Best Things to See and Do in Mtskheta-Mtianeti

Ananuri Fortress | © Stomac / WikiCommons
Ananuri Fortress | © Stomac / WikiCommons
Photo of Baia Dzagnidze
Writer22 February 2018

The Mtskheta-Mtianeti region of Georgia unites parts of the historical Kartli area and a considerable amount of the country’s eastern mountainous land. It’s a blend of different Georgian ethnographic cultures. Here, you can find unity between the fragments of the past and modern life, natural diversity, and traditions.

Visit the former capital and one of the oldest cities of Georgia

Mtskheta is like a city-museum that takes you back a millennia. It gathers historical facts from throughout the centuries.

The view of Mtskheta from Jvari Monastery | © Baia Dzagnidze

Admire Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, a monument of 11th-century Georgian architecture. Considered the fourth greatest cathedral in the country, Svetitskhoveli is notable for being the burial place of Christ’s mantle.

Svetitskhoveli Cathedral | © Levan Gokadze / Flickr

Afterwards, go to the Jvari Monastery, a 6th-century masterpiece built on the eastern side of Mtskheta. Enjoy the beautiful view of the ancient city and the confluence of two rivers.

Mtskheta, Georgia

Explore another major architectural fortress

Anannuri Fortress dates back to feudal times of the 16th-18th centuries, and is one of the most significant architectural examples of ancient Georgia. It unites religious, temporal and military monuments represented by the fortresses’ lower and upper parts. The upper part features the Church of Holy Godmother, Khevsurian tower, the Mkirnali Church, the Church of Deity, a water reservoir, a bell tower, and monks’ cells.

Ananuri Fortress, Georgia

Zhinvali Reservoir

Located just 70 km from Tbilisi, the Zhinvali Reservoir is a hydroelectric dam built on the Aragvi River. The dam supplies half of the Tbilisi population with drinking water, as its volume is 520 million cubic meters. Located between hills, the turquoise-colored water offers beautiful panoramic views both from Ananuri Fortress and the road.

Zhinvali reservoir Georgia | © Baia Dzagnidze

Zhinvali Reservoir, Georgia

Wander through the medieval castle town

Shatili is one of the most unique and brilliant examples of Georgian architecture. Built on a cliff, it has served both as home to locals and a fortress defending Georgian lowlands from ravaging tribes. Its strong stocky houses are built very close to each other, forming a chain that encloses the village. The houses are connected by staircases still preserved in several of them. It serves as a safe passage to other houses during the enemy invasions to communicate information without actually having to go outside.

Shatili, Khevsureti, Georgia

Take a picture of the postcard-like Gergeti Trinity Church

Map View
Holy Trinity Church in Gergeti
Holy Trinity Church in Gergeti | © Baia Dzagnidze
Gergeti, located at 2,200 meters above sea level, is right at the bottom of the Mount Kazbegi. It consists of a domed church, bell tower, and a council hall where elders held meetings in the Middle Ages. For many centuries, one of the greatest relics of Georgian Christians, the Cross of St. Nino, was preserved here.

Hike up to the last village of the Khevsureti region

The village Mutso is located in the gorge of the Ardoti River and protected the entrance to Khevsureti. Up to forty medieval walled houses still stand in this village, which is now depopulated and nearly abandoned.

Mutso village, Khevsureti, Georgia

Learn about Georgian history

Ilia Chavchavadze was a writer, poet, political figure and a publisher who led the restoration of the Georgian national campaign in the second half of the 19th century during Russian rule. Visit his house-museum in Saguramo and admire different memorial items, photos of famous public figures and learn about life at that time.

ilia chavchavadze house museum

Ilia Chavchavadze house museum in Saguramo | © Yasuhiro Kojima / WikiCommons

Ilia Chavchavadze museum, Saguramo, Georgia

Hike up to mountain lakes

Abudelauri is an icy lake located on the southern slope of the Tusheti-Khevsureti part of the Caucasus mountain range. There are green, blue and white lakes located within walking distance of each other. The best time to visit the lakes is in summer, when the water levels are high.

Blue lake of Abudelauri Lakes | @ Tai Dundua

Abudelauri Lakes, Khevsureti, Georgia

Visit one of the oldest shrines in the country

Lomisa St. George’s Church is one of the most important architectural monuments of Georgia. Built in the 9th-10th centuries, the name of the church is linked to the so-called Loma Bull of Pagan culture. In pre-Christian times, Lomisa used to be a Pagan temple dedicated to the moon. Later, when Christianity spread throughout the country, a Christian church was built on the spot.

Lomisa, Georgia

Eat Georgia’s national meal

It’s believed that Georgia’s famous meat dumpling, Khinkali, originated in this part of the country. Although it’s difficult to know for sure, you can still enjoy them here. Here, Khinkali is a bit different to what you’d eat in other parts of the country.

Khinkali | © Baia Dzagnidze

Trek one of the most beautiful place in the country

Truso Gorge, close to the northern border, is surrounded by snow-covered mountains. There are various villages in the area, but unfortunately, most are empty today. The gorge occupies the land between the Caucasus’ northern range (also known as the Truso Pass) to the village of Kobi. The lowest point here is 2,000 meters above sea level.

Truso Gorge, Georgia

Admire the Tushetian and Khevsurian architecture

Lebaiskari is a medieval Georgian site close to a village in Pirikiti Khevsureti, halfway to Shatili. The building is a five-floor tower that has movable wooden stairs to connect to the floors. The ground level used to hold cattle, while upstairs it has balcony-like protrusions on all sides. The last story comprises the tower’s pyramid-shaped tip that can be closed from the inside.

Shatili, Khevsureti, Georgia

Wander through a fortress on a mountain

Ksani Fortress, located near the confluence of the Ksani and Mtkvari Rivers, once controlled a very important, strategic crossroads. The fortress stands on Sarkineti Mountain, near Tsikhisdziri village. Built in 1511-14, the fortress is half-ruined but still preserves its glory.

Ksani Fortress, Georgia