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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 to Vashlovani National Park. Vashlovani National Park located at an altitude of 100-900 m above sea level. It consists of the Vashlovani State Reserve, Vashlovani National Park and several natural monuments. Founded in 2003. Its area is 25114 hectares. The climate is dry and moderate. On the territory of the national park you will find open fields, desert and gorges. Takhti Tepha and Kilakupra mud Volcanoes are inorganic natural monuments and located near Dali Mountain. Takhti Tepha and Kilakupra mud Volcanoes is different from everything that can be seen in Georgia. The visitor, who saw mud volcan, has a feeling that he is not just in another country, but is on another planet. The volcano is a white hill that constantly erupts. From the crater, constantly erupting and leaking gas, oil and mud with medicinal properties. On the surface, there are separate species of halopites: Kalidium caspicum, Suaeda sp. Petrosimonia brachiata, Gamenthus pilosus, Limonium meyeri, and others, while the slopes of the volcano are covered with semi-desert phytocenosis. Lunch in Vashlovani. Afterwards departure from Vashlovani to Telavi. Check-In hotel. Overnight in Telavi.
After breakfast departure from Telavi to Tusheti. It is historic region in Georgia 900-4800m above sea level. Omalo is the administrative center of Tusheti. Tusheti is inscribed in the tentative list of the UNESCO world heritage. Tusheti is distinguished with its stunning summits, such as Tebulo (4492m above sea level), Diklo ( 4285m above sea level) and Borbalo ( 3294m above sea level). In Tusheti the unique cultural heritage sites, the ancient settlements, samples of folk handicrafts, items of everyday culture, are still preserved. Along with the surrounded historical and cultural landscapes, the traditions and customs of inhabitants are also preserved. In Tusheti, the village Bochorna is situated, which is the highest settlement in Europe above sea level. Day tour around Omalo, Keselo Fortress. It is a small medieval fortress. The site is surrounded by the northern slopes of the Greater Caucasus Mountains. Traditionally Tush peoples abandoned their villages and used towers as temporary shelters during raids on their villages. Keselo was constructed during the Mongol invasion of Georgia in 1230s. It originally had 13 towers. The inhabitants of old Omalo used the towers to protect themselves from the invading Mongols and later raids by Daghestani tribes. By the 20th century, most of the towers were in ruins. However, in 2003, work began to rebuild five towers of the medieval fortress. The restoration was done in accordance with the medieval Tush techniques of constructing fortified towers. During the work, an array of archaeological artefacts, such as ancient rock art motifs and Bronze Age axes and jewellery, were discovered. Continue tour to villages – Shenako and Diklo. Shenako is one of the few still populated villages in highland Tusheti. The village is overlooked by Mount Diklo and contains a series of buildings of Georgian folk architecture and the old church of the Holy Trinity. Diklo is one of the beautiful village in Tusheti. You will enjoy the beautiful views of the Caucasus and Tush architecture. After visiting Diklo departure to the hotel and Check-In. Overnight in Omalo.
After breakfast drive to village Bochorna. Bochorna is the highest inhabited place in the country and one of the highest in Europe at 2,345 metres above sea level. Bochorna had a permanent resident population of only one man at the time of the 2014 national census. Continue tour to Village Dartlo which is known for its historic stone towers and houses, and the Dartlo church. The church of Dartlo is a hall church (12.5 X 8.5 m). It was built with sandstone during the 19th century. The structure of the church is very damaged currently. Village Dartlo is one of the most remarkable places in Tusheti owing to its architecture and overall landscape. An automobile road goes from Village Dartlo up to Village Dano, from where it leades to Village Kvavlo. The tower with a pyramid shaped roof overlooks the trail. The village is built on the rocky slopes of the mountain. Sections of it are connected with each other with paths built with stones and rock-cut pathways. Afterwards departure from Tusheti to Tbilisi. Dinner on the route. Check-In hotel. Overnight in Tbilisi.
After breakfast drive to Shatili. Village Shatili is a favourite destination for tourists and mountain trekkers. It is actually a unique complex of medieval-to-early modern fortresses and fortified dwellings of stone and mortar which functioned both as a residential area and a fortress guarding the northeastern outskirts of the country. The fortress consists of the terraced structures dominated by flat-roofed dwellings and some 60 towers which cluster together to create a single chain of fortifications. Unique architectural methods and thought are realised in Shatili: selection of location, development of the land with complicated relief, rational land tenure, multifunctionalism, vertical zoning of construction, optimal orientation. Both single monuments and the overall urban structure with their characteristic components (towers, residential complexes, sowing, chapels) are of special importance. Continue our tour to Village Mutso. It is a small village and located on a rocky mountain (1880 m) on the right bank of the Andakistskali river. The village, almost completely abandoned more than a century ago, is a home to approximately 30 medieval fortified dwelling units arranged on vertical terraces above the Mutso-Ardoti gorge, four combat towers and ruins of several old structures and buildings. Difficult to access, the village retains original architecture, and is a popular destination for tourists and mountain trekkers. Listed, however, among the most endangered historic monuments of Georgia, a project of the rehabilitation of Mutso has been developed since 2004. Dinner in local home-restaurant. Then return to the hotel. Overnight 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.
After breakfast departure from Tbilsi 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. Dinner at local restaurant. Afterwards continue our tour 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. 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 departure to the hotel. Overnight in Kutaisi.
After breakfast departure from Kutaisi 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 visit to Martvili Monastery. Martvili Monastery Complex is early medieval Christian church and monastery complex in Georgia. The monastery is enclosed. The main temple is named after the Assumption of the Virgin. And the Megrelian name Chkondidi originated from “Didi Chkoni” – big oak. In the past, the high hill of Chvenia, on which the monastery stands now, was decorated with millennial trees of “Chkoni” (oak). The buildings included in the Martvili monastery complex are a fence, rectangular storeroom, main temple, Chikvanebi church, bell tower, chapel. In the Middle Ages, Martvili was a large cultural and educational center, where many famous scribes worked and many unique manuscripts were kept. The central temple is cross-domed. The facades of the temple are carved. The figures and plant ornament form a whole picture and depict the scenes from the Old Testament and the Gospels. The paintings of the XIV-XVI and XVII centuries are preserved in the temple. Next to the main temple is a two-story church of the X century. To the west, near the main temple, stands a high pillar on which is the church-room of the pillarist. The last pillarist monk lived here in the early 20th century. Dinner at local restaurant. After dinner drive to Svaneti Region. On the way visit to Enguri Dam which is a hydroelectric dam on the Enguri River in Georgia. Currently it is the world’s second highest concrete arch dam with a height of 271.5 metres. Construction of the Enguri dam began in 1961. The dam became temporarily operational in 1978, and was completed in 1987. Continue tour to Mestia. Visit to Svaneti Historical-Ethnographic Museum. It was founded in 1936. Museum includes a diverse exhibition featuring almost all fields of Svaneti ethnocultural heritage and handicrafts. The visit to the museum begins with the introduction of archeological material dating back to the III millennium BC. It is followed by a numismatic cabinet. Treasure of Christian art of IX-XVIII centuries, exposition of printed books, religious and secular manuscripts of IX-XIX centuries. The temporary exhibition space of the museum is dedicated to local and international expositions. The museum preserves the materials obtained as a result of archeological excavations on the territory of Svaneti region, unique works of Georgian engraving art and icon painting (icon of the Savior of the X century, icons of the first half of the XI century with the image of Christ enthroned and icon of St. George of Asani, icon of forty martyrs of the XII century and icon of the Crucifixion, painted icons of the Virgin Mary of IX-X centuries and others, ritual items – long-handled fans of IX-XIV centuries and others, ancient manuscripts (XI-XIII c), samples of early and late medieval military equipment, iron, silver, copper handicrafts, jewelry, tableware, textiles, ethnographic items depicting the life of old Svaneti and others. Afterwards check-in hotel. Overnight in Mestia.
After breakfast departure from Mestia to Village Ushguli. During the trip you can enjoy the beautiful views of nature – great mountains, rivers, waterfalls, canyons. On the way you can visit Love Tower which has a great history. Then continue tour to Village Ushguli. The altitude of Ushguli community varies from 2060 to 2200 metres. According to these statistics , Ushguli was considered to be the highest settlement until 2014. But in census of 2014 in the village Bochorna Akhmeta municipality (Georgia), only one permanent inhabitant was recorded. After that Bochorna became Europe’s highest settlement. Ushguli is connected to Mestia and Lentekhi with roads having intrastate importance. The road which connects Ushguli to Lentekhi passes through the Ughviri Pass, which is open only for three months in a year, the rest of the time it is covered with snow. In the area where Ushguli is located, there is a high risk of avalanche. In 1987, because of the great avalanche, locals became the ecomigrants. Nowadays approximately 70 household leave in the community. Close to Ushguli in the beginnings of Enguri flows the mineral water. One of the villages of Ushguli community, Chajashi, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Typical Svan defensive towers are common here. Their number is currently up to 30. Visit to Ushguli Archaeological Museum and Lamaria Monastery. Lamaria of Ushguli is a church of the Mother of God. The church has a fence around it with a fortified tower. It is a basilica-type building of the IX-X centuries, with a three-sided, projecting apse. The church has an entrance from the west, and the chapel- from the south-west. The iconostasis is made of stone, the chambers of which rest on the stone pillars starting from the floor and are decorated with plain pillars. Ushguli Lamaria is one of the most important and highly cultural-historical monuments of Svaneti. Several layers of paintings are preserved in the temple. The iconostasis painting is contemporaneous with the construction of the church. And the plot images of the interior, fragments of which appear under the later layers of the painting, date to the end of the X century and the beginning of the XI century. The church was last painted in the XIII century. Dinner at the local restaurant in Ushguli. Afterwards hike to the headwaters of Enguri river. Return to the hotel. Overnight in Mestia.
After breakfast departure from Mestia to Tbilisi International Airport.