1. Old Tbilisi
Old Tbilisi, the historic quarter at the very heart of the modern capital city of Georgia. You will take a glance to the history of the city from early centuries to nowadays by walking in narrow streets of the city and will explore the religious and secular architecture. Here you will find churches, synagogues, mosque as well as famous 19th century houses with wooden balconies. Visit the sulphur baths and enjoy the superb panoramic views of the Old city.
Holy Trinity Cathedral, Metekhi Church, The bridge of freedom, Aerial Cable Car, Narikala Fortress (Breathtaking views of the old town), Abanotubani and Sulfur Baths, Sioni Cathedral, Georgian Historical Museum, Rustaveli Avenue and Freedom Square, Art Museum of Georgia, Funicular, Mamadaviti Church and Pantheon, Mtatsminda Park, “Dry bridge”, Agmashenebeli Avenue.
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 (today’s 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 Mtskheta’s 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 town’s 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 Georgia’s 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.
Sighnaghi is a town in Georgia's easternmost region of Kakheti and the administrative center of the Sighnaghi Municipality (approximately 113 km southeast of Tbilisi).
Although it is one of Georgia's smallest towns, Sighnaghi serves as a popular tourist destination due to its location at the heart of Georgia's wine-growing regions, as well as its picturesque landscapes, pastel houses and narrow, cobblestone streets. Located on a steep hill, Sighnaghi overlooks the vast Alazani Valley, with the Caucasus Mountains visible at a distance.
Sighnaghi and its environs are home to several historical and cultural monuments and has been specifically protected by the State since 1975. The town is walled with the remnants of 18th-century fortifications. There are two Georgian Orthodox churches in the town itself - one dedicated to St. George and the other to St. Stephen. The venerated Bodbe Monastery is located 2 kilometers from Sighnaghi and is a place of pilgrimage due to its association with St. Nino, the 4th-century apostle of Georgia.
The local Ethnographic and Archaeological Museum dating from the 1950s was upgraded and developed into a modern-standard exhibition the – Sighnaghi Museum – in 2007. Sighnaghi is known as a "City of Love" in Georgia, with many couples visiting it just to get married.
4. Ananuri - Kazbek
Ananuri fortress 66km north of Tbilisi is a classic example of beautiful old Georgian architecture in a beautiful location, enhanced by the Zhinvali Reservoir spreading out below. Within the fortress are two 17th-century churches, the larger of which, the Assumption Church, is covered with wonderful stone carving, including a large cross on every wall. The fortress belonged to the eristavis (dukes) of Aragvi, who ruled as far as the Tergi valley from the 13th to 18th centuries.
Inside the Assumption Church are vivid 17th- and 18th-century frescoes including a Last Judgement on the south wall. You can climb the tallest of the fortress towers for fine views.
In the north of Georgia, at the foot of the Mount Kazbek, there is a small settlement called Stepantsminda. For about 100 years till 2007 it was always known as Kazbegi, and only recently it received its historic name. It is located 165km in the north from Tbilisi and only 11km from the Russian border. Also, Georgian Military road crosses this town, that connects Russia and Georgia and this is the road that lead tourists traveling by car.
There is the Ethnographic Museum and the Gergeti Trinity Church. However, most tourists are attracted by natural beauty of the place, they come for paragliding, horsing and trekking.
5. Dmanisi - Bolnisi
Dmanisi is a town and archaeological site in the Kvemo Kartli region of Georgia approximately 93 km southwest of the nation’s capital Tbilisi in the river valley of Mashavera. The hominin site is the earliest of its kind outside of Africa, dating back to 1.81 Ma.A series of skulls from Dmanisi, discovered in the early 2010s, led to the hypothesis that many separate species in the Homo genus were in fact a single lineage. Also known as Skull 5, D4500 is the fifth skull to be discovered in Dmanisi. For more info see - http://dmanisi.ge/page?id=12&lang=en
The oldest church of Georgia. Ancient basilica of Bolnisi Sioni is located in a picturesque village of Kvemo-Bolnisi, 70 km away from Tbilisi, in the South-East of Georgia. The temple is the oldest preserved architectural monuments on the territory of the country. The construction dates back to 478-493 A.D., during the rule of legendary King Vakhtang Gorgasali.
6. Vardzia- Rabati (trough Borjomi Gorge)
Vardzia is a cave monastery site in southern Georgia, excavated from the slopes of the Erusheti Mountain on the left bank of the Kura River, thirty kilometres from Aspindza. The main period of construction was the second half of the twelfth century. The caves stretch along the cliff for some five hundred metres and in up to nineteen tiers. The Church of the Dormition, dating to the 1180s during the golden age of Tamar and Rustaveli, has an important series of wall paintings. The site was largely abandoned after the Ottoman takeover in the sixteenth century. Now part of a state heritage reserve, the extended area of Vardzia-Khertvisi has been submitted for future inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The old stone Rabati fortress, the main sight of the Akhaltsikhe town, is standing on the small hill on the very shores of the Potskhovi river. Its name comes from Arabic meaning “fortified place”. It is located on the western suburbs and can be seen practically from anywhere in the city. This military building erected in the 13th century had witnessed a lot over the centuries. The fortress had been destroyed several times, was often in a siege, as a result of which had absorbed tracks of different cultures and religions. In 2012 there was held a large reconstruction after which Rabati fortress in Akhaltsikhe turned into a town within the town.
7. Gori - Uplistsikhe
Gori is a city in the Shida Kartli region of Georgia. It is most famous (or infamous) for being the birthplace of Iosif Vissarionovich Jughashvili, better known as Joseph Stalin.
Stalin’s Museum was founded in 1937 and contains 60,000 exhibits. The museum includes the memorial house where Stalin is believed to have been born, an exhibition building, and Stalin’s personal train car, in which he traveled to Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam. The museum also houses Stalin’s personal belongings.
Uplistikhe is a rock-hewn city, located just 10 km east of Gori, on the left bank of the river Mtkvari. One of the oldest settlements in the Caucasus region, Uplistikhe is first mentioned within the pages of history in the VII century. Uplistiskhe and its surrounding archeological and architectural monuments belong to a distinct group, the oldest of which dates back to the early Bronze Age, and are considered to be relics of the Kura-Araxes culture.
8. David Gareji
Davit Gareji is one of the greatest cave cities in the world. It is a VI-XII century prominent relief-cultural center from the Georgian feudal time. The David Gareji cave monastery complex is located in the outer Kakheti region. It lies on the Gareji semi-desert slopes of the mountain and amazes visitors with its artful architecture and paintings of high artistic value.
St. David was one of the thirteen Assyrian Fathers. They arrived in Georgia in the second half of VI century to reinforce the Christian faith. St. David decided to live a solitary life in a desert place and chose the Gareji mountainside. According to the legend, after St. David’s prayers, drops of water leaked through the rock. This water was called Tears of David and has miraculous properties. St. David founded the monastery David’s Lavra. The other three - Desert, Bertubani and Chichkhitauri - were founded a little later. Several hundreds of cells, churches, chapels and refectories in the David Gareji complex are all cut out of rock.
Kutaisi (ancient names: Aia) is the legislative capital of Georgia, and its 3rd most populous city. Situated 221 kilometres (137 miles) west of Tbilisi. Kutaisi was the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Colchis. the Argonautica (a Greek epic poem written by Apollonius Rhodius in the 3rd century BC) tells the myth of the voyage of Jason and the Argonauts to retrieve the Golden Fleece from remote Colchis. Their heroic adventures and Jason's relationship with the dangerous Colchian princess Medea were already well known to Hellenistic audiences.
Main sights: The landmark of the city is the ruined Bagrati Cathedral, built by Bagrat III, king of Georgia, in the early 11th century. The Bagrati Cathedral, and the Gelati Monastery a few km east of the city, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of the famous churches in Georgia is Motsameta Church. Besides the churches, there are many interesting places in Kutaisi, such as: Promete and Sataplia Caves, where one can observe footprints of dinosaurs; Geguti Palace, which was one of the residences of Georgian monarchs;
10. Mestia - Ushguli
Mestia is a historical, cultural and religious center or Svaneti, the most original and mysterious area of Georgia hiding high in the mountains. Mestia is located on the southern slope of the Major Caucasus, 128 km to the northeast from Zugdidi at the height of 1,500 m. There lives a special ethnic group of people – heroic and courageous Svans - distinguished by their culture, traditions and customs. The genetics and cultural heritage of the Svans has been preserved for 4,000 years!
Svaneti is also known for its original architecture and is called “the Country of Thousand Towers”. From ancient times the Svans built high and very strong quadrangular towers at their houses which played both economic and defensive parts. Mestia still has dozens of such medieval stone houses with the watchtowers and inhabited towers which were used to protect valleys and churches (the 10th – 14th centuries). The unique medieval architecture of Mestia is included in the list of the World heritage of UNESCO. Svanetia has been the keeper of treasures of Georgia for ages. The settlement has a historical - ethnographic museum where you can see unique icons, manuscripts and other relics saved from enemy invasions.
Ushguli is a community of four villages located at the head of the Enguri gorge. Recognized as the Upper Svaneti UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ushguli is one of the highest continuously inhabited settlements in Europe. Compared to somewhat more developed towns like Mestia, Ushguli has been "saved" by its particularly inaccessible location, which helped preserve the villages' timeless feel.
11. Zugdidi - Martvili Canyon
Zugdidi is a city in the Western Georgian historical province of Samegrelo. It is situated in the north-west of that province. The city is located 318 kilometres west of Tbilisi, 30 km from the Black Sea coast. People come here for its lush, botanical gardens and the Dadiani Palace, a neo-Medieval style built by the princes, set in the heart of the Caucasus. It's a lovely place and its park, frequented by Zougdidi's youth during the summer months, is a romantic place for a walk - quite a rare find in the Caucasus.
The Martvili Canyon is a natural wonder in the Samegrelo region of Georgia, near the town of Martvili. Also called the Gachedili Canyon, it is about a 45 minute drive from the city of Kutaisi in West Georgia. Martvili canyons used to be a bath place for Dadiani family. Now people visit it to enjoy the scenery, its waterfalls and take a boat trip in the river with deep green color.
Batumi - the “Pearl of the Black Sea,” as it is often called - is the second largest city of Georgia, located on the coast of the Black Sea in the country's southwest. Situated in a subtropical zone near the foot of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, Batumi is a popular tourist destination known for its varying weather–it is a bustling seaside resort during warm seasons, but can get entirely covered in snow during winter. Much of Batumi's economy revolves around tourism and gambling, but the city is also an important sea port and includes industries like shipbuilding, food processing and light manufacturing. Since 2010, Batumi has been transformed by the construction of modern high-rise buildings, as well as the restoration of classical 19th-century edifices lining its historic Old Town.
The main sightseengs: Batumi Boulevard, Batumi Botanical Garden, Alphabetic Tower, Colonnades, Astronomical Clock, Piazza, Batumi Cable Way, Dolphinarium, Gonio-Apsaros Fortress, Makhuntseti waterfall (Keda Municipality).