- People's Friendship Arch
- Georgian Petra
- Betlem cave
- Queen Tamar Bridge
- Colored lakes of Abudelauri
- Leaning tower in Tbilisi
Georgia is a charming country with hundreds of amazing places to visit while on vacation. It offers tourists medieval fortresses, ancient monasteries, green hills, majestic mountains, deep caves and rocky beaches. This is a state where history buffs, walking through the narrow streets of old towns and villages, will feel as if they were transported by a time machine a couple of centuries ago. And for those looking for something special, there are many strange, mysterious and beautiful sights. Unusual places in Georgia are both natural masterpieces and miracles created by human hands.
It is not difficult to search for non-standard tourist objects in Georgia. For some, excursions are organized, others are known only to locals, but they willingly share their knowledge about interesting places in their country with travelers.
While in other countries many attractions can be reached by public transport or by taxi, in Georgia it is sometimes more profitable to hire a car with a driver. It can be compared to a private tour without a guide. However, some locals who provide such services to visitors know more about the sights than any guide. They can also tell a lot of interesting information about everyday life in Georgia, about the culture and traditions of Georgians.
We offer you to see several unusual places in Georgia, which are recommended by the locals.
In the southern region of Georgia called Javakheti there is an amazing cave monastery, which began to be built in the XII century on the slope of Mount Erusheti. The soft tuff was ideal for creating man-made caves. In the rock, in a short period of time, about 600 rooms were created, which occupied 8 floors. It was possible to climb to different levels with the help of stairs carved into the rocks.
The entire monastery was inside the mountain. One could get outside through one of three underground passages. In the caves, temples were created, including the Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary with beautiful frescoes, cells for monks, utility rooms.
Vardzia was not only a holy abode, but also an outpost on the border with Muslim countries. At the end of the 12th century, Queen Tamara was hiding here from the Turkish army. The adversaries took Vardzia twice - in the 16th century it was destroyed by the Persians, and then by the Turks. At present, Vardzia is once again ruled by monks. Tourists are also allowed here.
How to get there: the cheapest way to get to Vardzia is by minibus from the city of Akhaltsikhe. In total, there are 4 flights a day to the cave monastery. The fare is about 7 lari. By car from Tbilisi to Akhaltsikhe, you can drive along the E60 highway, then turn onto the E691 road, which will lead to Aspindza. After this city, turn onto the road along the river. It is easy to get to Vardzia along it. If you are traveling with a large company, then it is more profitable to order a transfer to Vardzia. You and your friends will be delivered from Tbilisi to Vardzia for only 72 dollars.
People's Friendship Arch
There are many gazebos in the world built on steep cliffs, but such as the People's Friendship Arch on the Georgian Military Highway exists in a single copy.
It was built on a truly imperial scale in 1983 by the famous sculptor Zurab Tsereteli. On the arched stone floors in the form of an ideal semicircle, mosaic panels were installed, on which you can see scenes made in the style of naive art. The tiles depict heroes of fairy tales and legends, historical characters, astronauts.
Nowadays, the mosaic of the arch begins to crumble, the floor covering of the gazebo has cracked a long time ago and needs to be replaced, the railings are askew. Georgians say they are going to reconstruct the arch.
Numerous tourists who come to the People's Friendship Arch do not miss the opportunity:
- remember that the arch is first of all an observation deck, and only then a monument of the Soviet period. It was built on the Cross Pass at an altitude of 2384 meters. Below you can see the Aragvi river and the blue lake. The peaks of the Greater Caucasus can be seen right in front of the audience;
- get close to the edge of the cliff. To the right of the arch, there is a steep path that will lead to a stone above the abyss. Just below this rock there is another dangerous ledge that tourists like to climb for spectacular shots. It is necessary to descend from the arch along the rocks only in dry weather, since there is a high risk of falling down;
- buy souvenirs at the spontaneous market near the arch.
How to get there: during an excursion along the Georgian Military Highway, starting from Tbilisi, or by car with a driver. On your own, you can get to the arch by minibus in the direction of Tbilisi - Gudauri or Tbilisi - Kazbegi. Tourists will spend about 2 hours on the way. Tickets cost 8-11 GEL.
It turns out that Georgia has its own Petra. This is the same old dilapidated city as in Jordan, but surrounded by a number of concrete ceilings that run in steps. In Soviet times, they were built to grow lemons. Now they have long been abandoned and overgrown with climbing plants, which almost completely hid the artificial frame. It seems that the Georgian Petra stands on a hill with hanging gardens on the slopes.
Petra can rightfully be called a lost city. They don't write about her in tourist guides. You need to look for it on the Black Sea coast in the vicinity of the resort of Kobuleti.
In the past, Petra was a strategically important Byzantine port, which brought goods destined for Persia. It was founded in the 6th century by order of Emperor Justinian I. The city was constantly in the center of military conflicts. It was finally abandoned during the Russian-Turkish war.
In Petra you can see:
- green terraces overgrown with ivy and blackberries. You can walk along them, imagining yourself in some mysterious labyrinth;
- remains of a large ancient basilica on top of a hill. Some people put icons with lamps here;
- ruins of fortress walls, towers and thermal baths;
- an earthenware semicircular oven where cakes were made;
- a deep well is the most dangerous place in Petra. It is overgrown with grass and is not marked in any way. It is located near the central walkway;
- observation deck at the edge of the cliff.
How to get there: a minibus going from Batumi to Kobuleti, Ureki, Poti and back just passes Petra. You need to leave in 20 minutes. The ticket will cost 2 GEL. Ask the driver to stop near an abandoned city.
Mount Kazbek in the middle of the last century presented a surprise to its conquerors. One of the climbers who climbed Kazbek accidentally discovered an iron door on a steep wall at an altitude of 4100 meters above sea level, which should not be here. In 1948, an expedition was organized to this place. Behind the door, to which a massive chain was chained, a high-vaulted cave with a stone-paved floor was discovered. There was also a treasure in the cave.
The researchers concluded that they had found the legendary Betlem cave of Queen Tamara, where, according to legend, her loyal people hid countless treasures, fearing the army of Tamerlane. So that no one would know about the location of the cave, all the servants committed suicide, taking the secret of the treasures to the grave.
There were no jewelry items in the cave. Nevertheless, there were still historical artifacts in the rock formation. Here they found objects of religious worship: a throne, a cross, icons. In memory of this, divine services are sometimes held in Betlem Cave.
How to get there: at the foot of Kazbek there is the resort of Stepantsminda. The route to the Betlem cave begins from this village. You cannot get to the cave without good physical fitness and climbing equipment. You can get from Tbilisi to Stepantsminda by minibus for 15 GEL.
Queen Tamar Bridge
Another attraction associated with the name of the famous Georgian ruler is the bridge over the turbulent Ajaristskali River near Batumi.
Actually, there are many bridges named after Queen Tamara in Georgia, but this one is most remarkable due to its arched shape and the complete absence of railings. The bridge was built in the XII century during the reign of Tamara and by her order. It is raised 6 meters above the river. Its length is 29 meters, and its width is 2.5 meters.
In the old days, they were built for centuries. The stones for the crossing were not delivered from afar, but were found right there, in the vicinity of the river. They were fastened with a special solution, which was aged for 5 years before use. The bridge is so strong that it was able to survive many earthquakes and other disasters. At the same time, a load with a force of 8 tons can act on it.
Walking on a bridge without a railing is scary. Some daredevils not only walk along the bridge and take beautiful photos, but also jump down into the waters of Ajaristskali.
There is a small beach under the bridge. After a short walk from the bridge, you can go to the picturesque Makhuntseti waterfall 20 meters high.
How to get there: It is easier to go to the bridge of Queen Tamara and the Makhuntseti waterfall from Batumi. At the Batumi bus station, you should find a minibus heading to the village of Keda. A ticket to the bridge costs 1.5 GEL. Tourists will be on site 40 minutes after check-out.
Colored lakes of Abudelauri
Lovers of hiking in the Georgian mountains probably know about the picturesque route that starts in the village of Roshka and ends on Mount Juta. On the way, tourists can visit three alpine lakes with the common name Abudelauri. They are interesting because in each of these reservoirs the water has its own, special color. The uppermost lake - White - is located at an altitude of 2800 meters. It lies among gray stones on which nothing grows. White water reflects only the sky.
Slightly lower, at an altitude of 2600 meters, is the Blue Lake. The heavenly shade of its water is due to its high salt content. The lake is hiding among tall rhododendrons. In summer, when there is little water in the lake, an underwater ridge passing through the center of the reservoir is noticeable.
The first lake on the way of tourists coming from Roshka will be Zelenoe. The water in it has a normal color, but it seems green due to the abundance of juicy grasses growing close to the reservoir.
All three lakes of Abudelauri were formed during the period of melting glaciers. There is no fish in them. For 6-7 months a year, they are covered with a thick layer of ice.
How to get there: the high-mountainous village of Roshka is considered the starting point for a hike to the Abudelauri lakes. Tourists will have to travel 6 km to reach the lakes. It is best to go to Roshka from Tbilisi by car with a driver or by taxi, since public transport only goes to the village of Korsha, which is 5 km from the beginning of the serpentine to Roshka (the length of the serpentine is another 7 km). In this case, you will have to walk the rest of the route or ask some of the locals to take you. The road from Tbilisi to Roshka can be covered in 4 hours.
Leaning tower in Tbilisi
Tbilisi has its own "Leaning" tower, as if composed of variegated blocks and for reliability supported by a cast-iron beam extracted from the ruins of some bridge.
This tower - a remake, appeared in front of the famous Tbilisi puppet theater Rezo Gabriadze in 2010. The tower was assembled from building materials obtained from the site of decaying houses in the Old City of Tbilisi. Bricks that were made 300 years ago, old dials, pieces of columns from the times of the Byzantine Empire, beautiful tiles - what is there just not! The roof of the tower is decorated with live plants.
Once an hour, a small mechanized show takes place in the upper tier of the tower. The angel announces its beginning by striking the bell. The puppet show lasts only a few minutes, but whole excursion groups bring to watch it.
How to get there: The leaning tower can be found in the heart of the Old City at 13 Shavteli Street. It can be reached by public transport. First you need to take the metro to the Avlabari station on the Red Line, then change to bus # 46 or # 122 and go to the Konka stop, opposite the street. Baratashvili . From there, guided by the map, you can walk to the leaning tower in a few minutes.