Georgia is the only country in the world where you can visit both the sea and the desert, mountains and lowland, green valleys and alpine zones, glaciers and rocks. So, join the “Hello Georgia” Jeep Tour and discover the most inaccessible places of Georgia. Beautiful cities. We will take you from Tbilisi to Vardzia, and across river gorges to the historic mountain strongholds of Khertvisi and Tmogvi.
Hewn out of the cliffs of Erusheti mountain, one hundred metres up and 1300 m above sea level, stretches the one-kilometre-long monastery complex of Vardzia. Originally a fortification built by Giorgi III in the 12th century, it grew to what could be called a city, in the reign of Queen Tamar. Its 13 floors and more than 400 rooms, 15 wine cellars and
13 churches–connected by a complex system of tunnels–once may have housed 2000 monks. Mural paintings survive and archaeological finds indicate settlement more than a thousand years BC. An earth quake in 1283 destroyed some of the city and continuous invasions caused a decline. Vardzia was taken by the Persians in 1551 and its treasures looted. Nowadays some of the caves are inhabited again, making Vardzia a working monastery. Vardzia is on the tentative list of UNESCo World Heritage Sites.
We will proceed to the medieval fortress of Rabati, dear to Georgians as a symbol of tolerance because Christian churches stand side by side with a synagogue and a mosque. Mongol, Ottoman, and Russian occupations have left their mark on the town. Rabati fortress was the main residence of the Jakeli family who were important to the unfolding of Georgia’s history.
On to Akhaltsikhe with views of the volcanic landscape and the Lesser Caucasus mountains in all their natural beauty. We will take in Zarzma monastery which comprises a series of buildings dominated by a domed church and one of the largest bell towers in Georgia. The earliest church on the site was probably built in the 8th or
9th century by Serapion–a monk from Turkey–with the help of the nobleman Giorgi Chorchaneli who donated villages and estates to the monastery. The buildings we see today however, date from the 14th century when construction was sponsored by Beka I of the Jakeli family.
We will spend the evening and overnight in the Goderdzi pass (2020 m). Breathtaking views towards Adjara and Samtskhe-Javakheti open from here, as well as to Tao- Klarjeti, now in Turkish territory.
Crossing the pass we reach Adjara, where mountain air and sea breezes blend. As we traverse the mountains–wild and beautiful–we follow the gorge down towards Batumi, the ‘pearl of the Black Sea’. This city offers the waves of the sea, spectacular views, a mixture of Asian and Renaissance architecture, resort atmosphere, and vibrant night life. You will overnight in a hotel and face the next adventure in the morning: a trip to Lake Tobavarchkhili, which translates as Silver Lake. As its name suggests, it is crystal clear and reflects the surrounding mountains. A local legend promises that when someone intends to foul the water, thunder will roll on the instant.
We will stop in Zugdidi, known for the Dadiani palace and surrounding botanical garden. The palace–a very elegant 19th century complex and an architectural treasure in its own right–is now a museum that houses archeological collections, medieval manuscripts, objects of religious importance (a vestment of Christ’s mother among them), and a death mask of Napoleon Bonaparte.
You will spend the night near Silver Lake and see Kutaisi in the morning. From
Kutaisi–the ancient capital of Colchis–Sataplia nature reserve is within easy reach. It is a unique complex of geological, paleontological, speleological and botanical interest, established in 1935. The main attractions of the reserve are a karst cavern,
Prometheus’ cave and dinosaur footprints in the limestone rock.
The ancient cave city of Uplistsikhe is also on our itinerary, and you will have an opportunity to see monuments included in UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites: Bagrati and Svetitskhoveli churches in Mtskheta. The tour starts and ends in Tbilisi.
Tbilisi – Vardzia – Akhaltsikhe – Lake Adigeni – Zarzma church – Goderdzi pass – Adjara – Batumi – Zugdidi – Lake Tobavarchkheli – Kutaisi – Uplistsikhe – Mtskheta – Tbilisi
Note: Price depends on type of accommodation.