The most beautiful places in Georgia. Medieval fortresses merge with breathtaking nature leaving every person, who visits this province at least once with unforgettable impressions. While travelling to the villages of Tusheti you feel as if time has stopped and you travel in the middle ages.
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 - Ananuri - Kazbegi - Tbilisi
Breakfast at the hotel. Visit of the first capital of Georgia – the city of Mtskheta which is included into the list of Heritage of UNESCO. In this city, in the temple of “Svetistskhoveli”. which is also included into the list of Heritage of UNESCO, the shrine of all Christians – Heaton Christ is stored.
Visits of the temple of “Djvari” (VI). The monastery is on the high mountain, there opens a beautiful view of the city and merge of two rivers Aragvi and the river Mtkvari.
Our path will run north along the Georgian Military Highway, to the border with Russia. Throughout the route you will be surrounded by dramatic mountain scenery.
Eight kilometers from the dam there stands Ananuri castle. The waters of Aragvi rise to the very walls of this magnificent monument of the XVII century. The fortress walls are fortified by two large and several small towers, which offer magnificent views. Inside the fortifications there are two outbuildings and the dome churches, the main church of which is decorated with rich carvings on the facade in the form of a cross and grapes.
In the hollow of Kobi a highway connects to the river Terek, violent temper of which has repeatedly been described by classics and sung by poets. We will go along the shore and 20 minutes later arrive to Stephantsminda settlement, which was called Kazbegi in the years of 1921-2007.
One of the symbols of Georgia, church of the Holy Trinity built in the XIV century, with its austere charm and wild beauty of this place have a striking effect on one’s imagination. Far below lies Stephantsminda, while on the opposite side of the gorge there is a steep rock wall of height of more than 4 kilometers. Gergeti Trinity Church is built against the background of the eternal glaciers of Kazbek – the very same mountains from Greek mythology, where the gods chained Prometheus for stealing fire for people. Its peak whitens at the altitude of 5034 meters, and snow never melts there. Georgian name of Kazbek is Mkinvartsveri, which means icy peak.
Overnight in Tbilisi. Dinner. Free time.
Day 3. Tbilisi – Alvani – Omalo
Deaprture early in the morning fom Tbilisi. The route to Tusheti lays through Kakheti region. Arival to Alvani (near Telavi). Departure to Omalo. Omalo is the principle village in Tusheti. Omalo is the economic centre of Tusheti where the only airport, boarding school and hospital in the region are located. It lays between the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range and the Pirikiti Range of Tusheti. This is one of the holy places of the Tushetians. Omalo is divided into two parts: New and Old Omalo. The last one is called “Keselo”. The castle of “Keselo” is a middle aged castle, which looks down to New Omalo.
Visit to Keselo – a small medieval fortress just above the village of Omalo. Keselo towers which originally totaled thirteen were constructed during the Mongol invasion of Georgia in 1230s. During the raid on Tush villages by the invader, people abandoned their villages and used towers as temporary shelters.
Departure to Omalo. Check in at the hotel-guesthouse. Dinner . Free time.
Day 4. Omalo – Dartlo – Kvavlo – Farsma – Girevi – Omalo
Breakfast at the hotel. Visit to Pirikiti Range of Tusheti. The road leads along the pine forest to the field (2250m) that is a crossing point of trails to Dartlo, Omalo and Gometsari. This is a place where all Tushetian community meetings were held in the past. There are up to 50 depopulated and abandoned villages in Tusheti.
Tusheti villages sre decorated by the towers and castles, which defended the population against neighboring community’s attack. Most of these castles are destroyed now. Tusheti villages are situated along the eastern bank of the River Alazani.
Visits to ancient Tusheti villages: Kvavlo, Dano, Farsma and Girevi. (sometimes Farsma and Girevi isn’t approachable because of the roads conditions). The most astonishing place is a village Dartlo, which has still its ancient look. It is located in the middle of the gorge sheltered under inaccessible Dano and Kvavlo. There are ruins of ancient church there, only men have access to this church.
Overnight in Omalo. Dinner . Free time.
Day 5. Omalo – Gometsari Valley – Omalo
After breakfast visit to Gometsari Gorge. There are many gorges in Tusheti. The most important is a gorge of Gometsari and Pirikita Alazani. There are still some ancient ruins of villages in both gorges. Villages and the sites of ancient villages sheltered on the mountain slopes and rocks like eagle nests adorn Gometsari gorge.Those villages are: Dochu, Beghela, Jvarboseli, Iliurta and others (sometimes Jvarboseli and Ilurta aren’t approachable because of the roads conditions).
Many of them have survived as ruins only. Dochu is one of the most well preserved old Tushetian architectural monument. It is exciting to see three-storied houses, halls and boiler-houses in the village. Gometsari Gorge is also famous for Dochu . This event is held here every year in July, the date is not fixed. We advice you not to leave out it.
Back to Omalo in the evening. Dinner . Free time.
Day 6. Omalo – Shenako – Tbilisi
Breakfast at the hotel.Early check out at the hotel. Visit to the most beautiful villages of Tusheti: Shenako This village is densely populated what has been caused by small land areas on the one hand, and by the fear of the enemies’ invasions, on the other hand. The village Shenako is overlooked by Mount Diklo and contains a series of buildings of Georgian folk. You can visit a small church in Shenako.
Depature to Tbilisi. En route you can visit Alaverdi and Shuamta Monastery.
Located 20 km from Telavi is a Kakheti relic, one of the most well-known medieval temples in Georgia – Alaverdi cathedral (located in the settlement with the same name). It was built in the beginning of the 11 the century and was one of the tallest structures of the time. The temple was built on the site of a small church of St. George. The temple is still called St. George Cathedral (Tsminda Georgi). Alaverdi cathedral was repeatedly destroyed. Its first restoration was accomplished in the 15 the century. The second one was in the 18 the century after the disastrous earthquake. Restorations have changed the cathedral a little but nevertheless it remains the outstanding example of medieval Georgian architecture.
Near Telavi 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. According to the legend the monastery was constructed by Tina, the Kakhetin queen. When she was a little girl she had a dream where she was told to build an orthodox temple. In her dream she saw the site of the future monastery. The place appeared unfamiliar, and only when she married Kakhetin prince Levan, Tina recognized the place during her travel across Georgia. That was how the monastery was founded and later Tina took the veil there.
Arrival to Tbilisi in the evening. Farewell dinner at the restaurant in Tbilisi. Overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 7. 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 8. Departure
Breakfast at the hotel. Purchase of souvenirs. Transfer to the airport.
The price per person $ (US Dollars)
|Accommodation||2 pers||4 pers||6 pers||8 pers||10 pers|
Price Includes: Transfers, Transport throughout all round, Accommodation in Tbilisi (4 nights). Guesthous in Omalo (3). Breakfast in the hotel (7) , Services of the guide, Insurance.
Not included: Air Tickets. Meals and Drinks not mentioned in the program.