Day 1: Kutaisi – Gelati – Bagrati
Arrival in Kutaisi.
Old Capital of Georgia and legislative center of modern Georgia. Kutaisi was the capital of Colchis and this city is famous from story of Argonauts, who retrieved the Golden Fleece from Colchis. So, foundation of this city traces back to more than 3500 years. Near the city you can find the significant churches of Bagrati and Gelati – Both in the UNESCO world heritage site lists – underline the importance of the region and its cultural development. Gelati monastery had the great meaning in culture, religion and education of Georgia. King David the Builder, most celebrated king in Georgia, who established the academy where a great number of monuscripts and murals.
Day 2: Sataplia-Batumi
Next stop is Sataplia cave, it’s located close to Kutaisi, in the Tskaltubo region. Sataplia Cave is named after Sataplia Mountain, which gained its name from the local tradition of collecting honey from the bees that inhabit the mountain’s southern slope. Sataplia means ‘place of honey’. Sataplia Cave is 900 m long, 10 m high and 12 m wide and contains dramatically lit stalactites and stalagmites. Then we’ll continue the road to Batumi. In the evening we’ll be in Batumi. Accommodation in hotel.
Day 3: Batumi- Batumi Botanical Garden
After the cultural experience it’s unexpected to explore modern place of beautiful buildings. City of leisure, parties, clubs and gambling – Batumi is situated in a subtropical zone surrounded by forests and mountains. Batumi is the most famous Georgian resort and the second largest city of Georgia after Tbilisi. Here you can find a dolphinarium where dolphins perform incredible shows and amaze visitors of all age. There’s botanical garden which covers 108 hectare area at the place called Mtsvane Kontskhi on the Black sea shore and is of the largest botanical gardens in the former Soviet Union. Here you can find very rare species and enjoy the amazing artificial and cultivated nature.
Day 4: Gonio Fortress-Rabati
Gonio Fortress or the Gonio-Apsaros Fortress – the oldest fortress of Georgia. 15 km from Batumi city. The fortress history amounts to several millenniums. The ancient archaeological layers, dug in the fortress territory belong to the XV-XVII centuries BC. There exists a legend that the name of Apsaros originates from the ancient Greek myth about Argonauts. According to the legend this was the place where Apsyrtus, King Aiet’s son killed by Jason, was buried.
Next stop is Rabati.
Rabati is the old stone fortress in the Akhaltsikhe town. Its name comes from Arabic meaning “fortified place”. This fortification was constructed in 13th century and witnessed a lot over the history. Meskheti region had very important strategic meaning as the defense line for Georgians and bridgehead for their enemies. So, Rabati was destroyed several times and therefore contains elements of different cultures and religions. There’re Church, mosque, synagogue, small park, Historical Museum in one place that gives an unique chance to rethink about Georgian culture and history and determine you views about the neighborhood of several Kingdoms in this region where west meets east. At night we will stay in Rabat.
Day 5: Vardzia-Tbilisi
Next day we’ll drive to Tbilisi.
First we’ll see Vardzia. Vardzia is the cave complex, which the jewel of medieval architecture. This unique cave city is carved into the steep wall of the mountain Erusheti at an altitude of 1300 meters. Vardzia is a place of legends. Its name derived from the story that Queen of All Georgia Tamar was lost in the countless labyrinths of caves in childhood and cried: “ak var, dzia” it means “I’m here, Uncle”, so she was found and rescued. During the reign of Tamar importance of this place was increased and reached surprising prosperity. Because of its strategical meaning, Vardzia is realization of Georgian vigilant nature. The location of this original complex in the middle of gorge, offers unforgettable views.
Then we’ll continue the road to Tbilisi. In the evening we’ll be in Tbilisi and we’ll accommodation in hotel.
Day 6: Tbilisi
Explore history of the city from early centuries by walking through narrow streets with churches, synagogues, mosques, famous 19th century colored houses of unique architecture with modern cafes, fashionable art galleries, souvenirs shops. Visit Abanotubani – Sulphur Bath District. Drive to Metekhi church and enjoy panoramic view of the city. Cross the river Mtkvari walking through The Bridge of Peace. Visit Georgian historical museum. Drive to the largest Trinity Cathedral of the whole Caucasus.
Day 7: Kaxeti – Signagi -Bodbe -Tsinandali
Drive to Signagi – City of Love, a small, beautiful town perched on top of a hill, it is enclosed by a long, spectacular, defensive wall built by King Erekle II in the second half of the 18th century. Each of the wall’s 23 towers are named after a nearby village and served as a refuge for the whole community. The town offers splendid views of the Alazani Valley and the Caucasus mountain range.
Near Sighnaghi is the beautiful place – Bodbe. St. Nino, who converted Georgian to Christianity in 4th century is burred here. Her tomb in the Bodbe Monastery is visited by thousands of pilgrims and tourists every year. Wall paintings of the cathedral in Bodbe are of special interest: they date back to the 12-17th centuries and the earliest ornaments had appeared already in the 9th century. Garden of the monastery is very beautiful and quite, which gives this place the sacred meaning.
Then visit Tsinandali – the residence of a Kakheti nobleman and military figure of the 19th century, Alexandre Chavchavadze. Alexandre is regarded as the “father of the Georgian romanticism” and as the house of influential person, Tsinandali was main place of gathering for talented and noble Georgians. Therefore this residence is exceptional for its astonishing beauty and Tsinandali winery, which still produces wines according to the methods brought here by Chavchavadze in the first half of 19th century. Take a walk with glass of wine in the garden and you’ll feel that taste of wine is changed by the history. Then come back to Tbilisi.
Day 8: Ananuri-Kazbegi
Then we drive up the famous Georgian Military Highway, ending route visiting the Ananuri fortress, which is a XVI century castle complex on the Aragvi River. The Fortress overlooks a large Jinvali Lake and its high, turreted stone walls protect two churches, a watch towel and a reservoir. The main church façade is beautifully carved with animal, floral and Celtic style patterns. Kazbegi is famous for its amazing views and the Gergeti Trinity Church. The Church built in 14th century and it’s located on 1,800 meters above sea level. It seems an impossible experience to climb up to it, but in fact ascent goes quite easy taking only an hour walk up the serpentine road and a thorny forest. Those who prefer not to walk it’s possible to drive up in 10 minutes. Return to Tbilisi
Day 9: Mtskheta-Borjomi
Next day we’ll drive up from Tbilisi to Borjomi and on the way we’ll see old capital of Georgia – Mtskheta.
Mtskheta has significant cultural and religious value for Georgians. It’s place where ancestors of Georgians accepted christianity and where robe of Christ is buried. According to legend, Elias, who brought the robe in Georgia, was met by his sister, Sydonia. On seeing the sacred robe, Sidonia was so overcome with emotion that she clutched it to her breast and died. It was impossible to take the robe away, so it was buried with her. After the centuries, royal cathedral of Georgia, Svetitskhoveli was built on her grave. When st.Nino first came in Mtskheta, she saw the sacrifice ritual to Georgian pagan god – Armazi. She prayed to The Lord to help her and take down Armazi, so statue was destroyed by nature and visitors can still find this site to dive in mysterious history.
Borjomi is a resort town, located in the northwestern part of Samtskhe javakheti region, on the eastern edge of the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. The town is most famous for its mineral water named after the place, “Borjomi”, which is of the leading export products of Georgia. This water springs were used for medical purposes since first millennium. Also, Borjomi is home to the most extensive ecologically-themed amusement park in the Caucasus, where you can rise by cable car to the observation platform and enjoy views of the Borjomi Gorge to see how this town dives into the woods.
We’ll stay in Borjomi this night
Day 10: Return to Kutaisi from Borjomi and depart.