WHAT TO SEE IN THE INNER KARTLI REGION
The fortress constructed on the small city's hilltop was called Gori (meaning "hill" in English). The original fortress here has existed from very early times and consequently the territory around it has been densely populated. In historical annals, the town of Gori was first mentioned from the VII century.
In the XI century the town experienced a revival and became an active centre for trade. This is probably the reason that some historians believe that David the Builder founded the town.
The one who controlled the fortress used to rule the whole of Inner Kartli, which is why the fortress has been invaded many times and has had many different owners.The fortress was, from time to time, controlled by Ossetians, Iranians and Persians. The histories of Gori castle and the town itself start simultaneously. Gori fortress is first mentioned in historical documents in the XIII century, though some researchers believe that the "Gorizena" mentioned by Strabo in the first century B.C is the same as Gori.
Some historians believe that the fortress was built by the Byzantine Caesar Heraclius to store ammunition when he fought against the Persians. Because of its important geographical location enemies have always tried to invade the fortress, as owning of it meant that one could control the whole Kartli region. The stronghold has therefore been ruined and restored many times. The present fortress was reconstructed in 1774, during the reign of Erekle II. It was significantly damaged during an earthquake in 1920.
ATENI SIONI CHURCH
The Ateni Sioni domed church is an early 7th century monument. It stands on the bank of the Ateni River, on the hilltop, like Jvari monastery. Its facade is furnished with carved quadrangle greenish-gray stones and is richly decorated with ornaments. The walls of the church contain inscriptions of the early Georgian alphabet dating back from IX-XI centuries.These inscriptions contain precious historic information.
The cross-domed monastery of Kints-visi is a XII century monument about 10 kilometers from the town of Kareli. It is dedicated to St. Nicholas.The monastery is famous for its frescoes. Particularly remarkable is the fresco of Archangel from the Resurrection composition.
Uplistsikhe is an ancient rock-hewn town in Inner Kartli. It dates back to the first millennium B.C. It was the place where the foreman of Inner Kartli used to live, that is why the place is called "Uplistsikhe" meaning "the lord's fortress." In the IV-III centuries B.C the settlement grew into a strategic town. The town had two parts: an inner town that was located in the caves, and the settlement around it. From the IV century the importance of the town declined and soon it was deserted consequently. During enemy invasions it was used as a shelter.
Nowadays Uplistsikhe is one of the country's most significant tourist attractions. There are caves of different sizes and types. At the summit of the complex is a Christian basilica. Some other attractions of the site are fragments of roads carved in stone, defensive stitches and secret tunnels.
Urbnisi is a village in the district of Kareli. Archeological studies have demonstrated that the place was inhabited in the 3rd millennium B.C and it was an important city in ancient and early medieval times. Later it grew larger.The town was surrounded by thick wall with 20 towers. The densely populated town was full of houses and buildings constructed with different building materials. In the V-VI centuries it was home to the largest three nave basilica constructed in Urbnisi. It was restored first by the Bishop Theodore in IX-X centuries and later by Queen Mariam in the XVII century.
One of the most significant events in the history of the Georgian church is connected to Urbnisi: Ruisi-Urbnisi ecclesiastic council was convened here by David the Builder to cope with the problems within the church hierarchy.
RKONI MONASTIC COMPLEX
The Rkoni monastic complex is located in the Kaspi district, near the village of Rkoni.The complex is divided into several layers:The Church of the Virgin Mary- dating back to the VII century; the gate of the complex - dating back to the XIII-XIV centuries; and the chapel, the single nave church of John the Baptist a bell tower dating to the XVI-XVIII centuries and housing for the monks. Rkoni fortress is near the church. It was supposed to be a residence for Georgian feudal lords. The fortress is surrounded by a wall.There is a palace, a one nave church and ruins of buildings inside the wall. Near the Rkoni monastery there is a bridge over the riverTedzami.This bridge connected Inner Kartli toTrialeti. On the other side of the river, on the mountain slope, there is another small church and cave carved in the rocks that was once used by monks.
Surami fortress overlooks the town of Surami. The exact date of its construction is not known, though the town itself existed from the XII century. During his fight against Iran, Giorgi Saakadze fortified the stronghold. Later the castle was conquered by Osman conquerors and during the latter part of the XVIII c. Georgian and Russian soldiers held it. Besides the castle, there are nine Christian churches and one synagogue in Surami.
SURAMI MOUNTAIN RESORT
The mountain resort of Surami is located on the southern slopes of the Likhi range, 760 meters above sea level. It has been operating since 1928. Besides its healthy lower alpine climate, Surami has mineral springs. Treatment is received by patients, especially children, afflicted with diseases of respiratory organs.
loseb Stalin State Museum
32 Stalin Ave. 1400, Gori, Tel: (+955 270) 7 26 81 / 7 52 15
This museum dedicated to the Soviet strongman Stalin (1879-1953) includes the memorial house where he was born, a museum building with a tower, and Stalin's personal train carriage in which he visited Tehran, Yalta, and Potsdam.The museum also houses Stalin's personal belongings, and a collection of paintings.
Sergi Makalatia Gori Historical & Ethnographical Museum
1 Kirion II Str. 1400, Gori Tel: (+995 270) 7 28 67
This museum houses archaeological collection from local sites IV-III Millennium B.C. and ethnographic works of XVIII-XIXcc.
Uplistsikhe Historical & Architectural Museum-Reserve
(National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia) Village Kvakhvreli, 1400,Gori Tel: (+995 270) 5 05 24
This museum-reserve includes a First Millennium B.C.-beginningof A.D. architectural monument-the town of Uplistsikhe, featuring antique period different purpose caves, IX-X c.c. a three nave basilica and exposition hall. In the latter are displayed VII-VI c.c. B.C. ceramic objects, the wheel of an iron carriage, adornments, and household objects.
Kaspi Local Museum
88 Stalin Str. 2600, Kaspi Tel:(+995 271)22414/23510
The museum houses an archaeological collection, dated to the Early and Middle Bronze Age, Ill-l Millennium B.C., objects from the burial mound, Late Bronze Age earthenware, XIV-XII c.c. B.C. details of cloth implements and weapons, the Hellenistic bronze sculpture of Dionysus (Ill-ll c.c. B.C.); medieval glazed earthenware.
Khashuri Local Museum
2 Merab Kostava Str. 5700, Khashuri Tel: (+995 268) 4 21 08/ (+995 268) 401 73
The museum houses archaeological collection from local sites from the Stone Age up to X c. A.D. There is also a collection of XVII-XX c.c. ethnographic objects and photographs, as well as Fine Art works of XX c.