10 Archaeological sites to visit in Georgia
Kazbegi Gergeti Church, Mtskheta Cross (Jvari) Monastery, Cave town
Vardzia, Gelati Cathedral in Kutaisi, Sataplia Caves, Vashlovani protected
areas, Nikortminda church, Towers in Svaneti, Dmanisi archaeological site
and David Gareji Monastery complex are named the top destinations
tourists should visit in Georgia.
1. Gergeti Trinity Church is a popular name for the Holy Trinity Church near the village of Gergeti in Georgia. The church is situated on the right bank of the river Chkheri, at an elevation of 2,170 meters, under Mountain Kazbegi. The Gergeti Trinity Church was built in the 14th century, and is the only cross-cupola church in Khevi province.
2. Jvari Monastery in Mtskheta is a Georgian Orthodox monastery of the 6th century. Located in the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region, in eastern Georgia. The name is translated as the Monastery of the Cross. Jvari is considered a holy place as this is where the saint who brought Christianity to Georgia, St. Nino, established her cross. The cross is slightly bent on the top; legend has it that St. Nino had used her hair to secure the cross. Jvari Church is located atop a hill overlooking Mtskheta, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Legend has it that Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is the place where Christ’s robe is buried.
3. The cave city of Vardzia is a cave monastery dug into the side of the Erusheli mountain in southern Georgia near Aspindza on the left bank of the Mtkvari River. It was founded by Queen Tamar in 1185.
4. The Monastery of Gelati is a monastic complex near Kutaisi, Imereti, western Georgia. It contains the Church of the St Virgin founded by the King of Georgia David the Builder in 1106, and the 13th-century churches of St George and St Nicholas.
5. Sataplia State Reserve is a most multifarious and very rare monument. It is of complex character and contains geologic, paleontological, speleological and botanical monuments. The Sataplia Mountain is famous because of its rare and most beautiful caves.
6. Vashlovani Protected Areas are located in the extreme eastern part of Georgia, in the Dedoplistskaro district. It consists of Vashlovani Strict Nature Reserve, Vashlovani National Park and Natural Monuments as follows: “Eagle Gorge”, “Takhti-Tepa mud volcanoes”, “Juma Bay” and “Alazani Floodplains”, the total area of which is about 24,924 ha. Vashlovani Protected Areas were opened in 2003.
7. Nikortsminda Cathedral is a Georgian Orthodox Church, located in Nikortsminda, in the Racha region of Georgia. Nikortsminda was built in 1010-1014 during the reign of Bagrat III of Georgia and was repaired in 1634 by King Bagrat III of Imereti. The three-storey bell-tower next to the Cathedral was built in the second half of the 19th century. Frescoes inside the Cathedral date from the 17th century.
8. David Gareji is a rock-hewn Georgian Orthodox monastery complex located in the Kakheti region of Eastern Georgia, on the half-desert slopes of Mount Gareja, some 60-70 km southeast of Georgia’s capital Tbilisi . The complex includes hundreds of cells, churches, chapels, refectories and living quarters hollowed out of the rock face.
9. The Upper Svaneti fortifications in Ushguli and Mestia are some of the finest examples of medieval Georgian castle architecture.
10. Dmanisi - Home of the First Europeans. Nowadays Dmanisi attracts attention from the whole world. The most important is the Dmanisi Ancient Settlement, where after archaeological investigation layers of Late-Bronze, Early-Iron, Antique eras and Middle centuries were determined and a lot of archaeological materials were found. The latest discoveries - the 1.77-million-year-old skeletons of three adults and a teenager.
Next to the Top 10 places to Visit in Georgia is the State Museum J. Stalin, about the Soviet Leader. Therein are kept unique historical artifacts connected with the epoch in which J. Stalin lived and rules. A memorial house, two-storey exhibition building with a tower and J. Stalin’s personal carriage are also in the complex of the J. Stalin State Museum.
According to most of the Georgians interviewed, the protected territories of Georgia should become some of the most visited places by foreigners.
“In Georgia the history of Protected Areas dates back many centuries. The first Protected Area - Lagodekhi Strict Nature Reserve was established as early as 1912. At present the total area of Protected Areas is 495,892 hectares, which is about 7% of the country’s territory. About 75% of Protected Areas are covered by forests. There are 14 Strict Nature Reserves, 8 National Parks, 12 Managed Nature Reserves, 14 Natural Monuments and 2 Protected Landscapes in Georgia.
The primary function of the Protected Areas is protection of the natural heritage of the country,” the Agency of Protected Territories of Georgia notes.
The Protected Territories in Georgia are: Algeti National Park, Ajameti Protected Area, Batsara-Babaneuri Protected Areas, Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, Bichvinta-Miusera Protected Areas, Chachuna Protected Area, Imereti Caves Protected Areas, Katsoburi Protected Area, Kazbegi National Park, Ritsa Protected Area, Kobuleti Protected Areas, Tbilisi National Park, Mtirala National Park, Kintrishi Protected Areas, Pskhu-Gumista Protected Areas, Gardabani Protected Areas, and Lagodekhi National Park.
Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Samtavro, Annanuri Monastery Complex, Kazbegi Gergeti Church, Stalin museum, Cave town Uplistsikhe, Vardzia, Khertvisis Fortress, Bagrati Cathedral - XI century, Gelati Cathedral complex - XII century, Archeological site Vani, Gonio Fortress and Alaverdi cathedral - XI century, are places which foreign tourists should definitely visit. They are the country’s treasure and everyone should see them.