Unique landscapes of this region eloquently “speak” about the wealth of the nature: it is revealed by a unique mixture of all four seasons. Everything in Georgia speaks about its greatness and cultural wealth of ancient people. Numerous monuments – cult structures of the early Christianity, ancient churches and monasteries hiding in the Caucasian Mountains are silent witnesses to its rich history.
Day 1 Arrival
Day 2 Tbilisi - Mtskheta - Tbilisi
Breakfast at the hotel. Excursion in Mtskheta – the town-museum, included to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List. Mtskheta is one of the oldest cities of the country of Georgia (in Kartli province of Eastern Georgia), located ~ 15 kilometers north of Tbilisi at the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers.
Due to its historical significance and numerous ancient monuments, the “Historical Monuments of Mtskheta” became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
Visit of the ancient temple – monastery Jvari (VI c.). On the top of the mountain where the temple is placed, opens a fantastic view on the place of junction of two rivers – Kura and Aragvi. There also opens a beautiful view on the ancient capital of Georgia – Mtskheta.
Visit of Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (1010-1029), at the bottom of which is buried one of the major Christian relics Lords chiton, one of the most important sacred artifacts of the New Testament that after the crucifixion of Christ was brought to Mtskheta by Elioz – one of the witnesses of his death on the cross, and it is also the burial place of many of the Georgian kings. Here is also the part of life-giving pillar.
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.
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.
Overnight in Tbilisi. Dinner. Free time.
Day 3 Tbilisi – Bolnisi – Dmanisi- Tbilisi
Breakfast at the hotel. Did you know that the Georgian alphabet is one of the 14 original alphabets created by the humanity? The legend tells of origination of the Georgian writing in the III century BC, scientists argue about different theories of a later period. Some of the most ancient Georgian inscriptions are found on the walls of the Bolnisi Sioni Church. This church itself is the oldest basilica in the country and with it the history of the Georgian church architecture began.
Bolnisi Sioni Church was built in 478-493 years, immediately after gaining autocephaly by the Georgian Orthodox Church. When arriving to the church you will find that in that early days architects did not seek to decorate facades. Emphasis was on the interior. Thus, exterior of the church is decorated with only lining of green tuff. While inside of the church produces monumental impression of strength and greatness thanks to its simple forms and harmonious proportions.
Another leap into the past awaits us ahead in the town of Dmanisi. Discoveries that were made here caused a sensation in the world of anthropology. During an excavation, scientists found five well-preserved remains of primitive people. Analysis showed that age of Homo Georgicus is 1.77 million years – that is, it is the most ancient man who lived on the territory of Europe. Learning more about our distant ancestors is possible in the museum, which operates in Dmanisi archaeological zone.
Among the other attractions of this place are remains of the city that emerged in the VI century – remains of walls and towers, VII century basilica and well preserved baths. Around the deserted Dmanisi settlement lie beautiful mountains and canyons, and atmosphere of antiquity flows in the air.
Having finished the tour, we can return to Tbilisi. Dinner. Free time.
Day 4 Tbilisi – Ananuri – Kazbegi – Tbilisi
You will make your first interesting images on the bank of the Zhinvali reservoir. A vast expanse of water is spread among the forest-covered mountains at the confluence of two rivers – Black and White Aragvi. 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. Here they prepare the most delicious khinkali – so do not miss your chance! Moreover, that mountain air stimulates appetite very much and a tasty lunch is a great way to rest before climbing the steep serpentine of the Gergeti Mountain.
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. You will be definitely prompted to think what a titanic work must have done by residents of these places to build a masterpiece of medieval architecture at the height of 2170 meters. However, all thoughts is superseded by a magnificent view of the Dariali Gorge from Gergeti Church. 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. There are no enough words to describe the landscape – it must be seen! But the strongest impression you get when you look back.
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..Try to leave a little space in a memory card of your camera – our journey is not over yet. Descending from Gergeti, you go to the picturesque mountain village of Sno and see the old houses of Georgian mountaineers. Local landmark – a beautiful little fortress with a typical mountainous tower is perfect for group photo in the memory of the journey to the peaks of the Caucasus. 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 (4 nights), Breakfast (4), Entrance Tickets, Insurance, Services of the guide.
Not included: Air Tickets. Meals and Drinks not mentioned in the program.