A stay in Georgia without visiting its famous Mtskheta-Mtianeti region would be an unforgivable mistake, given the fact that the very ancient city of Mtskheta is a mere 20 km away from Tbilisi. IN order to understand what has to be seen first in this region, one must get to know it close.
General information about Mtskheta-Mtianeti
A large administrative region of Mtskheta-Mtianeti is located in the central part of the country and occupies the area of 6,786 sq. km. In the north it borders the Russian Chechnya and Ingushetia, in the south and east it borders the Georgian Kakheti and Shida Kartli.
It consists of five municipalities, and one of which, Akhalgori, is currently belongs to South Ossetia. The other four, Dusheti, Kazbegi, Mtskheta and Tianeti, according to the 2016 data are inhabited by more than 94 thousand people.
Of these, the vast national majority are Georgians (ethnic Kartlis, Kakhetians, Pshavs, Mohevs). The second in number are Ossetians who make up quite a portion of the population of Georgia.
What is the best time to visit Mtskheta-Mtianeti?
On can embark on a journey here in any season, because winters here are mild and dry. The resorts of Stepantsminda (Kazbegi Municipality Centre) located at the foot of the Mount Kazbek enjoy a stable winter snow allowing for mountaineering and mountain tourism.
Transparent healthy air and the local mineral springs, which even fill the swimming pools, are also available year-round. In summer, vacationers enjoy ride paragliding, horse riding, cycling and hiking to waterfalls, on the Georgian Military Highway. Relaxed pastime in the narrow streets of ancient cities, visiting ancient monasteries and fortresses, contemplation of the beautiful scenery of Mtskheta will be a comfortable experience from spring to mid-autumn.
In summer the air here warms up to pleasant temperatures of +25 ... + 30°C. At this time, one can go to a beautiful mountain lake of Bazaleti, which is only a few kilometers away from Dusheti, have a picnic in the Iori river valley, have a walk in Tianeti, pop into the famous Local history museum. All these are also popular resort sites.
Enthusiasts of excellent Georgian wines will at any time of the year enjoy tasting tours of the estate of Chateau Mukhrani located near Mtskheta. They will have an opportunity to appreciate the taste and purchase the wine from the cellars built in the XIX century.
What are the tourist attractions in Mtskheta-Mtianeti?
List attractions in the region is extremely vast, and is customized to any taste: from eco-tourism to the Orthodox pilgrimage. There are a great lot of Christian monuments in Mtskheta, a town that has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is an austere and majestic place, a XI century Orthodox Church decorated with stone carvings. It is known as the baptizing site of the first Christian king of Georgia.
The Jvari Cathedral is masterpiece of church architecture towering on the hill above Mtskheta, which has another name, the Monastery of the Cross", According to the legend, it was built on the site where St. Nino has erected the first Orthodox cross.
The Shio-Mgvime monastery is a complete temple complex of the buildings erected in the gorge ledges of Mtskheta neighborhoods. Until now, one can see the caves dug out on the hillside by the monks.
The Ananuri Fortress is the most visited tourist site on the shore of the Zhinvali water reservoir. It was built to protect and cover Dusheti residents in the case of their retreat to the mountains. The first tower was erected here in the XIII century, but all the structured have survived until now in a remarkably good condition.
All the sites of interest in Mtskheta-Mtianeti are within easy and convenient reach on good motor roads. Travelling these roads is not a tedious journey, given the delightful views from the bus or car window.
One can hardly find a person who remained indifferent, having visited this region at least once. The land filled with rich history, natural beauty and the kindness of its people invite to come here again and again!