The road from Tbilisi to Kazbegi is a great place of interest by itself. Amazing views along the way, so several hours go unnoticed. Kazbegi is something that is worth the road trip to it. A walk in the park to the sulphur baths along the mountain river is breathtaking. Let alone the pleasure of swimming in the warm Barjomi water. Don't forget to take of any metal on you or it will get black.
Today - acquaintance with Tbilisi, hotel check-in, dinner in a Georgian restaurant.
We're having dinner tonight at the Georgian House restaurant. We didn't get too excited about the name, but it's very accurate and reflects the mood. It's like being in a good old Georgian hospitable yard. Live music is flowing, and openworked fences of stairs, balconies, flowers everywhere dispose to a long friendly conversation. Wonderfully delicious dishes, good service - as if you're visiting an old friend.
Today we will visit the holy and historical places sung by Pushkin and Lermontov, visit the Ananuri fortress, climb high in the mountains.
This morning we will go to the place where at the foot of the mountain is the confluence of two rivers - Kura and Aragvi. Pushkin and Lermontov sang this area in their poems. After leaving the car in the parking lot, we'll go up to Jvari Monastery. According to legend, here St. Nina, the Enlightener of Iberia, erected a cross on the mountain. At first there was a small church on the site of the erected cross, and since the seventh century the monastery Jvari, as we see it now. The architecture of Georgian churches is unusual: ascetic, it repeats the appearance of the strict mountains around. It's like time has stopped here. Quiet, calm and grateful. And I don't want to leave. Since Jvari is on the mountain, you can see him from anywhere in Mtskheta.
Then the winding mountain road led us to the other side of the bend of the river, to Mtskheta, to Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. It's built of cramped granite, with frescoes inside. It was built in 1029, and before that, on the site of the burial of the Lord's Risa, there was a small church of the 4th century. The place and the cathedral itself are wonderful, as well as the feeling of being there.
Along the mountain road from Mtskheta we head to the monastery of St. Shio Mgvimsky. Just over 10 km and we are in a narrow limestone gorge. The inaccessibility attracted this place of ancient monks, as well as quite soft rock, which made it easy to dig caves. They can still be seen in the mountains, but now the monks live in celia on the territory of the monastery. He founded it in VI century Shio, who came with 12 pupils to educate Georgia. Now there are two ancient temples: in honor of John the Baptist, a very complex architecture and in honor of the Holy Virgin. Beautiful view of the lowland opens from the monastery, in the rocks - caves, where the monks asceticism.
We'll have lunch on the way. We stopped at a Georgian restaurant on the bank of the Kura. Several halls, excellent view of the river framed by the emerald trees of the mountains. Tasting Georgian cuisine. Vegetables, meat and cheese are great combinations. We weren't disappointed.
We're going to the mountains in the afternoon. On the way we will stop to see the fortress of Ananuri, the good is right on the road, very convenient. Ananuri is a fortress erected at the confluence of the Vedzatkhevi River in Aragvi. There's a very picturesque reservoir right now. The fortress was built in XVI-XVII centuries. Its location made it possible to block the road from the Daryal Gorge and retreat into the mountains during the internecine wars in the Middle Ages. Inside the fortress there are 3 churches and towers. The most beautiful is the Church of the Dormition. Outside it is decorated with bas-relief of a cross and a vine. Inside, there are ancient frescoes. In ancient times, the fortress was large. Now there's a citadel left. But even so, it makes a wonderful impression. It's interesting to walk around there, listen to the noise of a mountain river.
All I can say is, it's amazing! You have to be here, breathing in that air, admiring the views. The one time it's better to see than hear 100 times.
In the mountains, where there are beautiful views around, one cannot do without an observation deck. And here it is, built as a panorama with mosaic images of the exploits of our peoples. The views open up just amazing!
Dinner at a traditional restaurant. We were quickly served, tasted delicious national dishes. How many variants of bean dishes in Georgia! And it's all edible and delicious. Think about it!
Today climb the legendary Mount Kazbek on the way to Trinity Church. We'll devote an entire day to climbing, and that's not enough!
Today we are waiting for what we climbed higher and higher in the mountains yesterday. Climbing Mount Kazbek! It is not necessary to conquer the peak, but to climb at a pace acceptable to everyone, I think it is worth it! Don't recklessly take risks, but rather conquer this legendary mountain as measuredly as you can. Older people will probably remember her image on a pack of cigarettes. At the time it seemed out of reach and far away! And here you are in Georgia and the mountain is before you! Go ahead! And don't forget to take pictures!
At the foot of Kazbek there is a beautiful small church in honor of the Holy Trinity. Tourists love to visit her, so we'll come in. The views around here are wonderful! Stop, breathe and take a picture. Next to the bell tower and the spring with crystal clear water!
Today we are coming back from the mountains to Tbilisi, we will go up by funicular, wander around the city, visit sulfur baths and a market of spices and sweets, and have lunch in Georgian restaurants.
We continue to study Tbilisi and today we will start with the funicular. It's been functioning here since 1905! And after the reconstruction, the number of tourists who want to climb it has increased. The views are fantastic!
The TV tower is visible from anywhere in Tbilisi, and is also used as a multifunctional tower. For TV broadcasting, for cellular communication, shows the time to the inhabitants of the city with the help of light effects.
And we'll have lunch here, we'll eat hinkali, salads and lobio. Soon we will probably get addicted to Georgian cuisine. To top it all off, and the view is gorgeous. If the weather allows, we always try to get a table on the veranda or on the street. You have to enjoy the mountain air while you can.
Let's go visit the Tbilisi sulfur baths. Here, in the Caucasus, there are many different healing springs. After yesterday's climbing in the mountains, spa treatments, baths and swimming pools will not hurt.
After a leisurely rest in the baths we will visit the agricultural market. The spices are there for all tastes! Try it, smell it, rub it in your hands! So that's the secret of aromatic Georgian cuisine! And the local sweets are also very diverse here.
We'll have dinner at this atmospheric cafe. The meat is tender, juicy, the salads are wonderful. They love the combination of meat and vegetables in general. Dinner was a pleasure. Didn't notice how time flew by.
Today you will have an amazingly busy day: in the morning you will go to the Alazan valley, then to the Bodbe monastery to St. Nino, to the city of lovers Signahi, to Tsinandali, visit the winery, the king's palace and the ancient monastery! And what a dizzying beauty ahead!
The views in the Alazan Valley are amazing! It's called that by the name of the Alazani River. This wonderful valley is perfect for viticulture - everything is miraculously combined: the purest water of mountain rivers, healing mountain air, suitable soil and gentle valley climate. Did you know that a real viticulturist doesn't water his bushes? So that the roots grow deep and absorb water with minerals dissolved in it from the deepest rock. There you go! In the Alazan Valley there are about 40 varieties of endemic grapes for wine.
Above the Alazan valley is the Bodbi monastery, where the relics of St. Nina rest. That's where she struggled at the sunset of her earthly life. Then a church was founded there, and later a monastery. In the Middle Ages, they were anointed there to the kingdom of the Katekhin kings. In Soviet times, the monastery was abolished. It's now restored. The holy spring is not far away. You can get some water and take a dip.
And now we're heading into town from a fairy tale. Signals are called the city of love. Here you can register your marriage at any time of day and night! Probably the only city in the world where the wedding palace is never closed, 24 hours a day it works. At the city gate, we are met by a sculpture of Don Quixote... But let me tell you, it's not Spain! On closer inspection, it turned out that he had an umbrella instead of a spear and a suitcase in his other hand. It's clear, tourist! Just like us. Just us in the car, he's on a donkey. That's why it's so slim! Drives himself leisurely in the fresh air, moves, views the beauty of the Alazan valley... And we climb the city's fortress walls. The uniqueness of the fortress is that it was erected in the 17th-18th centuries by King Irakli II, and is almost completely preserved! It stood at the crossroads of trade routes and protected residents from raids and looting. You can walk along the wall, there are comfortable handrails for security and look at the city and the Alazan valley from above. There are watchtowers along the perimeter of the wall. The red tiled roofs of houses, the view of the mountains and the valley, create the impression of Italian landscape, but no, dear, you are in Georgia. Both the valley and the main Caucasian ridge can be seen from Sighnakha.
How can you be in the Alazan Valley and not visit a winery? That's right, it's not. Let's go watch the process of making local wine, and then we will have a tasting and a delicious lunch. You can buy wine as a gift. Try and buy what you like.
Slowly we move on, and here we are in the world-famous Tsinandali. Well, what to do, there is history everywhere, everything is simply imbued with history, and Tsinandali is a patrimonial estate of princes Chavchavadze. Nina Chavchavadze was for a very short time the wife of our diplomat Griboyedov. There's a museum at the estate now. Around the estate there is a beautiful garden, where bamboo grows, slender cypresses, ancient spruce of different varieties, plane trees, there is a green maze. And a walk in the garden is ennobled with beautiful music, which flows from the speakers disguised as rocks... You can enter the house-museum, take a tour or wander on your own. That's interesting. A house made of grey stone and red brick, with a white terrace brings us back during the stay of the Chavchavadze family there. The wine cellars at the estate are surprisingly good. And how else, if you are at the production site of one of the most famous wines in the world! Cinandali - white dry wine. It was Alexander Chavchavadze, the first owner of the estate and father of Nino, who built 1 wine factory and opened Tsinandali to the world.
From Tsinandali we go to the palace of the King of Kakheti Irakli II. Now there is directly the palace itself, archaeological, ethnographic museum, art gallery. Kakheti ruler Irakli II was an outstanding statesman in both foreign and domestic politics, and his grateful descendants greatly honor his memory. The palace was built in the traditions of Iranian architecture in the late 17th century. And, of course, in the traditions of that turbulent time, the residence was surrounded by a fortress.
Often on the panoramic images we saw this ancient monastery, and we could not not go there. Majestic and calm, under the mountains that rise not far away, it is surrounded by a fortress wall. You can drive up to the very gates of the monastery. The monastery was founded in the VI century, and the Cathedral of St. George was built already in the XI century. The monastery survived many attacks: raids by Persians and militant highlanders, earthquakes and closure in Soviet times. But since the 1990s, the monastery has been gradually reviving. Despite the active destruction, the general view of the cathedral has been preserved, and many frescoes inside have been preserved. There is a grape museum at the monastery.
We're definitely gonna get spoiled on this trip. And we'll come home as avid gourmets. Meat dishes, incomparable wine, delicious cheeses (tried several varieties). Tbilisi, you never cease to amaze...
Today you will wander through the ancient streets of Tbilisi, walk along the Dry Bridge, climb the funicular, explore the ancient fortress of Narikala, walk along the beautiful Tbilisi Botanical Garden, visit the Freedom, Europe and Gorgasali squares, walk along the old Metekhi bridge and the new Peace Bridge.
The dry bridge rises above Kura's former sleeve, which was then drained. Hence the name. It was built a century and a half ago by an Italian architect. At that time the bridge transported the inhabitants to Madatov island, and it in turn belonged to the Princes of Orbeliani. That's why they built the bridge over Kura in this place. And then, when in the 30s of XX century the river was drained, the bridge acquired its present name.
Right behind the dry bridge begins the famous flea market. This market is for amateurs, but it is included in the list of Tbilisi sights. Of course, once in a while you do not have to and sometimes tourists can absolutely accidentally buy something they liked from the past. We are not a fan of antiques, but we are interested in two things.
And let's go to lunch at Zakhar Zaharych! The khinkali is so delicious here! And the salads are delicious not only from fresh vegetables, but also from pickled vegetables... Each restaurant has its own zest, but everywhere is delicious and hospitable!
Which street in Tbilisi will lead to Freedom Square? Of course, Rustaveli Avenue! As well as many other streets that run in this old town from the main square with such a loud name. In the old days there was a market and a headquarters on the square - well, a classic example of a medieval European city. Both the first caravanserai and the first theater appeared on this ancient square, and Pushkin A.S. lived nearby (Pushkin Street, also originating from this square, does not let forget about it), and the famous robbery of the State Bank in 1907 happened here, in a word, a continuous history. Now there is a beautiful pillar in the middle of the square with George the Victorious - the patron saint of Georgia, and quietly and quietly on the square. Go for a walk, study, and near Pushkin Square.
In the heart of old Tbilisi is the fortress of Narikala. It was the most impregnable structure on the trade route. The fortress is very ancient, in the IV century it is already mentioned in the sources. Then it expanded and completed. Heavily affected by an earthquake in the early 19th century. You can get there by cable car. The views from the fortress open up just delightful!
St. Nicholas Church was built on the site where the Church of St. George of the XII century, ruined by the Persians in the late XVIII century, stood. Then, in an earthquake in 1827, it was severely destroyed and only in 1996 was the temple rebuilt.
Tbilisi Botanical Garden is located not far from Narikala Fortress. Unique in its composition - there grow and exotic, and coniferous and deciduous trees, the garden is located in the valley of the river Legvta Hevy. It used to be called the King's Garden. Now the park has many paths for walks, with bridges over the river, a waterfall and an abundance of flowers. Park Openwork Bridge is one of the oldest buildings in Tbilisi. This bridge was part of the road from Iran to Mtskheta when Queen Tamara lived there. Slim cypresses border the walking alleys. In the heat it is very pleasant to plunge into the coolness of the garden, and in spring the garden is fragrant with flowering plants.
Just 10 minutes walk from the botanical garden is Gorgasali square, which locals call Maidan in the old days. It's the heart of the old town. It used to be a trading area with its own traditions: from morning till lunchtime, the citizens bought goods from the peasants and only in the afternoon they had the right to buy wholesalers. Now the square is surrounded by restored old houses and cozy cafes.
Old Tbilisi is a historical part of the city, there are so many monuments of architecture! Crooked narrow streets, old houses with carved balconies, a fortress, baths - just plunge into the depths of centuries and immerse yourself in the atmosphere and spirit of the old city.
Metekhi Bridge connects the Old Town and Metekhi. Bridge over Kura, in the historic part of town. King Vakhtang Gorgasali, who founded Tbilisi, stands on a monument above Kura and blesses the city and his people.
After passing the Metech bridge, we find ourselves on the Europe Square. It's relatively new, with a large flower bed in the center. The square is adjoined by Rike Park. From Europe Square you can enjoy a beautiful view of the Old Town.
And here is the most modern bridge in Tbilisi - the Bridge of Peace. It connects the past with the present, Irakli II Street with Rike Park. Very beautiful, openwork bridge blends in organically with the look of the city. The bridge is pedestrian, covered with a glass dome. It looks beautiful both at dawn and daytime, and in the evening - with backlighting. The author is Italian Michele de Lucchi.
After admiring the views from the bridge and the bridge itself, we leave for dinner. Very atmospheric restaurant with good cuisine. We continue to study Georgian cuisine. I liked the wines, the vats of their veal and the whole arsenal of related dishes. Restaurant for big companies and couples in love.
Today you will travel to the mountains: an ancient cave city in the rock, a trip to Stalin's homeland in Gori, a tour of the ancient fortress, a visit to Borjomi! The pleasure of bathing in mineral springs, mineral water and walks in the fresh air.
And today we will recover to the cave city Uplistsikhe. On the outside world the city was closed by a mountain and a river. Archaeologists believe that the cave town is about 3000 years old. Now there are about 150 caves left, and originally there were about 700. The city was repeatedly destroyed by earthquakes. In the town located in the mountain, there were also vineyards, stoves and water supply. It's an open-air museum now.
We're having lunch here in Gori. What a Georgian cuisine is rich, spicy, tasty after all! Hachapuri, kebab and some incredible first course!
In the afternoon we're going to see the fortress of Gori. The fortress is located on a rock in the center of Gori. The earthquake of 1920 severely damaged many historical and archeological monuments, and Goristsikhe, an ancient fortress, did not escape this fate. The width of the wall in some places reaches 2 meters. It has been known since the 13th century. The fortress offers a beautiful view of the city.
It is interesting how fellow countrymen keep the memory of Joseph Stalin - on the territory of the museum there is a wagon in which the generalissimo liked to travel. He wasn't known to fly planes. Let's see which carriage the head of the most powerful country in the world was riding. Come in, kitchenette, conductor's compartment, security compartment, washroom. Office: table, chair, sleeper. And (very interesting!) air conditioning. It's humble. Finished with expensive species of wood. And the main advantage is armored glass in the windows. The car doesn't stand out from the outside either, a humble green car. You can't tell the difference from the others.
After passing through a beautiful park with wonderful views of the mountain and the fresh air, we enter the Stalin Museum. Inside the museum is a house where his family used to rent a house when he was a child. In 1939, a protective pavilion was built around the house. Tour guides talk about childhood, learning I. Dzhugashvili, about the leadership of the state, about his personal family, about children...
Then we go to Borjomi. We'll stop at the cable car station. What a stunning view! You can drink coffee in the fresh mountain air and admire the nature.
I'm sure everyone's heard of Borjomi's famous healing water. Well, we've come to the very sources! Here you can not only drink it, but dive right in. There are three hot mineral water pools and a cold shower. Water flowing through rocks is saturated with healing minerals and for over 200 years people have been improving their health by taking baths.
And here is the famous resort town of Borjomi! In the wonderful green park you can enjoy warm Borjomi water, and those who don't like warm water - if you walk in the park, there is a spring with cold water. Of course, drinking it is much tastier, but warmer. Fortunately, the composition of water has not changed in the 200-year history of its use. The park is very beautiful, a real paradise on earth, but the main interest for tourists is, of course, mineral water. The town is a spa town with a mild healing climate, due to the fact that it is located in a gorge, there is no gusty wind and no sudden temperature changes. Archaeologists have determined that the baths were taken here already in the first millennium AD.
Dinner at a typical Georgian Borjomi cafe. The dough and cheese dishes are very tasty. The desserts are excellent. And of course, Georgian dishes deserve only praise. The cafe is quiet, atmospheric, I want to stay longer.
Today is the last day of your stay in hospitable Tbilisi. Don't forget to buy gifts for your loved ones to remember your journey.
Finally, we will buy spices, hotels and souvenirs, so that loved ones at least a little bit feel the charm of the place where we were.
We saw a design studio on the way. Come in. I liked it. And we're going back to the airport.