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. The historic churches of Mtskheta: Jvari Monatery, Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and Samtavro Monastery are outstanding examples of medieval religious architecture in the Caucasus. Mtskheta was declared as the “Holy City” by the Georgian Orthodox Church in 2014.
Jvari (The Cross) Monastery- The 6th century monastery of Jvari is situated on a cliff above Mtskheta. It is the culmination of a number of artistic and architectural aspiration in early Christian Georgian architecture. The view from above is amazing. Jvari Monastery stands on the rocky mountaintop at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, overlooking the town of Mtskheta, which was formerly the capital of the Kingdom of Iberia.
Svetitskhoveli (The Life Giving Pillar) Cathedral is one of the most sacred places in Georgia and, along with Jvari Monastery, the clear highlight of a trip to Mtskheta. It was founded in 1010, built on the site of Georgia’s first church, and contains the graves of the ancient Georgian kings, including Sidonia, who was said to have been buried holding Christ’s robe. There are many (unaggressive) beggars at the entrance gate. There is a wedding chapel with helpful personnel. Svetitskhoveli is currently the second largest church building in Georgia, after the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Samtavro is located to the north up the main road, within easy walking distance from the Svetitskhoveli complex. According to legend, St. Nino actually lived on this site and prayed within the smaller of its two extant churches. This small church dates from the 4th century. The larger church on this site was built in the 11th century and contains the graves of Mirian, the Georgian king who adopted Christianity, and his wife, Nana.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Guest’s Hotel|
|DEPARTURE TIME||10:00 AM|
10:00 AM: Pick up
Tour starts at 10:00 am. Guide and driver meets you in a lobby of your hotel and transfer to the start of the tour. Today’s tour includes the following:
- Jvari Monastery
- Svetitskhoveli Monastery
- Samtavro Monastery