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 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 where we can see one of the best samples of the early-medieval Georgian ecclesiastical art 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 11th century cathedral called “ Life-Giving Pillar” or Svetitskhoveli in old Georgian language. According to ancient legend, the first church (4th century AD) was built on the burial site of Christ’s robe.
We continue to drive to West Georgia via the Rikoti Pass which is said to be the borderline between Europe and Asia and head to the town of Kutaisi which 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 search of the Golden Fleece.
First, we make our way to the 12th century Gelati Academy-one of the country’s most treasured religious and cultural landmarks. Built by the famous king of Georgia, David the Builder, as great memorial of his victory over the Turks, the academy was one of the first institutions of higher education founded in the Middle Ages. This UNESCO World Heritage Site of Georgia is renowned for its Academy building and several churches with beautiful mosaics and rich frescos.
Overnight in at our hotel in Kutaisi.