Day 3: Tbilisi-Dzalisi Archaeological sites-Mtsketa – Stepantsminda (160 km)

Today we will leave the capital of Georgia to visit the spiritual heart of Georgia- at Mtskheta- the first capital of Georgian empire from the 3rdcentury BC to the 5thcentury 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 Svetitskhoveli – a 11th century building which means  literally “Life-Giving Pillar”. According to ancient legend, the first church (4th century AD) was built on the burial site of Christ’s robe.

Afterwards, we continue our trip to the Mukhrani valley to visit the Pagan temple-town of Dzalisi (3rd century BC) where archaeologists have unearthed the remains of several palaces, hypo-caustic baths, a swimming-pool, an acropolis, barracks for soldiers, an atrium as well as the oldest  floor mosaics found in the Caucasus depicting Ariadne and Dionysus in a banquet scene.

Our afternoon drive along Georgia’s famous Military highway takes us to the Great Caucasus Mountains. En-route we visit Ananuri Architectural Complex overlooking a man-made lake.

In the evening we reach the town of Stepantsminda and check in a hotel.

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