Mtskheta was the old capital and political center of the Kingdom of Kartli (IV c. BC – VI c. AD). In the beginning of VI c. when the capital moved to Tbilisi, Mtskheta retained the function of the seat of Kartli Church and from XI century – the spiritual center of the whole Georgia. Until 1811 here was situated the seat of the Head of Georgian Church – the residence of the Georgian Partiarch. Mtskheta is rich with both archeological, antique and Christian era historical memorials. Among them it is worth mentioning Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is listed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Svetitskhoveli was the leading cathedral of Georgia in the ancient time. It was built in 11th century. It is a grandiose cathedral of cross-dome design, known as the burial site of Christ’s mantle. Here in Mtskheta you can buy the Georgian souvenirs, Georgian sweets called Churchkhela and of course Georgian wine.
Stepantsminda or Kazbegi is the best place for people who loves mountains. You can stay at 5* hotel and wake up with stunning views every day. If you are outdoorsy person and love hiking then you can go further and climb to the top of the Mount Kazbek which is one of the highest peak not only in Georgia but in Europe. Its elevation is 5054 meters MSL. There are so many attractions around Stepantsminda. You can see Beautiful Gergeti Trinity church which is looking down to Stepantsminda from the mountain. You can get there by car or even by walking as it’s very close to the center of Stepantsminda. If you go little bit further, you can see Gveleti waterfall which has fantastic nature. Also Dariali Gorge is super beautiful and you can see Dariali Monastery there. Stepantsminda is also very close to the most visited destinations like Juta and Truso valley.
Although it’s worth to say, that Bakuriani is a summer resort as well. As Bakuriani is surrounded with coniferous forest and is very good for health, especially for children.
Ananuri fortress is one of the hundreds of Georgian medieval castles. Ananuri is found in the same-name village on the Georgian Military Road, 64 km from Tbilisi, and 12 km from Zhinvali. In the XVI – early XIX centuries, Ananuri was the main stronghold on the way from Darial Valley to Dusheti and from Russia to Georgia. In course of time, the fortress lost its importance and fell to desolation. Today it is one of the main points of tourist routes in Georgia. Below the castle there survived an old road and old bridge, which regularly flooded by water from the reservoir. Other interesting medieval ruins can be also found there.
Nearby Mtskheta on the mountain stands Jvari monastery which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name of the cathedral is related to high wooden cross which was erected on this place by king Mirian. In the second half of VI century the sovereign of Kartly Guaram built a small church beside the cross. This small house of worship is called today Small Jvari Church. On the brink of VI-VII cc. the son of Guaram – sovereign Stepanoz I (586-605) built a big cathedral beside the small one which capped the wooden cross (the abutment of the cross has been preserved until today). After Bolnisi Sioni Jvari cathedral represents a new stage in the development of architectural art. 3 bas-relief images of individuals who masterminded and paid for construction of the church are placed on the eastern façade: in the middle, sovereign Stepanoz genuflecting before Christ; on the left – his brother Demetre with protector angel, on the right – heir apparent of Stepanoz, Adarnase (above him is depicted an angel with widely spread wings and a right hand stretched forward); in front of Adarnase is a child on the knees – his son. All three bas-reliefs have Asomtavruli inscriptions containing names and titles of builders.