Tbilisi – Sighnaghi – Bodbe – Tsinandali – Tbilisi
Tour of Tbilisi and Mtskheta
If you are visiting Tbilisi, you should visit Mtskheta too. Located just 20 km north of Tbilisi, Mtskheta was the capital of the Eastern Georgian Kingdom of Iberia from the third century BC. This tour gives excellent chance to explore modern and ancient capitals of Georgia, – cities of extraordinary importance to the Georgian nation.
Start your tour at Holy Trinity cathedral, the third-tallest Eastern Orthodox cathedral in the world and one of the largest religious buildings in the world by total area. Sameba is a synthesis of traditional styles dominating the Georgian church architecture at various stages in history and has some Byzantine undertones.
Continue to Metekhi church and monument to Vakhtang Gorgasali, the legendary founder of Tbilisi. The district was one of the earliest inhabited areas on the city’s territory. The statue of a king overlooks the old city, which is full of beautiful old houses with colorful balconies. According to traditional accounts, Vakhtang Gorgasali erected a church and a fort, which served also as a king’s residence; hence comes the name Metekhi which dates back to the 12th century and literally means “the area around the palace”.
Time to see the Old City from the opposite side! Take cable car to Narikala Fortress to enjoy breathtaking panoramic view, – you will notice already familiar Metekhi church from a distance and balconies that are hanging over the cliffs, giving those who are faint of heart anxiety attack just by looking at them. Climb the walls of the fortress and watch your step! Imagine medieval soldiers running up and down of this staircase, – not the best job in the world. The fortress was established in the 4th century as Shuris-tsikhe, but the Mongols renamed it “Narin Qala” (i.e., “Little Fortress”). Don’t ask where the bigger fortress was, – not in Georgia for sure.
Catch your breath after a medieval workout and walk down to the district of Sulphur bathhouses passing by the only mosque in Tbilisi. This mosque is an unique one, as Shia and Sunni Muslims pray together here. The baths became a draw of the city at the height of the Silk Road, as lots of travelers stopped here to rest and to relax. Today’s hub of thermal baths are based on the Persian tradition and it becomes obvious even by looking at the exterior.
Visit Sioni Cathedral, which bears the name of Mount Zion at Jerusalem. Proceed to Anchiskhati Basilica, the oldest surviving church in Tbilisi and the clock tower of famous Rezo Gabriadze Theatre. Stroll through the Sharden area full of narrow streets with cozy cafés, wine tasting bars, souvenir shops, – perfect for short break and memento hunting.
After the break, head straight to Mtskheta. One of the oldest cities in the world, Mtskheta is also considered holiest place for christians second only to Jerusalem. The reason for this is Mantle of Christ, buried here, in Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. A masterpiece of the Early Middle Ages, Svetitskhoveli is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It is currently the second largest church building in Georgia, after the Holy Trinity Cathedral. On your way back to the vehicle do buy some Churchkhelas, – traditional Georgian treat, prepared with hazelnuts or walnuts dipped in grape juice.
Visit Jvari Church, a true architectural masterpiece of the early Medieval Period overlooking Mtskheta and the confluence of Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers from the top of the hill.
Return to Tbilisi. Drop off at your place. Eat your Churchkhelas in silence.
Price per person: 120$
Price does not include: