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Arrival in Tbilisi. You will be meet your guide and transferred to the hotel. Check-in at noon. Free time 1 hour. Afrerwards start your journey in Georgia with Tbilisi city tour at Metekhi church and the monument to Vakhtang Gorgasali, the legendary founder of Tbilisi. Take a cable car to Narikala Fortress to enjoy breathtaking panoramic view of the city. Walk down to the district of Sulphur bath houses passing by the only mosque in Tbilisi. Stroll through the Sharden area full of narrow streets with cozy cafés, wine tasting bars, souvenir shops, and breathe in the living past. Visit Sioni Cathedral, Anchiskhati Basilica, and the clock tower of famous Rezo Gabriadze Theatre. Cross the Bridge of Peace to Rike Park. In the evening, visit a local restaurant to taste dishes of traditional Georgian cuisine. Overnight at the hotel in Tbilisi.
After breakfast departure from Tbilisi to Uplistsikhe. It is a rock-hewn town, one of the oldest settlements in the Caucasus and a city center. Nowadays, it is a historical-architectural museum-reserve of Uplistsikhe. There are streets, squares, a sewer system, four gates, a secret tunnel that leads to the river Mtkvari, a fence, and so on. Nowadays, it is considered to be an open-air museum. In the written sources it is first mentioned in the VII century. Archaeological and architectural monuments are preserved in Uplistsikhe and its surroundings, the oldest of which dates back to the Early Bronze Age and belongs to the Mtkvari-Araksi culture. After Uplistsikhe back to visit Jvari Monastery- VI century church and monastery, located in the east of Mtskheta, at the mouth of the river Mtkvari and Aragvi, on the rocky mountain peak. Jvari Monastery is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Upon adoption of Christianity, King Mirian raised a high wooden cross on this territory, which was worshiped by other Caucasian Christian nations. Guaram, the leader of Kartli, built a small church next to the cross nowadays known as “a small cross”. At the end of VII and VII century, Guaram’s son – Stepamoz I built a big temple next to a small cathedral, nowadays known as Jvari monastery. The wooden cross got covered up by a temple. The Mtskheta church of Jvari is the first sample of the cross-shaped type churches, it is a new thing in the architecture. Other structures around the monastery (tower, fence) are much older. On the facades of the temple, you can see religious and historical persons, there are old inscriptions too. Afterwards come down and visit Mtskheta city. Town is restored in historical-architectural style. Here you will find houses, restaurants, bazaar, souvenirs and many touristic places. But most important is Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, located in city center. It is main patriarchal cathedral of the Georgian Orthodox Church, the Mother Cathedral of Georgia, the place of enthronement (enthronement) of the Georgian Catholicos-Patriarchs, the burial of many kings of Georgia, their family members and patriarchs from the great cathedrals. Monument of Georgian architecture of the XI century, one of the four great cathedrals (Oshki, Bagrati Temple, Alaverdi). Svetitskhoveli is the largest historical church building among the survived ones in Georgia. It has been the religious center of Christian Georgia for centuries. On the advice of St. Nino, King Mirian, who converted to Christianity in the 4th century, built the first church here that has not survived and reach us. In 1970-1971, during the repair and restoration works (supervised architect V. Tsintsadze), traces of its foundation were found. Also, the plan of the basilica built here was completely outlined, which Vakhtang Gorgasali in the second half of the 5th century built here, after the demolition of Nino’s Church. The Catholicos of Kartli Melkisedek built a new church on the site of the damaged basilica in the XI th century. He invited Arsukisdze as an architect. Construction began in 1010 and was completed in 1029. During its existence, Svetitskhoveli has been renovated many times. In 1283 the temple was damaged by an earthquake. In the 14th century, Giorgi Brtskinvale restored the dome of the temple. The same century, the cathedral was damaged by the invaders. At the beginning of the 15th century, King Alexander the Great rebuilt the temple. In 1656, under the leadership of King Rostom and Queen Mary, the dome was restored. Dinner in Mtskheta. After dinner departure to Tbilisi and return to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Tbilisi.
After breakfast departure from Tbilisi in the direction of Ananuri. Ananuri Fortress Complex is a fortress of the feudal era (XVI-XVIII centuries) near the village of Ananuri. It is located on the Georgian military road, at the beginning of Zhinvali reservoir, at 900 meters above sea level. The buildings included in the complex are: upper and lower fortress, fence, towers, Church of the Mother of God, Church of the Deity, “Mkurnali” Church, bell tower, octagonal cell and reservoirs. Ananuri Architectural Ensemble is one of the best monuments of the late feudal era of Georgia. This area (village) has been inhabited since ancient times. However, no traces of early buildings have survived. After the creation of Aragvi Saeristavo, it was included in this Saeristavo. Here was the main fortress of the Aragvi nobility. Its strategic importance increased even more after the weakening of the central government in Georgia (XVII-XVIII centuries). It was the residence of the nobles of Aragvi. The strengthening and restoration of the Ananuri fortress also belongs to this period. After Ananuri, departure in the direction of Kazbegi. Visit to Gergeti Trinity. The exact date of construction of the Gergeti Temple is unknown (However, according to ancient sources and architectural styles, the Trinity was built in the XIV century during the ascension of the Georgian Church), there is no information about the builders and its construction as well. In its name, the term “Gergeti” is attributed to the location where the temple was erected. Earlier, the village of Gergeti was cultivated on the left side of the river Tergi, and on the right side -the administrative center of the historic gorge- Stepantsminda. The temple is built on the left side, on the territory of Gergeti settlement. In the last third of the XX century, in 1966, the village of Gergeti joined Kazbegi, but the old name of the church remained unchanged, and it is still called the Gergeti Trinity. The Trinity Church of Gergeti, with its history and location, is the face of Georgia – a Christian island hidden in the most beautiful nature. Afterwards return to Kazbegi: Khinkali master class and dinner. After dinner departure to Tbilisi and return to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Tbilisi.
After breakfast departure from Tbilisi in the direction of Kakheti. You will visit the city of love Sighnaghi, which is surrounded by a protective fence. The city of Sighnaghi is beautiful with its architectural form and excellent views of the Alazani Valley and the Caucasus Mountains. It is also called the city-museum. It is determined by archeological excavations that this area played an important role since the Paleolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Ages. The territory of Sighnaghi district was formerly known as Kambechovani, and later it was called Kiziki. After the recognition of Christianity as the state religion in Georgia, this side acquired great importance. St. Nino was executed and buried here. Sighnaghi is a word of Turkish origin and means shelter. City tour and lunch. After visiting Sighnaghi, drive to Tsinandali village. In Tsinandali you will find Alexander Chavchavadze House-Museum, beautiful garden of Tsinandali and the 19th century unique wine cellar. The Tsinandali Palace belonged to Garsevan Chavchavadze – Ambassador of Georgia in Russia during King Erekle II. The palace was inherited by his only son, Alexander Chavchavadze, the founder of Georgian romanticism, poet and public figure. Chavchavadze Palace in Tsinandali was built in 1886 and is now is a House-Museum of Alexander Chavchavadze. There are preserved personal belongings of Chavchavadze family members. The Tsinandali decorative garden is the first European type recreation zone in Georgia and the park covers 18 hectares. Alexander Chavchavadze brought European landscape architects to build it. It is unique with exotic varieties and planning. You will also meet exotic plants from China, America, Japan, Mediterranean Sea and other countries. There you will see the valley of love in Tsinandali garden. According to legend, if the couple are able to walk in this avenue with closed eyes, their love will be happy. Wine storage of Tsinandali is located on the territory of the park and it is one of the first cellars in Georgia, which was built in 1835. That was the time when Georgian wine was bottled for the first time. Alexander Chavchavadze is the first person in Georgian history who bottled Georgian wine made in European style. In the Tsinandali cellar are preserved 16,500 bottles of wine bottled in various countries. Drive to Telavi after Tsinandali. Dinner in Telavi, local restaurant. After dinner drive to city center. Here you will learn about the sights of the city: the Nine Century plane tree and House-museum of King Erekle II (Erekle’s palace). It Founded in 1927 as a museum of local lore. The architectural complex of “Batonis Tsikhe” is a castle which still remains as the only Royal Palace in Georgia. The complex is a remarkable monument of cultural heritage with its architectural-historical features. Museum complex embraces: XVII-XVIII c.c Royal Palace of the king of Kakheti, X-XVIII c.c churches of the court of the king, the remains of the philosophical and theological schools founded by Erekle, XVII centuries’ King’s Bath, tunnel paved on the territory of the palace – XVIII century, unique gates of the East and West Side. In the museum there are also preserved: numismatic material, early medieval sarcophagus, late medieval armor, collections of XVII-XIX c.c. copper household objects, weapons, Khevsureti clothes, rich collections of rugs, manuscripts, books printed in King Erekles’ press, interesting patterns of art and etc. After visiting King Palace departure to the hotel. Overnight at the hotel in Telavi.
After breakfast departure from Telavi to Gremi. The history of Gremi, as a city, begins from XV century, when the first king of Kakheti George (1466-1476) turn it into the capital of Kakheti Kingdom. This status was maintained by Gremi for over two centuries. There were active bookish activities here and caravan roads as well. That is why it became the center of political, economic and cultural life of Kakheti. The architectural complex of Gremi consists of various buildings. There are the Archangel domed church, a three-story palace-bell tower, agricultural buildings, a curtain wall and the secret exit to the river Intsobi. There are also baths, market and caravansary. The most visible part of Gremi is so called The Archangels’ complex, which is on the end of the rocky ridge and consists of a high wall of domed church and palace-bell tower. There are 2 056 exhibits in the museum. Some of the items found in Gremi are kept in the National Museum of Georgia. Museum-Reserve also represents a series of paintings- portraits of kings. After visiting Gremi complex, drive to Nekresi Monastery. Nekresi Monastery Complex and urban archaeology founded by King Pharnajom (II-I centuries BC). In the IV century AD, king Thrdat built a church on this place, where one of the Assyrian fathers, Abibus settled there in the VI century. On this time period Nekresi Episcopacy (existed until the XIX century) established. Nekresi immediately was given a great importance. The political and cultural influence of Kartli was spread over the mountainous region of Eastern Caucasus. Bishops of Nekresi took part in writing activities as well. After visiting Nekresi drive to Kvareli. Dinner in Kvareli at local restaurant. After dinner visit to Ilia Chavchavadze Houss-Museum. Museum complex includes family castle and house of outstanding Georgian poet and public figure Ilia Chavchavadze (1837-1907) and exposition hall as well. The museum houses memorial objects of the poet and his family, poet’s manuscripts, sets of established by him periodicals, family coat of arms, seal, household objects, XVIII-XIX c.c. weapons, furniture, manuscripts of Georgian and foreign public figures, paintings inspired by the poet’s works (by H. Hrinewski, L. Gudiashvili, K. Guruli, S. Meskhi, T. Mirzashvili), rich collection of photographs and archive documents, collection of poet’s works editions on various languages. Afterwards drive to local winery Khareba. Winery Khareba owns an unique and rare wine cellar located in Kvareli, in the Alazani Valley. Carved inside the Caucasus mountains and opened in 1962 for the OIV World Congress, the cellar/tunnel is 7,7 kilometers long. The best wines of the Kakheti region have been stored and aged here for decades. The tunnel preserves a natural temperature of 12-14° Celcius with a humidity rate of 70%; the ideal conditions for wine preservation. Wine tasting and masterclasses: bread baking in Tone (clay pot), “churchkhela” making. After visiting Khareba drive to Borjomi. Check-In hotel and overnight in Borjomi.
After breakfast departure from Borjomi to Vardzia. Vardzia Monastery complex, carved in a rock, XII-XIII Century Georgian picturesque monument. Located on a left bank of river Mtkvari, 1300 meters above sea level. The highest cave is located as high as 1462 meters above sea level. Vardzia fortress is arranged as storeys, on a level of 100 meters, number of storeys 3 – 13, it includes more than 600 storage facilities, refectories, shacks, pantries, backup storages, 25 wine cellars, with 185 wine-jars in total. Construction of the fortress was started by Giorgi III and finished by his daughter – Queen Tamar, who changed its original designation as a fortress and introduced it as a massive, fortified monastery. The complex was mostly constructed during 1156-1203 years, it was blessed on 15th of August, 1185, in the name of Assumption of Mary. Afterwards drive to Akhaltsikhe. Visit to Rabati Castle. History of the fortress starts from the IX Century, it consists of several buildings dated back to different periods of middle age. The castle was the most important defensive object in the region, so its walls remember many hard battles. It also served as a residence for rulers of Akhaltsikhe. Fortress had three layers of walls and was connected to its surroundings by an underground tunnel. It was renovated and expanded in XII-XIII centuries when it became a residence of Jakeli family, Toponym – “Akhaltsikhe” originates from this period. During the restoration of Fortress territory in 2011-2012 – Walls, citadel, IX-X Century orthodox church, Haji Akhmed-Pasha Jakeli mosque, madrasa and minaret were renovated. After visiting Rabati Castle dinner at local restaurant. After dinner drive to Kutaisi. Check-In hotel and overnight in Kutaisi.
After breakfast departure from Kutaisi to Gelati. Gelati Monastery was founded by David the Builder in 1106. Here the greatest king of Georgia is buried. The ensemble includes the main church of the Assumption of the Virgin, St. George’s Church, St. Nicholas Church, bell tower, academy and fence. Gelati Monastery was the largest cultural and educational center, at different period. David could not finish the construction of the monastery and his son Demeter continued the work. In the XII-XV centuries the Gelati Monastery was granted full autonomy, recognized only the supreme right of the king, even the Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia had no governmental power. After the political collapse of Georgia, Gelati Monastery passed into the hands of the kings of western Georgia. On November 23, 1510, it was burned by the Ottoman army invading Imereti. The kings of Imereti Bagrat III and George II restored the Gelati Monastery and donated new lands. Bagrat III was called the “second builder” of Gelati. In the second half of the XVI century, the residence of the Catholicos-Patriarch of Western Georgia was moved from Bichvinta to Gelati. From the XVIII century, large-scale restoration works were carried out in Gelati Monastery by George VI, Alexander V, Solomon I, Solomon II and the bishops of Gelati. After the unification of the Kingdom of Imereti with the Russian Empire, the monastery was transformed from a church seminary into a state institution. Gelati Monastery owned a rich collection of manuscripts and engraved works of art that are now preserved in museums. Gelati complex is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Motsameta monastery is a complex of monasteries near Gelati. Its name, whose meaning is the “Place of the Martyrs”, is related to the brothers of a noble family of Argveti, David and Constantine, who organized a rebellion against the occupying Arabs in the 8th century. When the rebellion failed, they were captured and then they were promised forgiveness in exchange for converting to Islam. None accepted the offer, and they were later tortured and killed, and their bodies were thrown into the river. The water turned red and in memory of this event, the river was called Ckalcitela, which means red water. According to the story, the brothers’ remains were captured by the lions and taken to the hill, where the Gelati monastery is located. Later, the Orthodox Church of Georgia recognized them as Saints, and in the 11th century, the king Bagrat IV of Georgia founded a temple there. Officials from the Bolshevik secret police in 1923 took the remains of David and Constantine from the Gelati monastery to the museum in Kutaisi, but this caused such a scandal that the relics were delivered quickly and are still in the monasteries today. According to legend, there is a secret passage between the Motsameta monasteries and the Gelati monastery, used during the wars. Dinner at local restaurant in Kutaisi. Afterwards drive to city center and visit Bagrati Cathedral. Bagrati Cathedral was built in 1003, during the reign of Bagrat III. Bagrati Temple is an important monument of Georgian culture, both in terms of architectural solution and symbolic significance. It is a symbol of the unity and strength of our country. “Matiane Kartlisai” tells us that Bagrat III gathered representatives of different parts of Georgia and invited guests from abroad for the celebration of the blessing of Bagrat III temple. “All the rulers, the Catholics, the priests, and the heads of all the monasteries, and all the nobles of the upper and lower kingdom of the land, and all the other nations, were gathered together “. Doing so, he gave Bagrati Cathedral general national significance. It should be noted that the inscription near the north window of the building, which is the oldest example of the use of Arabic numerals in Georgia, gives the exact date of construction of the church: “The church was built in 223”. If we put this date in the Christian calendar, it turns out to be 1003 years. Until the end of the XVII century, the monument was safely preserved. In 1692, the Ottomans, entered from Akhaltsikhe, captured the Kutaisi fortress and blew up the Bagrati temple during the battle. They also seized the wealth of the church. In 1770, King Solomon I of Imereti recaptured the fortress and liberated the Bagrati Temple from the Ottomans, although the monument was further damaged during the battle. Nowadays, the church is completely restored. The Bagrati Temple has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1994, but was removed from the list after restoration. After visiting Bagrati Cathedral come back to the hotel. Overnight in Kutaisi.
After breakfast departure from Kutaisi to Tskaltubo. Natural monument Prometheus Cave is 1,8 km and is formed within the depth of 40 meters. The Prometheus Cave is a notable beautiful natural monument of the world. It is about 60-70 million years old. This beautifully shaped karst cave with stunning strips of stalactites and stalagmites once again will convince you of the enormous power of nature and will travel you in the fairy world. In the cave are found 22 halls, from which for tourists is opened only 6. In the cave, it is possible to walk through the length of 1420 meters, see the halls and travel by boat on the river flow. In the Prometheus Cave, you will meet a lot of real masterpieces of nature – stalactites, and stalagmites, beautiful forms of it leave the impression of the fairy environment. Also, When walking in the cave, there are “petrification waterfalls,” “hanging stone curtains,” helictites and etc. After visiting Ptometheus Cave drive to Martvili. Martvili Canyon – is the monument of nature. This monument of nature represents the ravine, created by the river Abasha, cut out through the limestone rock sides. The length of the canyon is 2400 meters, and the depth of carving is 20-30 meters, and as for the width, – 5-10 meters. In the middle reaches of the canyon, there are arising 12-15 meters long waterfalls, with a small falling. One section is highly distinguished, as it is really charming. It is called Ophutskhole, which is also known as the “Dadiani Bathe” as well. From the entrance starts the tournament footway path, which is cobbled with stones and in total, is 700 meters long. It leads you to the Dadiani historical by-path. There are placed two bridges, 3 panorama platforms, and a huge, chalk-stoned, man-made historical, 30 stepped stairway. You can also take a walk or row down the river Abasha. This “trip” is about 300 meters long interspace, (one way) and take pleasure in the extremely beautiful and pretty views of the river and canyon. Afterwards drive to local restaurant and dinner. After dinner departure from Martvili to Batumi. Check-In at the hotel. Overnight in Batumi.
After breakfast departure from the hotel to start city tour. Batumi is a wonderful seaside city with glittering beaches and attractive surroundings. The territory of Batumi was even populated in the Bronze Age. There was life during the antiquity period here, and the population had trade links with neighboring and distant countries. Ancient history, light and dynamic architecture, sunny seaside, boulevard, Batumi Botanical Garden, delicious Adjarian cuisine and many entertaining places, cultural or leisure destinations make this city incredible and it attracts many visitors. It is very popular not only across the republic but also across the region. This sunny, seaside city is unimaginable without a boulevard, fountains, modern architecture, yachts and the landscape of sunset. You should start visiting Batumi by exploring its streets and the architecture of the XIX-XX centuries. You can visit all the main religious buildings (Orthodoxy, Catholicism, Islam, Judaism). After Batumi City Tour visit to Batumi Dolphinarium. Dolphinarium is one of the most favorite places of Batumi visitors. It is always crowded. You will find wonderful performances of dolphins here. The Batumi Dolphinarium was one of the largest dolphinariums in the world. Dolphinarium is a modern design architectural building, which is equipped with the newest technology, marine life opportunities for sea animals and amazing performances. After Dolphins Show drive to local restaurant and dinner. And the last, the greenery of Batumi Botanical Garden, with its diverse vegetation and beautiful sceneries, will definitely give you tranquility and admiration. Batumi Botanical Garden located on the coastline between the Green Cape and the River Chaqvistskali mouth. The garden is about 1 km southwest of the coastline and it spreads from 0-220 meters above sea level. Batumi Botanical Garden is one of the largest and richest botanical gardens in the world, it is situated on 111 hectares and was set up in 1912. The garden includes the Colchis Forest Reserve and many different floristic landscapes. There are many species and varieties of plants in the garden. The botanical garden is the best place for nature lovers. There is no similar botanical garden in the world in the sense that the species of plants derived from completely different climatic and landscape zones coexist in Batumi Botanical Garden. In this magical garden, both the palm of the Canary Finch and the Japanese Sakura are equally flourished. After Batumi Botanical Garden return to the hotel. Overnight in Batumi.
After breakfast departure from Batumi to Gonio. Gonio Fortress, Apsaros – (1st Century) Historical Fortress in Adjara, Khelvachauri Municipality, seaside resort Gonio. The Gonio-Apsaros archaeological-architectural museum-reserve is located in the northern part of historical Chaneti, at the confluence of River Chorokhi to the black sea, 12 km far from the southern Batumi. The Gonio-Apsaros Fortress had unique strategic importance: it protected the entrances of the Chorokhi and Adjaristskali valleys, connecting inner regions of southwestern Georgia with the Black Sea coast. Because of its location, Gonio fortress became one of the pillars of the Roman Empire and then for Byzantine and Ottoman too. The Gonio fortress has been a museum-reserve since 2010. There are exhibits dated back from the early years of the nineteenth century to the 80’s. Afterwards drive to Petra. Petra Fortress – a historic fortress-town in Adjara, Kobuleti municipality, in the territory of the village Tsikhisdziri. The castle was built by John Strathegos in 535. “Petra” is the Byzantine name of this fortress and “Castle of Kajeti” is Georgian one. It is supposed this is a castle which is mentioned in the poem of Rustaveli “The knight in panther’s skin.” The fortress-town is located on the Black Sea coast, 440 meters above sea level, 9 km from Kobuleti. Return to Batumi and Cruise and dinner on the board. Return to the hotel. Overnight in Batumi.
After breakfast departure from Batumi to Tbilisi International Airport.