Ateni Sioni Church (Region of Kartli)

The Ateni Sioni Church  is an early 7th-century Georgian Orthodox church in the village of Ateni, some 10 km (6.2 mi) south of the city of Gori. 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. Near the church there are the ruins of the medieval fortified town of Ateni (modern-day villages of Didi Ateni and Patara Ateni). The name “Sioni” derives from Mount Zion at Jerusalem. Sioni is an early example of a “four-apsed church with four niches domed tetraconch (between the four apses are three-quarter cylindrical niches which are open to the central space).

The church’s cruciform interior measures 24m x 19.22m, and its façades are faced with carved rectangular greenish-gray stones, richly decorated with ornaments and figurative reliefs. The church is not dated but is very similar to the Jvari Monastery at Mtskheta, which is generally held to have preceded it. The walls of the church contain the first inscriptions in Nuskhuri or Nuskha-Khutsuri, one of the versions of the early Georgian alphabet, dating from 835. The first examples of Mkhedruli, a currently used Georgian script, are also found in the Ateni Sioni church and date back to the 980s. One of the inscriptions at the church commemorates Adarnase, the first documented Georgian Bagratid nobleman who was the father of Ashot I, the founder of the new royal line of Georgia.

Atskuri fortress (Region of Samtskhe-Javakheti)

Atskuri fortress belongs to the oldest period of Georgian history. On the South slope of the rock where the fortress was built are the remains of ancient dwellings. In historical sources the fortress is first mentioned in the XI century as one of the most important strategic buildings of historical Meskheti. The extant remains of the fortress belong to the middle Ages. Builders of fortress mastered the most difficult relief of the rocks and created a complex-structured facility.

Entrance to the fortress passes through a narrow cut in a rock tunnel. The internal structure was so inaccessible that it was difficult for an invading enemy to conquer it even after passing the tunnel. In XVI century, the fortress was captured by the Ottomans amd Atskuri fortress became a springboard from which the Turks attacked eastern and western Georgia. At present, the unity of the fortress buildings is destroyed. Here one may see building layers of different times. 

Baghdati Museum (Region of  Imereti)

The territory of Baghdati is mainly mountainous, a small part is occupied by a plain-lowland. The main orographic unit of the municipality is the Meskhetian Range, the northern ramifications of which rapidly descend to the lowlands of Imereti. The region also covers part of the Imereti lowland. Baghdati municipality is distinguished by its beauty and abundance of cultural monuments. Medieval castles and temples located in the area are an important part of Georgian culture. Baghdati is also famous for its beautiful nature and an abundance of interesting monuments, which, together with the resorts, is due to its tourism potential. The area is visited by many nature and travel lovers.

Vladimir Mayakovsky was born in Baghdati. The father of the future poet served as a forester of the third category in the Baghdati forestry, Kutaisi province. The house where the family lived until the death of Vladimir  Mayakovsky was turned into a museum, and the city itself was renamed Mayakovsky. The museum was founded by personal order of Stalin in 1940, at the same time Baghdati was renamed Mayakovsky and was called that way for the next 50 years. The sisters and mother of Mayakovsky donated items and personal belongings that have survived from the time when they lived here, and the furniture they sold when they left was found and bought from the townspeople. The literary section contains copies of letters, drawings, books and posters by Mayakovsky.

Ancient Bagineti (Mtskheta-Mtianeti Region)

On the right bank of the Kura (Mtkvari) river, on a mountain promontory, was located on the way to the capital of the roads, the Armaztsikhe acropolis, now called Bagineti. The walls of the acropolis, following the relief, outlined an irregular figure in plan and occupied an area of about 30 hectares. The walls (2.6-4 m thick), which had quadrangular towers and buttresses, were erected directly on the rock in a hollowed-out furrow. The lower part of the walls is built of well-hewn stone; the masonry was dry, the quadras (size 0.5 x 1 m) were connected with iron clips in the form of dovetail.

A mud wall ran over the stone foundation (the total height of the walls reached 6 m). For the masonry, earthen mortar and earthenware were applied, as a result of which the wall looked like a monolithic mass; for greater reliability, it was also reinforced with transverse oak beams. The frames of the entrances and windows were made of stone. The towers appear to have been covered with red tiles (flat and grooved). In terms of location and construction technique, the Armaztsikhe acropolis has many features in common with the defensive structures of Western Asia, in particular Urartu and Achaemenid Iran.

Bagrati  Cathedral (Region of Imereti)

The Cathedral of the Dormition, more known as Bagrati Cathedral , is the 11th-century church in the city of Kutaisi. The cathedral, now in ruins, has gone down as a masterpiece in the history of medieval Georgian architecture.A distinct landmark in the scenery of central Kutaisi, the cathedral rests upon the top of Uk’imerioni Hill. It was built in the early years of the 11th century, during the reign of King Bagrat III due to which it was called “Bagrati” Cathedral, i.e., Bagrat’s cathedral. An inscription on the north wall reveals that the floor was laid in “chronicon 223“, i.e., 1003.

In 1692 it was devastated in an explosion by the Ottoman troops, which had invaded the Kingdo of Imereti.  The incident caused the cupola and ceiling to collapse leaving the cathedral in its present state. The conservation and restoration works, as well as archaeological studies, which began in 1952, are still underway.  In 2001, the cathedral was restored to the Georgian Orthodox Church.  It is now of limited use for worship services, but attracts many pilgrims and tourists. It is also frequently used as a symbol of the whole city of Kutaisi, being one of its maintourist attractions.

In 1994, the Bagrati Cathedral, was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.

Bakuriani resort(Region of Samtskhe-Javakheti)

Popular mounting skiing and health resort of Bakuriani is situated in Borjomi gorge, on the Northern slope of Trialeti range, and is surrounded by unique fir-tree and pine-tree groves and alpine meadows. In 1910 on the Western slope of Kokhta-Gora mount Botanical garden was founded. The purpose of setting up Botanical garden was introduction and acclimatization of high mountain vegetation. It was a chief of Botanical garden, Kozlovski, who hosted first skiers visiting the settlement.

Later on Giorgi Nikoladze, the son of a Georgian public figure, Niko Nikoladze, who had a degree from European education institution and should be credited for the development of Georgian sports, started promotion of winter sports and trial and usage of Bakuriani slopes. In the 30-ies Bakuriani already had skiing base and several children’s sanatoria. In several years two 45- and 75-meter ski-jumps were erected, cable lifts constructed, and skiing trails for professionals and amateur  skiers laid.

In Soviet times Bakuriani hosted winter sport competitions of various levels. Members of the Soviet Olympic teams gathered there for training sessions. Fascinated by location and scenery of the resort, guests called Bakuriani ‘Capital of Soviet skiing sport’ and ‘Soviet Davos’.

Batumi Botanical Garden  (Region of Adjara)

Batumi Botanical Garden are situated 9 km north to Batumi. It is unique throughout the former Soviet Union. The place of location is called Mtsvane Kontskhi (Green Cape). The Gardens are inseparably connected with Andrey Krasnov, the acknowledged classic in Botanical and physical geography.  Batumi Botanical Gardens have no analogy in the world in a sense that the plants of completely different climatic and landscape zones co-exist here side by side. It may seem strange but the date-palm as well as Japanese Sakura grow equally well here. The Gardens represent thousands of plant species of astonishing beauty. Visitors are always fascinated by 1200 species of Rose.

The wealth of the Gardens is represented by 9 departments. These are departments of East Asia, North America, New Zealand, South America, the Himalayas, Mexico, Australia, the Mediterranean Sea and Caucasian humid subtropics. The lower, upper and seaside parks are situated on the main road of the gardens. The garden collection comprises 2037 taxonomic units of ligneous plants. Among them 104 are of Caucasian origin, and the rest are the representatives of foreign flora.

The above mentioned departments with rare and unique plants are situated successively in the Botanical Gardens. The splendid diversity of flora is represented by centenary oaks, North American Veimut Pine, Pama Washingtonia, relict beech as well as Japanese compositions of dwarf plants in miniature gardens.The Botanical Gardens are also important in the sense that a plot has been created here for the selection of endemic fruit and berry species which are rare or on the verge of extinction.

The sea view from the Botanical Gardens is really impressive. Equally impressive is the view of the gardens from the sea. There is no season without blooming in this Botanical masterpiece. It is especially fascinating in late spring, summer and early autumn, when exotic plants burst into colourful blossoms in turn and wrap the whole cape in passionate aroma. 

Berdika Fortress (Poladauri) (Region of Kvemo Kartli)

Berdika Fortress (Poladauri) is a historical fortress in Kvemo Kartli, near the Bolnisis Tskali river, on a high rocky mountain. The name of the fortress comes from the historical village of Berdika. The fortress was built in the middle of the feudal era and exercised control over the road passing through Poladauri, which crossed the Mgliskari pass to Lore.

There is no reliable information about who built this fortress. The fortress was built in two parts, each of which stood on its own rock. The fortress has retained its appearance better than most and consists of a number of ramparts and two large four-sided towers. From the north of the fortress there is a gorge, this is the only place where you can find a way to this structure. Near the fortress, in the eastern part, there are rocks to which there are a small number of paths. From the top, one can see the most beautiful places.

Betania Monastery (Surroundings of Tbilisi)

Betania is Georgian Orthodox monastery founded in 12-13th centuries. The church is situated in Didgori municipality, right side of Vere river, 16 km away from Tbilisi. It is a remarkable piece of architecture of the “Golden Age” of the Kingdom of Georgia and is notable for its wall paintings which include a group portrait of the contemporary Georgian monarchs.

A series of conflicts and foreign invasions that fill the history of Georgia left the monastery depopulated and half-ruined. It was restored, in the latter half of the 19th century, through the efforts of Hieromonk Spiridon Ketiladze who resigned as an abbot in 1922 and was succeeded by Hieromonk Ilia Pantsulaia. Both these monks were shot during the Soviet purges. Betania remained the only operating Georgian monastery, though unofficially, until 1963 when it also became defunct for the next 15 years. In 1978, the energetic Patriarch of Georgia Ilia II succeeded in obtaining permission from the Soviet authorities to reopen a monastery at Betania.

Birtvisi fortress  (Region of Kvemo kartli)

Birtvisi fortress is located in the middle of the Birtvisi canyons, on a high rock in the gorge of the Algeti river. It is not known exactly when this fortress was built. Historical chronicles mention the Birtvisi Fortress since the 11th century. Among the ruins of the fortress there are structures of both early feudal and late feudal eras. The fortress is a witness to the great history of Georgia and is a whole complex of defensive structures, during the construction of which natural features were used. Hard-to-reach rocky mountains with narrow passages between them have formed rugged canyons. The highest point in the canyons is 1200 meters.

The Birtvisi fortress is located at an altitude of about 1000 meters. At one time, the Birtvisi fortress was considered impregnable because it was located in a naturally impregnable place, surrounded by a high wall and towers. The builders of the fortress did a great job to artificially strengthen all exits and suspicious places. All necessary places are covered with a wall and organized for protection. At the entrance to the slope there is a cylindrical observation tower, the so-called “Stubborn”. The walls near the tower are equipped with a gunsmith. In addition to defensive structures, among the ruins of the fortress, houses, agricultural buildings and water reservoirs are visible. Very little has survived to this day from the ancient fortress – only a fragment of a wall, a gate, and the ruins of some buildings.