many graves are lost, because the inscriptions on the graves aren’t available to read.
Visit of Dadiani Palace. The treasure of Zugdidi is graceful patrimonial palace of Dadiani princes, with great park. At the present time, it is a museum with uncommon historical collection, icluding the death mask of Napoleon Bonaparte. The oldest aristocratic family of Dadiani princes is known for its relations with Napoleon Bonaparte. In Vlakherna church, in Zugdidi, is kept one of the most precious Christian relics -Cincture of the Virgin Mary – christian relic, that belonged to Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ.
Zugdidi Botanical Garden was built in the late 19th century by the prince of Samegrelo David Dadiani, near his residence. The garden now has over eighty genus of exotic plants introduced from southeast Asia, India, Japan, Mediterranean and the Americas. David Dadiani ruler of Samegrelo began the construction of a decorative garden in 1840. Soon care and its management of the estate passed to his wife, Ekaterina Chavchavadze-Dadiani. Ekaterina was enthusiastic about her work, and in a short time had stocked the garden with a great variety of native and exotic plants.
Overnight in Zugdidi. dinner. Time free
Day 7. Zugdidi - Anaklia - Poti - Tbilisi
Breakfast. Drive to Anaklia. The crown jewel of the Georgian Black Sea coast – Anaklia is today a developing resort. A lot was done during recent years to develop resort area of Anaklia. The government offered investors beneficial terms and conditions for development of the seaside. After that hotels, restaurants, aqua-park, casino, amphitheater and other items of sea resort infrastructure appeared in Anaklia. Foundation was laid to the construction of several high-ranking hotels. The seaside is adorned with boulevard linking two villages – Anaklia and Ganmukhuri.
Acquaintance with Poti – a port city, located on the Black Sea coast. At the beginning of the VI c. this city was a Greek colony and was called Phasis. According to the Greek myth about the Argonauts, this city was the place of destination of the Argonauts in their searches of the Golden Fleece.
Visite to Kolkheti National Park . It includes east coast line of Black Sea and Lake Paliastomi basin. In the lake archaeologists have found part of the settlement, inhabited at least since the II. BC to VIII. BC. National Park is created in order to protect and maintain Kolkheti wetland ecosystems of International importance. Kolkheti National Park Administration offers boat tours on Lake Paliastomi and river Pichori gorge, as well as sport fishing, bird watching and eco-educational tours. Tours are carried out throughout the year Visitors center of the national park will help you to organize a tour.
Drive tu Tbilisi. dinner. Time free
Day 8. Departure
The price per person $ US Dollars
Price Includes: Transfers, Transport throughout all round, Accommodation in Tbilisi (2 nights), Martvili (3), Tsalendjikha (1), Zugdidi (1). Breakfast in the hotel (7) , Services of the guide, Insurance.
Not included: Air Tickets. Meals and Drinks not mentioned in the program.