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Where to go and what places to visit in Georgia?

Georgia

There are many interesting and fascinating places to visit in Georgia. You can spend hours walking along the ancient streets of Tbilisi, fall in love in Sighnaghi, buy delicious wine in the Alazani Valley, to touch the shrines in Mtskheta and plunge into the sea and the world of entertainment in Batumi.

First of all, Georgia is a country of mountains, delicious wine and the world-famous mineral water “Borjomi”. Once people get into this country of mountains, sun and hospitable people they can’t forget it and dream of coming back there again.

Here you have the possibility to get acquainted with the most popular and exciting places to visit in Sakartvelo (it is how the name of the country sounds in Georgian)

I would recommend you to start your journey from Tbilisi sightseeing.

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Tbilisi

TbilisiCity of million lights always welcomes you with invigorating coolness and fascinating illumination on the Kura River. The crystal clear water, frozen cliffs overhanging the houses and old churches can be seen here. All visitors freeze by such beauty and can’t take their eyes off. However, Georgia has many more natural wonders that are worth seeing and you will have the possibility to make sure by yourself.

Walking through the capital of Georgia can be infinite. Oddly enough but new modern buildings in high-tech style with transparent walls seem to look quite in harmony with the houses of the 12th century.

However, the main place to visit is undoubtedly the capital of the old part of town, which is called Old Tbilisi. The river Kura divides the south-east area where it is located into two parts. The streets are narrow here and on the road there is paving as it was many centuries ago.

If you are fond of visiting museums then Tbilisi will make you happy having many of them to offer you. You should visit at least one of this list:

  • Chitaia Ethnographical Open-Air Museum
  • Numismatic Museum
  • Museum of Art
  • Simon Janashia Museum
  • Puppet Museum
  • Galaktion Tabidze Museum

Interesting: If to believe Georgian legends, it was founded in the V century by King Vakhtang Gorgasali who was fond of hunting and once he came back after it and shot a pheasant. The bird fell down into a warm spring and boiled. After this the king was inspired to found a city and the city’s name has derived from the Georgian word tbili which means “warm”.

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Monasteries

MonasteriesGeorgia has something to offer for everyone. If you are religious person or just a connoisseur of architecture you will get great satisfaction from visiting monasteries here:

1.Bethany Monastery

In the outskirts of Tbilisi there is an outstanding monument of Christian culture – Bethany Monastery that is an active monastery of the Nativity of the Mother of God. It is located in a wooded gorge of the river Vere. The main temple reminds a pearl by its gentle pinkish tinge. Inside there are preserved beautiful frescoes of 1207 year, depicting King George III and his daughter. This is a place to visit while being in Georgia like a must for all tourists!

2.Bodbe Monastery

Next stop is Bodbe monastery. Go to the main building of the monastery then come to the altar on the right the door to the room where the buried St. Nino will open. There is an observation deck with a nice view of the Alazani Valley. There you can see the steps going downward to the saint source. Before you go down the stairs remember that there are 700 steps. Near the source you can buy a special shirt in which it is possible to have an affusion.

3.Mehetia

On the mountain which rises above the river you can see a witness of the long history of Tbilisi – Temple Mehetia. Previously there was the palace of the local kings that was presumably built by Vakhtang Gorgasali, the founder of the city, whose statue is also located on the mountain.

The Church was built in the twelfth century and preserved to our times. Near the temple there is an observation deck, where, at a glance, the whole Tbilisi can be seen.

Interesting: In Tbilisi many houses are situated on the steep cliffs. You can think that there are museums or local rich people live. Maybe you will be surprised but they are common residential houses which were previously “communal” and now have been renovated and re-planned. Ordinary Georgians live there. It is noteworthy that all the facades were restored at the expense of the budget.

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Holy Mountain

Holy MountainOnce in Tbilisi, you should definitely climb the Holy Mountain, where there is a huge amusement park – a paradise both for children and adults. It should be noted that the temperature difference with the “bottom” of the city is about 4 degrees, that is, in summer you can immerse yourself in the pleasant coolness.

Furthermore, you should take a walk down the street Jean Chardin where in the old days there were all kinds of shops, and now you can spend time in the many cafes and restaurants.

It is noteworthy that in Tbilisi they have their own Maidan! This title is an area of ??Vakhtang Gorgasali. Previously, artisans used to gather there to sell some utensils. Now on the Maidan trade also flourishes, however, everything is located in modern mini-boutiques that surround the rather big transition.  ?Exclusively the works of Georgian masters – from ceramics and paintings to wines and earrings are sold there.

Interesting: There is a holy place on a Holy Mountain – a pantheon where almost all Georgian popular public figures are buried. Georgians come to this place to pay due respect to the ancestors. You will definitely feel the mystical atmosphere and will be able to enjoy the views because there is a St. David’s church which leaves an unforgettable impression.

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Sighnaghi

SighnaghiIf you think which place to visit in Georgia after the old Tbilisi then you should go to the tiny town of Sighnaghi which is located in the neighboring region of Kakheti. Sighnaghi appeared on the ruins of an old fortress in the XVIII century and is very reminiscent of a cozy European town in Italy or Greece.

What to see in Signaghi first:

  • XVIII century Sighnaghi town wall
  • XVII century St. Giorgi church.
  • Stephen church in Sighnaghi fortress
  • Nino spring
  • Khornabuji fortress
  • Pirosmani museum
  • Sunday market in Bodbiskhevi

Hovewer, Signaghi is worth going to not only of sightseeing. If you are in love then this place is exactly for you! It is well-known under the name ”city for sweethearts” because you can register your marriage 24 hours a day! Come here and your girl won’t be able to say you “No”! Signaghi is a witness of a number of proposals each minute.

It is a “crime” not to go to Kvareli winery cellars of Hareb which in the seven kilometer tunnel and not book a tour and taste to call on any other plant. In Tbilisi you can visit the store of Hareb at pr.Rustaveli and to try all these wines for free.

Alazani Valley in Signaghi

Walking through the well-kept streets and climbed up on one of the 28 towers of the fortress, you can enjoy a unique view of the expanse of the Alazani Valley which gave its name to one of the most popular Georgian wines. Residents of Sighnaghi are very friendly and moreover are like jack of all trades! Souvenirs are being made right in front of you.

Interesting:  Sighnaghi is also called the city of love. Here, as in Las Vegas, the marriage can be registered at any time of the day, you need only to have a passport and money.  The Georgians say, “If you promised the girl in the evening, then get married! Why to wait till morning”.

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Tsinandali

TsinandaliWhat is the next place to visit? Near Sighnaghi there is a village of Tsinandali where the estate of Kakheti princes Chavchavadze is situated. It was the place that could be proud of the first winery in the Alazani Valley. Prior to that, the wine in Kakheti was produced according to the old traditions: in huge jugs-kvevri. Around the estate there is a gorgeous park where you can “disappear” for a few hours, completely forgetting about the time.

This place has something great for everybody:

  1. For those who consider themselves to be wine experts- You can enjoy walking in the cellar of 19th century
  2. For dreamers- the “Alley of Love”. According to the local legend if you walk it from end to end with your eyes being closed then your dream will come true.
  3. For nature lovers – there are many hectares of meadows, evergreen alleys and centuries-old trees, exotic flowers and beautiful grape alleys.

Interesting: Cellar of the19th century offers you to drink wine of the 21th century. There is the unique collection of about 16.500 wine bottles that are all from different countries. Here you can also find a bottle of Saperavi wine of 1836 year by Alexander Chavchavadze.

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Mtsheta

MtshetaMtsheta has old churches with interesting history:

  • Svetitskhoveli Cathedral
  • Samtavro
  • Jvari Church

If you don’t have enough time to see all of them then visit Samtavro at least. It was built on the site of a small wooden church built by king Mirian. Temple was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt again. In the first half of the XI century, during the reign of George I, the temple was expanded, a southern gate was built and decorated with original ornaments.

In this church the first Christian King Mirian and his wife Nana were buried. In the churchyard of the monastery one of the most beloved saints of the Georgian-Gabriel lies.

Interesting: The temple Samtavro is the miraculous icon of the Iberian Mother of God and St. Nina and other relics. Samtavro is one of the oldest convents in Georgia.

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Gudauri

GudauriGeorgia is a wonderful country with various great places to visit both in summer and in winter. The difference between the two seasons of the year is just a few hours! So, from the warm Mtskheta on the military road you can find yourself at the Gudauri ski resort which is located 2.5 hours drive from Tbilisi. Along the way you will meet a lot of crafters who offer local souvenirs and ceramics products.

Those who like to tickle nerves will be glad to find the serpentine climb, however, the fear is gone when eyes see the incredible majesty of the mountains with all the variety of mountain rivers and flora. This place is truly breathtaking. Hurry to take a seat at the window!

Georgia is actively developing mountain tourism. Snow-capped mountains, the beautiful sunshine, amazing scenery – everything is just created for an active as well as for a relaxing winter holiday.

It is worth noting that the Gudauri resort has the stage of active development at the moment. To tell the truth, it is very successful in this and has such benefits as:

  • Modern lifts,
  • Brand-new ski slopes,
  • A huge network of hotels

All facilities can be chosen to suit all tastes and budgets.

It is hard to believe that this could be done just in a few years. However, probably, it is possible, if to approach the matter with the love to your country. And everything is done like this in Georgia.

After skiing and breathing the fresh mountain air, you should go down the military road again to admire the stunning scenery, and then go to the town of Gori. Along the way you are going to meet a few settlements of refugees from the temporarily occupied South Ossetia: the same houses in rows spread out in the field. Such settlements in Georgia are a few dozens.

Interesting: Joseph Stalin was born there, and now it is a museum. The museum is still open and has a lot of visitors. Moreover, native residents relate to his conservation with trepidation.

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Batumi

BatumiAfter inspecting the Stalin museum the next stop and the place to visit is the main seaside resort – Batumi. Our path takes on a brand new and modern motorway interchanges and tunnels.

A few hours rush by a comfortable road and on the right characteristic marine villages plants begin to appear and here it is the sea! It is worth noting that the sea coast of Georgia stretched for many kilometers. Fans of quiet rest exactly like the look of small village by the sea with unique black magnetic sands which are renowned for their healing properties for the treatment of cardio-vascular system and the musculoskeletal system.

After some time, enough to enjoy the sea scenery, let’s drive to Batumi. The Georgians are proud of their main resort. What can the modern resort offer you:

  • ultramodern promenade that stretches for several kilometers
  • exotic plants,
  • hotels skyscrapers tower over the ancient temples,
  • singing fountains scattered hundreds of tunes,
  • cozy park which sets romantic mood,
  • dozens of local restaurants

And Batumi night glows with millions of lights. I think that now you know exactly where to spend your summer vacation.

As every large city in the world Batumi also has its “special” attraction, which attracts tourists. You shouldn’t go away without seeing a sculpture, singing the hymn of love which is called “Ali and Nino” or “man and woman”. It is located on the sea coast, at the entrance to the city. The author of this beautiful sculpture is Tamara Kvesitadze.

The top 10 things to do in Batumi:

  1. To spend a day in Botanical Gardens
  2. To visit Piazza Square
  3. To watch ship sailing in Batumi Sea Port
  4. To visit Batumi Archeological Museum
  5. To see an ancient Bridge Mahunseti
  6. To walk along Batumi Boulevard
  7. To see the Alphabetic Tower
  8. To go for a walk to Europe Square
  9. To view the entire area from the Argo Cable Car

Interesting: Do you know who are Ali and Nino and why sculpture has been named in their honor? The fate of the lovers of Ali and Nino is written in the book of the same name, the exact authorship of which has not yet been established. The legend tells us about Ali Khan Shirvanshir who fell in love with the daughter of the Prince of Georgia Nino Kipiani, who studied at a girls’ school in Baku. An obstacle to be together was religion: Ali was a Muslim, and Nino – Christian. Ali’s father was not opposed to their marriage, but the girl’s father opposed the fact that she could be married to a Muslim. Despite the fact that in the end the lovers get married, their life’s journey was full of obstacles that they were separated. This was reflected in the 8-meter statue of a man and a woman. Especially nice it is at night when the statue is illuminated.

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Dmanisi

DmanisiThose who like mysterious things won’t regret if they visit the place that is called Dmanisi which was strong and populous city a few centuries ago, lying at the crossroads of important trade routes from the Byzantine Empire and Georgia Persii. It was a fortress that helped to protect Georgia.

The most interesting places:

  • Archaelogical Museum
  • Cementary
  • Dmanisi fortress

Today you can see only some ruins at that place. And that is all that remains of the former greatness of Dmanisi. The fortress was built in the early Middle Ages, as evidenced by some of the buildings, which today can be viewed on its territory. Since the 9th century Dmanisi was the real center of the Arab-Muslim state called Dumanussky emirate. Then the city was very significant in trade relations with other countries, because it was located on the territory of the Great Silk Road. But then Dmanisi passed into the hands of the Turks – the Seljuks, who conquered it in the course of hard fights.

The excavations in Dmanisi region began only in the early 20th century. And archaeologists soon realized that stumbled upon a very interesting place, which is now so attractive for tourists to Georgia. Remains of the first Europeans Zezva and Mzia were found on the territory of Dmanisi. Very interesting artifacts now put into question the theory of the evolution of mankind. This incredible scientific fact in the territory of Dmanisi proved two scientists from the University of North Texas (USA), who with great curiosity took part in these excavations. It was found that there is 1, 85 million years ago, Homo erectus was already able to create specific tools for it.

One more place to see here is the cemetery on the territory of Dmanisi, of course, if you are not scared of such places because it does not look quite normal. Nobody knows how old it is and who’s buried in the graves. Great interest present the tombstones themselves, which are made not in the form of conventional plates, as it should be in any cemetery but in the form of figures of animals.

There are tombs in the form of dogs and sheep, in the form of horses and sheep. In each of these there are the tombstone drawings – symbols, which are quite difficult to make out because of their antiquity, but if you look closely, it is quite possible to do this.

Homes that are still preserved are composed not of bricks but of basalt. In addition, in the ancient city – Dmanisi fortress can be seen and there are old baths, where, according to legend, Queen Tamar bathed in milk. Bath room consisted of three rooms. In one room bathing procedures were held themselves. There is even ancient bathroom preserved which was built of stone.

No less interesting is the Archaeological Museum Dmanisi. The brightest of its attraction is the grave of a woman who belongs to the Bronze Age. And the skeleton itself after the excavation did not move from their seats and left on public display.

Besides, it is very often come across the remains of ancient animals – cats, wolves, deer and giraffes. Someone even says that there is found a skeleton of a saber-toothed tiger.

City – Dmanisi fortress today is not yet fully understood. Archeologists from different countries are still working there. And while no one knows what else they can find there. If you want to feel the spirit of mysterious place that is full of history, Dmanisi should be one of the first places to visit in Georgia.

Interesting: Аncient people found there  Zevzi and Mzia, who were assigned to the genus Homo georgicus or Georgian people. However, all members of this genus have died in the course of evolution. In addition, we now take to assume that Homo georgicus is an intermediate stage between Homo habilis and Pithecanthropus.

Georgia is a country with so many unbelievable places to visit that it is difficult to choose from. Each one has some history and legends that you are going to plunge to. This country should take one of the first positions in the list of those that are worth traveling to.
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