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About One day trip to Mtskheta
The ancient capital of Georgia is located close to Tbilisi and makes a beautiful day or even half-day trip.You can start your trip even at the afternoon and enjoy visiting UNESCO world heritage sites: elegant Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and 6th century Jvari Monastery overlooking splendid view ofMtskheta with the confluence of two rivers Aragvi and Mtkvari.
The historic monuments of Mtskheta are outstanding examples of medieval and ancient religious architecture in the Caucasus. They show the high culture and architecture of the ancient kingdom. They also represent associative values with religious figures, such as Saint Nino, whose deeds aredocumented by Georgian, Armenian, Greek and Roman historians.
In 1994, UNESCO designated “the Historical Monuments of Mtskheta’’ a World Heritage Site comprised of the area’s churches, examples of Georgia’s extraordinary medieval religious architecture, making the town a worthwhile day trip from Tbilisi.
Jvari Monastery located only 25 km away and it takes 40-minute drive from Tbilisi center. It is situated in the beautiful landscape at the confluence of theAragvi and Mtkvari Rivers.This ancient church dates back to the 6th century AD. It was built at the dawn of the adoption and spread of Christianity in Georgia. Full compatibility of the temple with the surrounding landscape clearly demonstrates the sophisticated intuition and taste of the architect – one hardly can imagine that the mount had ever existed without the temple on the summit.
You need 15-minute drive to reach the old capital and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral from Jvari Monastery. On your way to the cathedral on both sides there are open air shops selling different Georgian antiques, traditional dresses, the famous Georgian wine, traditional Georgian sweets “Churchkhela” ( Georgian candy shaped like a sausage made from natural grape juice and different kinds of nuts) and beautiful Georgian souvenirs. After walking a few minutes you'll catch a glimpse of the mighty cathedral standing in front of you. Svetitskhoveli Cathedralis the second largest church in the country after the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi. It was built in the 11thcentury by Georgian architect Arsukisdze, although the site itself is older and dates back to the early 4thcentury. Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is listed among the most beautiful churches in the world.
Samtavro Monasterycomplexis located in the center of Mtskheta, just 5 minutes walking distance from Svetitskhovel Cathedral. A little 4th centurySamtavro Monasterymarks the site where St Nino lived and prayed, while a larger 11th century building holds the tombs of her contemporaries – Georgia’s first Christian monarchs, King Mirian and Queen Nana.
The Shio-Mgvime Monastery is located 9 km from the city of Mtskheta, at an altitude of 750 m above sea level.Shio-mgvime Monastery(“Cave of Shio”) was founded in the 6th century by the Syrian Father Shio. The complex consists of several structures dating from the 6th to the 12th centuries, including the dark dungeon where the Syrian monk lived as a religious recluse for 15 years and where he was buried later.
If you have time and wish to explore other destinations in this area follow the links.
What to eat?
Mtskheta is particularly famous for its Khinkali. Itis a small sack made of twisted knobs of dough, stuffed with meat and spices. It is considered to be one of the best national dishes of Georgia.Mtskheta is the place, where UNESCO meets the world’s best beans. You have an opportunity to enjoy tasting the most delicious beans in Mtskheta in the traditional restaurants. But “Salobie” is one of the most popular restaurants. The name of the traditional restaurant means a place to eat beans.Lobiomeans beans. It is probably the most traditional place in Mtkskheta, located right in the entrance (or exit) of the city.If you already
have a favorite Georgian dish just go for it, if you are still a newbie, start withGeorgian traditional meal, Khachapuri(cheese bread), Mtsvadi( barbeque), Khinkali ( Georgian dumplings). And since the place is translated as a “place to eat beans”, you should absolutely take beans in the pot with traditional corn bread (Mchadi). The place is very casual you are welcome to stop by for lunch, dinner, or just a bite.Here you can find the list of other placeswhere you could taste Lobio, Khinkali and the other Georgian food.
For discovering Mtskheta and its historical monuments, we would recommend to explore available private transportoptions with or without driver/guide. Any vehicle with reasonable clearance can take you from Tbilisi to visit the ancient capital.
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