Samtskhe-Javakheti – historical heart of ancient Georgia. Region is very reach with historical monuments and many of them are hard to reach by regular transport. Region has also big variety of different landscapes – mountains covered by pine forests in Borjomi gorge, and Abastumani resort, alpine meadows and lakes in Javakheti and narrow canyon of river Mtkvari. Tour is designed so, that travelers will enjoy beautiful nature, test their abilities on the very difficult roads and explore less known historical monuments in Samtskhe-Javakheti mountains. Tour is good for all seasons.
Tbilisi, Mtskheta, Uplistsikhe, Borjomi, Bakuriani
Early morning leaving Tbilisi by main highway to ancient capital of Georgia – Mtskheta. Visit Jvari monastery (VI c) and Svetitskhoveli cathedral (XI c). Continue driving by secondary road to ancient carved in the rock town Uplistsikhe (VI c BC). Excursion in Uplistsikhe. Driving to town Gori and join main road to the west. After turning from Khashuri to Borjomi is possible to make lunch stop. Arriving to Borjomi, visit Borjomi park, walk around and taste famous mineral water directly from the spring. Continue driving to Bakuriani. Check in hotel. Dinner.
Bakuriani, Tskhratskaro pass, Tabatskuri lake, Samsari monastery, “Vardis tsikhe” Aspindza
Difficulties are starting here. After early breakfast leave Bakuriani to the direction of Tskhratskaro pass – 2600m. Cross the pass and continue driving to the Tabatskuri lake. Rest near lake and continue to the south, Little turns to visit Samsari rock monastery, ruins of Vardis Tsikhe. The villages on this road are very rarely visited by tourists. Roads everywhere here are quite bad or very bad. Tourists will enjoy lake and high mountain landscapes of lesser Caucasus. Arrival to Akhalkalaki and continue driving to town Aspindza by new good road. Check in guesthouse. Dinner.
Aspindza, Uraveli gorge, Akhaltsikhe, Sapara, “Golden fortress”, Zarzma, chule, Aspindza
After breakfast leaving Aspindza and drive to the west, turning to village Zveli and again – jeep roads. Passing several old Meskhetian villages, with old houses and churches built in early middle ages, the area is also rarely visited by tourists. Agara abandoned monastery complex, Baiebi complex cut into the rock, Reaching Akhaltsikhe – administrative center of the region. Driving to Sapara monastery. After continue to the west – Adigeni district, to visit one of the most notable fortresses – “Golden fortress” and Zarzma monastery. Returning to Aspindza by regular good road. Dinner.
Aspindza, Saro, Khizabavra, Vargavi, Toki, Khertvisi, Tmogvi,Upper Tmogvi
After breakfast drive to village Saro. There travelers will visit Archangel’s church (IX c) and what is the most interesting – megalith fortresses built in early bronze age. In the region there are three such fortresses. In village are many ancient houses still inhabitant and tourists will have chance to see how people were leaving hundreds years ago. After continue to Khizabavra village. This is one of catholic villages of the the region. Continue road to Vargavi and Toki villages. Get back to the regular road. Visit Khertvisi fortress and drive to the abandoned village Upper Tmogvi. Check in guesthouse. Dinner.
Vani caves, Vardzia, Upper Vardzia, Niala, Lepisi, Agara, Tmogvi
After breakfast drive to the south. Visit Vardzia cave monastery complex (XII c) – the most well known historical monuments in the area. Continue driving to Erusheti mountains, to reach Niala valley and abandoned village Lepisi, where are saved “Darans” – underground fortifications to hide during invasions. Such Darans were quite common in this area. Returning back and visit another cave complex – Vani caves (VIII c). Dinner in guesthouse.
Akhalkalaki, Abuli pass, Abuli fortress, Sagamo lake, Shaori fortress, Paravani lake, Tbilisi
After early breakfast drive to the town Akhalkalaki by regular road. In Akhalkalaki turn to Abuli pass, between highest mountain of Javakheti plateau – Big Abuli (3300 m) and Lesser Abuli (2700), hike to the Abuli fortress – one more mysterious bronze age megalith town on altitude 2500 m. Continue driving to the village Gandzani, between Sagamo and Paravani lakes and then along Paravani lake, in bottom of Samsari range to the next megalith fortress – Shaori. Return to regular road and drive back to Tbilisi. Check in hotel.
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