Georgia is very colorful and exotic country where ancient traditions closely, but very carefully are intertwined with modernity. It is a country in which the monuments of architecture, in spite of enemy invasion, destruction and recovery again stand proudly in almost pristine condition, and are ready to delight the tourists and remain a source of pride among local residents. Once you get in this sunny country, you will fall in love with it forever.
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 -Mtskheta -Tbilisi
Breakfast at the hotel. Visit the city of Mtskheta which is included into the list of Heritage of UNESCO. Mtskheta is an ancient town of extraordinary importance to the Georgian nation. It was the capital of the eastern Georgian kingdom of Iberia from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD. Mtskheta was the site of Georgia’s adoption of Christianity in 334 and remains the headquarters of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Mtskheta is of primary interest to any travelers interested in Georgian history or Orthodox Christianity.
Visits 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.
Visit of Svetitskhoveli (The Life Giving Pillar) Cathedral, 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.
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.
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 – Signagi – Bodbe – Tsinandali –Ikalto - Shuamta - Udjarma - Tbilisi
Breakfast at the hotel. Trip to one of the biggest regions of Georgia – Kakheti which is a winemaking Cradle.
Visit of the city of love -Signagi. Sighnaghi and its environs are home to several historical and cultural monuments and has been specifically protected by the State since 1975. The town is walled with the remnants of 18th-century fortifications. There are two Georgian Orthodox churches in the town itself – one dedicated to St. George and the other to St. Stephen.
Visit village Bodbe – monastery complex of St. George and the grave of St. Nino who brought Christianity to Georgia. There is the burial site of St. Nino and it is believed that having bath in saint water of the monastery can heal the sick and make miserable people happy. Ablutions in this spring is compared to the holy Communion in Georgia
Transfer to Tsinandali – house museum of A. Chavchavadze, famous Georgian commander and cultural figure. Excursion through the house museum and magnificent garden with exotic plants. Tsinandali, one of the most remarkable country estates in Kakheti, Georgia. Tsinandali refers to four different phenomena: the Estate of Tsinandali, the village of Tsinandali, the Chavchavadze’s summer home, and several vintages of white wine. Initially built during the 19th Century, the house, winery and gardens tell the story of a fascinating family: The Chavchavadzes. Their story beguiles and charms Georgians and foreigners.
Drive to Ikalto Religious Academy. Late in the 6th century Saint Zenon, one of the “Syrian Fathers”, founded the Ikalto Monastery 7-8 km west of the town Telavi. The Monastery was famous as one of the most significant cultural-scholastic centers of Kakheti as well as of the whole of Georgia because of the Spiritual Academy in which outstanding Georgian philosopher Arsen Ikaltoeli used to live and work. Archaeological excavations revealed numerous workshops, wine-cellars, a smithy, store-rooms and other household rooms grouped around the Academy building. The Academy of Ikalto trained its students in theology, rhetoric, astronomy, philosophy, geography, geometry, chanting, etc. Besides the theoretical courses, the students were skilled in pottery making, metal work, viticulture and wine making, pharmacology, etc.
Near Ikalto in the village of Shuamta you will see the fragments of Dzveli-Shuamta and Akhali Shuamta monasteries (old Shuamta and new Shauamta). These two monasteries absolutely differ from each other in architecture and were built at different times. Dzveli Shuamta monastery is more ancient. It is a complex of several ancient churches. The small church standing in the foreground is dated the 5th century, the other two – bigger and smaller domical churches – the 7th century. The bigger church is very similar to Mtskheta Dzhvari temple. The churches have the 12th-century paintings. Akhali Shuamta Monastery was built later in the 16 th century. This monastery is still active. The big temple, the bell tower, the fencing parts of the monastery complex.
Udjarma is a fortress-town located between Tbilisi and Telavi, 40 km away from the Georgian capital. The road there lies through beautiful Gomborinek mountain pass. For a long time it has been hidden from the eyes of tourists, until 2010 when a new road to Telavi passing by the fortress was built. Since then Ujarma has become one of the major attractions and a must-see spot in the bucket list of many tourists. The fortress is one of the most important Georgian architectural monuments of Early Middle Ages, due to its strategic location and value in the past. It was built in the 3rd century AD, as one of the Georgian kings’ and prince’s main residencies.
Transfer to Tbilisi. Dinner. Free time.
Day 4. Tbilisi – Gori –Ateni - Uplistsikhe – Tbilisi
After breakfast we will visit the Gori fortress in the hilltop. The territory of Gori has been populated since the early Bronze Age. According to the medieval Georgian chronicles, the town of Gori was founded by King David IV (r. 1089-1125) . However, the fortress of Gori (Goris-Tsikhe) appears to have been in use already in the 7th century, and archaeological evidence indicates the existence of an urban community in Classical Antiquity.
Visite the Joseph Stalin Museum – The main corpus of the complex is a large palazzo in Stalinist Gothic style, built in 1951 ostensibly as a local history museum, but clearly intended to become a memorial to Stalin, who died in 1953. The exhibition is chronologically divided into several rooms, which keeps a lot of exhibits that are actually or allegedly owned by Stalin, including furniture, personal items and gifts. There are also exhibits on display in the form of documents, photographs, drawings and newspaper articles.
Drive to Ateni Sioni Church which is an early 7th-century Georgian Orthodox church some 10 km (6 miles) south of the city of Gori, Georgia. It stands in a setting of the Tana River valley known not only for its historical monuments but also for its picturesque landscapes and wine. The name “Sioni” derives from Mount Zion at Jerusalem.
Afterwards the group will visit Ufliscixe Cave Town (1st millennium BC) . Uplistsikhe – “King of the castles” – is an ancient rock-hewn town in eastern Georgia, some 10 kilometers east of the town of Gori, Shida Kartli. Built on a high rocky left bank of the Mtkvari River, it contains various structures dating from the Early Iron Age to the Late Middle Ages, and is notable for the unique combination of various styles of rock-cut cultures from Anatolia and Iran, as well as the co-existence of pagan and Christian architectureUplistsikhe is identified by archaeologists as one of the oldest urban settlements in Georgia. Strategically located in the heartland of ancient kingdom of Kartli (or Iberia as it was known to the Classical authors), it emerged as a major political and religious center of the country.
Return 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 (4 nights), Breakfast (4), Insurance, Services of the guide.
Not included: Air Tickets. Meals and Drinks not mentioned in the program.