Kazbegi National Park is located on the northern slopes of the mighty Caucasus range, and its protected area covers a total of over 8,700 hectares. At 5,047 metres above sea level, Kazbegi Mountain (or Mkinvartsveri) is the third highest mountain in Georgia, and is surrounded by myths and religious tradition. According to Greek mythology, as punishment for teaching mankind how to make fire, the Titan Prometheus was chained to a mountainside in the Caucasus for all eternity. According to Georgian stories, it was the icy slopes of Kazbegi to which he was chained. Prometheus (known as Amirani in Georgia) was supposedly imprisoned in a cave 4,000 meters high. The cave, now called Betlemi (Bethlehem), later served as a dwelling for orthodox monks, and is said to have contained many sacred relics, including Abrahams tent and Christs manger. Hot springs and acidic and carbonated lakes surround the mountain, and earth tremors are fairly frequent. Covered with 135 square kilometres of glacier, Kazbegi is a great place for ice climbing and mountaineering. The Dariali Gorge is an impossibly steep cleft in the mountains connecting Russia and Georgia, running for 18km from Stepantsminda to the Russian border at Zemo Larsi (Upper Lars). For millennia, this mountain passage has been strategically crucial, and has been fortified since at least 150 BC. In places, the cliff faces are more than 1,000m high, and medieval watchtowers, waterfalls and wildlife make this one of the most incredible roads in the world. The steep valleys either side of the gorge are great places for bird watching. Eagles, hawks and the massive griffon vultures all nest among the rocky outcrops. The town of Stepantsminda (also called Kazbegi) itself is charming and a wonderful base camp for exploring the region further. There are many guesthouses where locals are happy to treat you like family, rustic and beautiful with views of the mountains, and often the picturesque Gergeti Trinity Church
Georgia Kazbegi Photos
Georgias ancient and vibrant capital city spreads out on both banks of the Mtkvari River, and is surrounded on three sides by mountains. The most widely accepted variant of the legend of Tbilisi's founding says that in the mid-5th century AD, King Vakhtang I Gorgasali was hunting in the heavily wooded region with a falcon. The Kings falcon allegedly caught or injured a pheasant during the hunt, after which both birds fell into a nearby hot spring and died from burns. King Vakhtang became so impressed with the hot springs that he decided to cut down the forest and build a city. The name Tbilisi derives from the Old Georgian word "tbili", meaning warm. Archaeological studies of the region indicate human settlement in the area early as the 4th millennium BC.
Georgia Tbilisi Photos
Batumi the Pearl of the Black Sea as it is often called is located in the autonomous republic of Adjara. European architects undertook numerous projects in Batumi at the beginning of the 20th century, and today it remains a hub of architectural innovation. General Information about Adjara One of the most beautiful regions in Georgia, Adjara is situated in southwest Georgia on the Black Sea coastline. Turkey borders Adjara to the south. Adjaras visitors especially admire the regions pristine and unaltered nature, and it is particularly intriguing for eco tourists.
Georgia Batumi Photos
Kutaisi, the capital of Imereti, is Georgias second largest city after Tbilisi. Elegant, tree lined streets with 19th century houses stretching down to the banks of the Rioni River, along with several attractive parks, make Kutaisi a very beautiful place to stroll around and take in the many sights. In the Jewish Quarter a number of synagogues demonstrate the long history of the Georgian Jewish community. The towns largest synagogue, built in 1866, can seat 500 worshipers. The magnificent churches of Bagrati and Gelati both UNESCO world heritages sites testify to the importance of the region.
Georgia Kutaisi Photos
Borjomi is famous for its mineral water industry (which is the number one export of Georgia). Archaeological excavations have revealed the existence of stone baths in the area, proving that these mineral waters have been utilized by people for thousands of years. Because of the supposed restorative and healing powers of the area's mineral springs, it is a frequent destination for people with health problems. Borjomi is also home to the most extensive ecologically themed amusement park in the Caucasus.
Georgia Borjomi Photos
Telavi, the capital of the Eastern province of Kakheti, is home to several of the regions world-famous wineries, art museums, castles and a theater highlighting folk singing and dancing. Telavi is located at the crossroad of the region and is an ideal place to stop for lunch or an excellent jumping-off point for two or three-day excursions.
Georgia Telavi Photos
Mtskheta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has been inhabited since before 1,000 BC and was once the capital of the early Kingdom of Iberia (todays Eastern Georgia). Just 20 km from Tbilisi, at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, the city is located on an ancient trade route. Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of Mtskhetas status as a major trading post. Glass perfume bottles, Greek and Aramaic writings, pottery, metalwork and jewelry have all been unearthed in abundance here, and many examples are on show in the towns museum. The ancient geographer Strabo described Mtskheta as a highly developed city with a water supply system, markets and stone houses. Mtskheta was also the religious centre of the country, with a number of major shrines to Georgias pagan pantheon these would later be replaced by churches when St. Nino converted the country to Christianity in around 337 AD. Although the capital was moved to the more easily defended Tbilisi at the beginning of the VI century, Mtskheta continued to be the coronation and burial place of Georgian kings, and the seat of the Patriarch, who is also known as the Bishop of Mtskheta. Today, the lovely old town has a laid back, village feel, especially compared to the more hectic pace of Tbilisi.
Georgia Mitskheta Photos
The original fortress, constructed on a hilltop, was named Gori (meaning hill in English), and was mentioned in the Georgian chronicles as early as the VII century. Some historians believe that the fortress was built by Byzantine Caesar Heraclius to store ammunition battles against the Persians. Just after the XI century the area became an active center for trade. According to some historians, this was due to David the Builder founding the town. Because of its geographical location, enemies frequently targeted the fortress, as conquering it enabled control of the whole Shida Kartli region. The fortress has been invaded many times and controlled by Ossetians, Iranians and Persians, amongst others. The stronghold has been repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt. The current iteration of the fortress was built in 1774, during the reign of Erekle II, but was significantly damaged by an earthquake in 1920. The Stalin Museum includes the memorial house where Joseph Stalin (1879-1953) was born, a museum building with a tower, and Stalins personal train car he used to visit Tehran, Yalta, and Potsdam. There are many unique exhibits displayed here, including personal belongings and collections of paintings, photos, films and other important historical artifacts
Georgia Gori Photos
The city is the capital of the Samegrelo Zemo Svaneti region, which combines Samegrelo (Mingrelia) and Svaneti. The name Zugdidi means big great hill in Laz and Mingrelian. Zugdidi served as the capital of the principality of Mingrelia (Odishi) until 1867, when the principality was abolished by the Russian Empire. In 1993 the administration of the first President of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, was here.
Georgia Zugdidi Photos
Mestia, the main regional center of Zemo (Upper) Svaneti, is situated 456 km from Georgias capital city, Tbilisi, and is 1,500 meters above sea level. It is the starting point for most trips to Svaneti, with a range of hotels, guesthouses and local travel services, and makes a convenient base for exploring the area. From the center of Mestia it is possible to hike up to the glaciers at the foot of mount Ushba, or take horses into the pristine alpine meadows. New ski resorts Hatsvali and Tetnuldi attract the attention of winter sports lovers who are looking for the new places and challenges. Tourists interested in religious history will find plenty of examples of wall paintings, frescoes and icons from the Middle Ages in the churches around Mestia. Within Mestia, the Church of Saint George contains well-preserved crosses and icons from the XII century. Additionally, Pusdi Church still contains fragments of XIII century wall paintings.
Georgia Mestia Photos
The health resort Sairme is located to the south of Kutaisi, 950 meters above sea level. This unique location offers healing springs, an ecologically clean environment, and beautiful nature. It is located in a subtropical mountainous area. The medicinal qualities of the mineral and thermal springs at Sairme were already well known in the 19th century. Several small springs flow on the territory of the resort. They differ in their chemical composition and medicinal treatment qualities, and each spring was given specific number after chemical analyses were conducted. The uniqueness and medicinal treatment capabilities of each of the springs was precisely defined, contemporary-style drinking fountains were installed, making the process of drinking water out of the medicinal springs and determining the correct dosage for guests more comfortable. Several illnesses are said to be able to be treated by the springs of Sairme: Pump room № 1: Urinary calculus disease (treatment of chronic kidney disease, salt diathesis, as well as prophylactic treatment ) Pump room № 2 : Bile-pebble diseases ( chronic cholecystitis, chronic hepatitis, not aggravated form, as well as for prophylactic purposes) Pump room № 3 : Disturbance of metabolism ( diabetes, salt diathesis, arthritis, osteochondrosis) Pump room № 4 : Gastrointestinal diseases ( peptic ulcer, disease, increased or decreased acidity, colitis)
Georgia Sairme Photos
Akhaltsikhe is a town in Southern Georgia, founded in Middle Ages. Its name means a new fortress, because the towns fortress used to be the most important landmark of the region. In 1579 it was a center of a region of Ottoman Empire, then, during Russian Turkish war in 1828 1829 it was brought back to Georgia, which used to be a part of Russian Empire. Now, the huge freshly renovated fortress of Rabati remains the main landmark of Akhaltsikhe. Its upper part includes the castle of Jakeli family, where the Museum of Samtskhe Javakheti region is situated; there are also an Akhmediye Mosque, an orthodox church, an amphitheatre and a citadel. The other part of Rabati includes touristic objects as hotels, cafes, restaurants, an information center, and even a marriage hall. It is a very beautiful place for a wedding ceremony and a romantic photo shooting, indeed! Beside this, there are also several interesting places near Akhaltsikhe: an ancient fortress of Atskuri, which has been constructed in the X century, and also Saphara monastery, which kept its beauty even after the most difficult years in Georgian history. If we talk about important landmarks of Samtskhe Javakheti region, we cant avoid mentioning Vardzia, an impressive cave town founded by King George III in the XII century. During its golden time it accommodated around 50.000 people. The infrastructure included living quarters, wine cellars, religious places like churches or monasteries, and even a library. There was even a sewerage system in the town! Hard to believe, that already in XII century far in the mountains people could live in such a developed town hewn in rocks Thats why you have to go to Vardzia to see it with your own eyes!
Georgia Akhaltsikhe Photos
The small, pretty town of Kvareli is located 150 kilometers from Tbilisi, and is both an interesting place for a day trip, and the starting point for a longer tour throughout Kakheti. Wine lovers, nature fans, and history connoisseurs will all find something for themselves here! Wine is the blood of Kakheti and of Georgia, and Kvareli is an important vessel..
Georgia Kvareli Photos
City of wine and love, as it is being called in recent years, is very much appealing to those who are tired of rush and hustle, and like everything lovely, cute and small. Walking through Sighnaghi, you might feel like in Italy the architecture is pretty similar to small Italian towns. Romantic cobbled streets, carved balconies, 24/7 marriage registration... What is there in this town for those who dont want to get married right now?
Georgia Sighnaghi Photos
Gudauri is the best ski resort in Georgia with well developed infrastructure, the greatest difference in altitude, and unlimited possibilities for freeride and back country (ski touring). The resort is the highest settlement on the Georgian Military Road (the old name Heavenly Gorge) at the altitude of 2000 m. The season in Gudauri begins in late December and lasts till the end of April. From Tbilisi Gudauri can be reached in approximately 2 hours. Ski rental are located in several places: in the village of Lower Gudauri, and in the Upper Gudauri, near the station. 5 chair lifts (Doppelmayr, Austria) and one line of gondolas (POMA, France) makes available skiing and snowboarding along the southern slopes (57 km certified trails of various difficulty levels) at the altitude from 3250 m to 2000 m, with altitude difference of 1275 meters. Freeride is possible both along the trails near the ski lifts and in the neighboring area along the western and eastern slopes of the mountains Chrdili, Bidara and the northern slopes of Mt. Sadzele (Kobi Gorge). Adrenaline seekers also have the chance to try paragliding, speedriding (an extreme mix of skiing and paragliding) and heli-skiing. In Gudauri you can stay in cottages and hotels of different categories. Besides skiing and snowboarding enjoy spa treatment, take a steam bath, play billiard and bowling, try a wide range of Georgian wines. For travelers with children there are children's corners, playgrounds, ski school. Also there are nannies and instructors services available on spot.
Georgia Gudauri Photos
Located at 1,700 m in the Borjomi region of Georgia, Bakuriani is nestled in the shadows of the breathtaking Caucasus Mountains, only a three hour drive from Tbilisi. Home to dozens of alpine slopes and cross country trails, it offers some of the most spectacular skiing and snowboarding in Europe. Originally developed as an Olympic training facility, unsurprisingly, Bakuriani is one of Georgias most popular winter sports and recreation destination. Enjoy the downhill ski runs, cross country trails, horseback tours, sledding or simply take long walks through beautiful snowy forests.
Georgia Bakuriani Photos
Surrounded by mighty 5000 m peaks, Svaneti is one of Georgias most historic and unique areas and a real skiers dream. Until recently, Svaneti was best known for its superb house towers, most of them dating back to the 12-13th centuries, which line the valleys and served as look-out posts against the threat of invasion. Those towers belong to UNESCO World Heritage List.
Georgia Hatsvali Photos
Svaneti, one of the most authentic and beautiful corners of Georgia, is so different from the rest of the country, that its not surprising that its been a popular summertime holiday destination. Nowadays most tourists are looking to the mountains, not to the valleys And the mountains are becoming more and more appealing also in wintertime.
Georgia Tetnuldi Photos
In December 2015 a new ski resort Goderdzi has been opened in the mountainous Adjara. First of all it is attractive to those, who want to combine a trip to the sea and skiing in the winter vacation
Georgia Goderdzi Photos
Anaklia is a seaside resort in Western Georgia. Its coastline stretches 8 km along the Black Sea, and there are several modern hotels. At the western end of the promenade the longest pedestrian bridge in Europe (540 meters!) connects the resort to the village of Ganmukhuri, located on the opposite side of the Inguri River. Sandy beaches and sunny weather attract several music festivals to the town. As its popularity grows, Anaklia is poised to become the hottest new destination for summer holidays in Georgia. You can get to Anaklia from Zugdidi, the central city of the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti province, via a minibus or private taxi..
Georgia Anaklia Photos