We will leave the capital of Georgia to visit the spiritual heart of Georgia – at Mtskheta – the first capital of Georgian empire from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD. First we drive up to the mountains to visit one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Mtskheta – 6th century Jvari (Holy Cross) monastery and enjoy the spectacular views of Mtskheta and the confluence of the two rivers below.
Then, we drive down to the town dominated by the impressive cathedral called “Life-Giving Pillar” or Svetitskhoveli in Old Georgian. According to ancient legend, the first church (4th century AD) was built on the burial site of Christ’s robe. As the church was being constructed, a wooden pillar rose into the air and a miraculous chrism started to flow from it, healing all the diseases which gave its name to the church.
We continue to drive to West Georgia via Tikoti Pass which is said to be the borderline between Europe and Asia and make our first stop at 9th c. Ubisa church of St. George. The church houses a unique circle of murals painted by local artist – Damiane in the late 14th century which can rival the finest frescos in other Byzantine churches.
Later, we arrive in the town of Kutaisi-one of the oldest towns of Europe and current seat of the parliament of Georgia. Kutaisi is believed to have been the capital of the Dazzling Empire of the sun -Colchis around 3000 years ago where ,according to Apollonius of Rhodes and Euripides, a group of the Greek heroes led by Jason arrived in in search of the Golden Fleece.
We overnight in a family hotel in Kutaisi