Georgia‘s many cities have become popular with travellers recently – Svaneti, Tusheti, Mtskheta, cave towns, Tbilisi, Kutaisi, and Kakheti get dozens of tourists each day during the peak season. But there is more to the country beyond those destinations. Here are some hidden gems that you should add to your itinerary when visiting Georgia – and even the locals don’t know about some of these!
Chronicles of Georgia
Often called the ‘Georgian Stonehenge’, Chronicles of Georgia is a 30-metre high pillar in one of the districts of the capital, overlooking the Tbilisi Sea. It depicts Georgian kings, queens, heroes and biblical scenes. Created by the Georgian sculptor Zurab Tsereteli, the construction began in 1985 but is partially incomplete.
Sulphur Baths in Kiev Street
Every traveller knows about the sulphur bath district Abanotubani in the Old Town, but there are more places like it dotted throughout the capital just waiting to be discovered. One such sulphur bath is located close to a newly renovated pedestrian part of Aghmashenebeli Avenue.
Compared to the more popular baths, this one may seem in need of a bit of TLC, but it is much cheaper and if you are looking for a local, authentic experience, then this sulphur bath is ideal.
Underground Printing House
Another hidden gem of the city is Stalin’s underground printing house. Young Stalin and his colleagues built a publishing room 17 metres (56 feet) down a well – where no one would discover them. From here, the socialists spread Soviet propaganda across Europe during the years from 1903 to 1906 and printed almost 3,000 leaflets.
7 Kaspi Street, Tbilisi, Georgia, +995 579 40 87 36
National Parliamentary Library
National Parliamentary Library is home to a book museum, where you can look at some of the rarest books in the country. The museum is divided into four parts: rare books, The Knight in the Panther’s Skin (about the medieval Georgian epic poem written in the 12th century), a room dedicated to the Georgian writer and political figure Ilia Chavchavadze and Brosse depository. The museum is open every day from Monday to Friday from 10am to 6pm.
7 Lado Gudiashvili St, Tbilisi +995 322 97 16 40
Melouri Cave in Imereti
Georgia is home to five out of the 10 deepest caves in the world, which are located in the region of Abkhazia where the Soviet government focused its speleological research. However, a couple of years ago, another rarely explored cave was discovered in Imereti. Melouri cave has at least a depth of 15km and boasts two naturally formed canyons with beautiful waterfalls.
Bateti Lake in Shida Kartli
Surrounded by coniferous forests, the beautiful lake is worth seeing and it won’t be overrun with visitors either, so you can make the most of the quiet, peaceful surroundings. Located in Kareli Municipality, the area of the lake is only 0.02 square metres, while its depth is 12 metres (39 feet). Make sure to visit during spring or autumn, when nature is showing her most striking colours.
The Trinity of Chkhikvta
The word chkhikvta in English translates to the ‘village of jays’. Located in Tetritskaro, the village hides Trinity Hill with a fortress wall built with enormous boulders. The mystery is that such boulders are not seen anywhere close by or even in a distant vicinity – there’s no explanation as to how those giant stones appeared on top of the hill.
The Anatori Vaults are several square slate structures in Khevsureti, near the Chechnya border. The area is connected to mysterious legends and has some gruesome souvenirs – the vaults are filled with the bones of a long-disappeared village’s inhabitants. According to one of the stories, when a plague hit the village, it spread fast resulting in many ill people and lack of resources to cure them all. So those who felt ill decided to die in isolation in the vaults to avoid infecting other family members.