In the south of Georgia you will find the provinces of Samtsche – Djavakheti – a land of forested mountains and steep river valleys, gushing rivers and clear lakes. The region is dotted with castles and fortresses from different periods. The place is full of interesting historical objects and unusual landscapes which are different from any other part of Georgia. Untouched nature, in combination with little resort cities makes the trip to Djavakheti especially appealing.
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.
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.
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. 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.
In the old part of the city you can visit the well-known Tbilisi sulfuric baths or the baths of tsar Rostom. They are located in Grishashvili Street near the Kura embankment. The emergence of the baths was promoted by the abundance of hot sulfuric springs in the area. All of them were built I different times – approximately it the 17 th – 19 th centuries. The oldest of them is the Irakli bath which was an object of ownership arguments between the imperial family and Georgian princes in the 16 th century.
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 – Akhaltsikhe – Khertvisi - vardzia - Akhaltsikhe
Breakfast at the hotel. You will go to one of historical regions of Georgia, Samtskhe-Dzhavakheti. The old stone Rabati fortress. Its name comes from Arabic meaning “fortified place”. It is located on the western suburbs and can be seen practically from anywhere in the city. This military building erected in the 13th century had witnessed a lot over the centuries. The fortress had been destroyed several times, was often in a siege, as a result of which had absorbed tracks of different cultures and religions.which it was recognized as the tolerant city since ancient times and to this day along with orthodox church of Saint Marina, the mosque, Catholic church, a synagogue and the Armenian church are presented there.
Visite to Khertvisi fortress – one of the oldest fortresses in Georgia and was functional throughout the Georgian feudal period. It is situated in Southern Georgia, in Meskheti region. The fortress was first build in the 2nd century BC. The church was built in 985, and the present walls build in 1354. As the legend says, Khertvisi was destroyed by Alexander the Great. In the 10th-11th centuries it was the center of Meskheti region. During the 12th century it became a town. In the 13th centuryMongols destroyed it and until the 15th century it lost its power. In the 15th century it was owned by Meskheti landlords from Jakeli family.
You can visit the City of Vardzia, which is built in the rocks where on different floors it is possible to move through confidential internal ladders. The main period of construction was the second half of the twelfth century. The caves stretch along the cliff for some five hundred metres and in up to nineteen tiers. The Church of the Dormition, dating to the 1180s during the golden age of Tamar and Rustaveli, has an important series of wall paintings: The site was largely abandoned after the Ottoman takeover, in the sixteenth century. Now part of a state heritage reserve, the extended area of Vardzia has been submitted for future inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List:
Spend the night in Akhaltsikhe.
Day 4. Akhaltsikhe -Borjomi -Ateni - Uplistsikhe - Tbilisi
Breakfast at the hotel. Trip to the city of Borjomi. It is one of the districts of the Samtskhe-Javakheti region and is situated in the northwestern part of the region in the picturesque Borjomi Gorgeon the eastern edge of the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. The town is famous for its mineral water industry (which is the number one export of Georgia), the Romanov summer palace in Likani, and the World Wide Fund for Nature – site Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. Borjomi mineral water is particularly well known in those countries which were part of the former Soviet Union; the bottling of mineral water is a major source of income for the area. Because of the supposed curative powers of the area’s mineral springs, it is a frequent destination for people with health problems.
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
The price per person $ US Dollars
Price includes: Transfers, Transport throughout all round, Accommodation in Tbilisi (3 nights), in Vardzya (1 night),Breakfast (4), Insurance, Services of the guide.
Not included: Air Tickets. Meals and Drinks not mentioned in the program.