The capital of Georgia has long been a cultural and political center of the Caucasus. This city counts about 1,600 years since its foundation. Tbilisi’s walls have seen Khazars, Huns, Byzantines, Persians, Mongols, Arabs, Seljuks and Ottomans. Representatives of many nations, of various faiths and civilizations settled in this point of intersection of trade routes, leaving their mark in the image, manners and customs of Tbilisi. Thus was how the unique multicultural character of this city, based on the principles of tolerance and good neighborliness, was created. We will start to perceive this from the historical center.
Abanotubani is a district of sulfur baths. They are built on thermal springs, to which Tbilisi owes its existence. You will learn about the history of the city, hear the legend of the pheasant and King Vakhtang Gorgasali, then climb to the Narikala Citadel. A view from the walls of the ancient fortress offers a splendid panorama of the gorge of the River Mtkvari and picturesque spurs of the Trialeti range, among which Tbilisi is stretched. Then we move to the other side and visit Metekhi – the beautiful church of the XIII century built on a cliff. Here you can take great photos of the Old Town and hear the story of the patron saints of Tbilisi who became martyrs under the walls of this church.
Having crossed the bridge , we will find ourselves on a street named after French traveler Jean Chardin. You will pass by picturesque narrow streets and see the Sioni Cathedral, which was built by one of the greatest kings of Georgia, David the Builder in the beginning of the XII century. From here alleys of the Old Town lead us to Anchiskhati Basilica – the oldest buildingin Tbilisi, which dates back to the VI century and where one of the most esteemed Georgian sacred relic was kept. You will have an opportunity to examine this miraculous icon in precious setting a little later, when viewing the treasures of the Golden Fund and other exhibits of the Museum of Art of Georgia.
Next we have to take a short drive to visit the town of Mtskheta, which was the capital of Georgia before establishment of Tbilisi. Mtskheta is approximately 2,500 years-old and because of the abundance of ancient monuments – which are included in the UNESCO Heritage List – the town is sometimes called Georgian Jerusalem. Here you will see one of the masterpieces of world architecture – Jvari Church built in the end of VI century. The church harmoniously blends into the landscape and still amazes visitors with its perfect architectural forms. From here the beautiful panorama of Mtskheta, which lies between the peaks and the confluence of two rivers opens before our eyes.
Descending from Djvari you will walk through the picturesque streets of old Mtskheta, past shops with souvenirs and local crafts. Our goal lies ahead – majestic cathedral of XI century – Svetitskhoveli. It is the spiritual symbol of Georgia, under which the tunic of Jesus Christ was buried – a piece of clothing, in which the Saviour was clothed at the time of the crucifixion. Here you will hear the legend of Saint Sidonia and the Holy and Life-Giving Pillar, see graves of kings and ancient frescoes, here you will be able to touch the sacred relics of Georgia. This completes the tour of this day. It is time to return to Tbilisi.