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Mtskheta & Uplistskhe

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Mtskheta is one of the oldest cities of Georgia and its former capital. It is located approximately 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of Tbilisi at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers. Mtskheta has been Georgia’s spiritual heart since Christianity was established here in about 327, and holds a near-mystical significance in Georgian culture. Due to its historical significance and several cultural monuments, the «Historical Monuments of Mtskheta» became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. As the birthplace and one of the most vibrant centers of Christianity in Georgia, Mtskheta was declared as the «Holy City» by the Georgian Orthodox Church in 2014.

Uplistsikhe (literally, «the lord’s fortress») is an ancient rock-hewn town in eastern Georgia, some 10 kilometers east of the town of Gori.

Built on a high rocky left bank of the Mtkvari River, it contains various structures dating from the Early Iron Age to the Late Middle Ages, and is notable for the unique combination of various styles of rock-cut cultures from Anatolia and Iran, as well as the co-existence of pagan and Christian architecture.

Svetitskhoveli Cathedral

Arguably the most well known cathedral in Georgia, Svetitskhoveli is also one of the biggest in the country. This Georgian architectural wonder dating back to the XI century has served as the religious center of the country for hundreds of years. The complex includes the church, a gate, a bell tower, castles, and clerical residences. Harsh conditions throughout Georgia’s history couldn’t stop the 10-century old building from retaining its beauty. Svetitskhoveli was the religious center for all Christians for many centuries. Further proving its importance to Christianity, there is a legend that a seamless robe of Jesus Christ is buried within the temple. Another legend states that King Giorgi ordered the hand of amputated Svetitskhoveli’s architect, so that he could never recreate something so beautiful ever again. There is still a hand depicted on the Northern facade of the building.  The tombs of Tbilisi’s founder, King Vakhtang Gorgasali is also inside the building. The cathedral is included on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is still the setting for important ceremonies of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Small fragments of paintings which date back to the 11th century let you live through the lives of ancient Georgia, leaving you amazed and stunned. Even though Georgia is packed with many astonishing churches and cathedrals, Svetitskhoveli is a must-see for any tourist visiting the country.

Jvari monastery

The VI century Georgian Orthodox monastery is  a rare case of the Early Medieval Georgian church that survived to the present day almost unchanged. The church is included on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. “Jvari monastery” is translated as “The Monastery of the Cross”and it is  in the shape of a cross. It is located on a mountaintop with a great view of the meeting between the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers as well as the entire city of Mtkskheta. . Jvari is the perfect place for those looking to travel back in time and enjoy the architecture of the Middle Ages. Note that the place is windy throughout the entire year, so be prepared.

Uplistsikhe

Archaeologists have unearthed numerous temples and findings relating to a sun goddess, worshipped prior to the arrival of Christianity. When Christianity arrived in Georgia, the city lost importance in favor of the new centers of Christian culture, most notably Mtskheta and Tbilisi. Nevertheless, life continued in Uplistsikhe, Christian structures have been built, and for a short time, Christianity and the old faith coexisted in the city.

The cave town can be divided into a lower, a central and an upper area, covering an area of almost 40,000 square meters. The central area, which contains most of the rock-cut structures, is connected to the lower area by narrow tunnel. Most of the rock-cut structures are without any decorative elements, aside from some of the larger structures, which contain some stone carvings.

At the top of the complex is a Christian stone basilica, dating from the 10th century. The rock-cut structures include a large hall, called Tamaris Darbazi, pagan places of sacrifice, dwellings, as well as functional buildings, like a pharmacy, a bakery, a prison, and even an amphitheater. The rock-cut structures are connected by tunnels, while other tunnels had the purpose of an emergency escape route.

Uplistsikhe is remarkable for the unique combination of styles from rock-cut cultures of the region, most notably from Cappadocia (in modern Turkey) and Northern Iran. Most of the unearthed artifacts can be seen at the National Museum in Tbilisi.

The Uplistsikhe cave complex has been on the tentative list for inclusion into the UNESCO World Heritage program since 2007.

1 - 2 Person

Sedan
$100

Full price

3 - 4 Person

Minivan
$105

Full price

5 - 7 Person

Minivan
$115

Full price

8 - 10 Person

Sprinter
$160

Full price

11 - 20 Person

Sprinter
$190

Full price

21 - 32 Person

Small Bus

Full price 

33 - 42 Person

Bus

Full price 

43 - 52 Person

Bus

Full price 

Tour Guide prices :

Tour guide service is optional

Group Prices
Group of 1 - 10 people
55$
Group of 11 - 20 people
70$
Group of 21 - 32 people
100$
Group of 32 - 42 people
120$
Group of 43 - 52 people
130$

Additional information :

  • Distance from Tbilisi km
  • Duration - hours
  • Entrance tickets -
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