TripPlanner - Mtskheta-Mtianeti (part 2)

Mtskheta-Mtianeti (part 2)

6 August, 2018

Do you know that the famous mountain of Kazbegi is actually an extinct volcano? The last time it erupted a long time ago - in 650 BC. And today snow lies on its tops even in the summer. In good, clear weather, Kazbeg is visible from the viewing platform in Jvari (remember, the monastery about which M.Yu. Ler­montov wrote in the poem “Mtsyri“) and it seems that up to the famous 5000-meter mount hand to give. In fact, the distance here is decent - somewhere 140 km. By the way, Kazbegi is not the highest mountain in Georgia. The first place is held by Mount Shkhara (5193 m) in Svaneti. Kazbegi is on the honorable second place with a height of 5033.8 m. But in everything else it is the leader: the most famous mountain, the most attractive for tourists, with a well-developed infrastructure, where it is easy to get from both Tbilisi and Russia. And Kazbegi is literally strewn with various sights, chapels and monasteries. There is even an abandoned meteorological station, which the climbers have adapted to the parking lot.

The main attraction of Kazbegi is the Trinity Church of the 14th century in Gergeti. It stands directly above the village of Stepantsminda, from which all the ascent to Kazbegi starts, at an altitude of 2170 m. The most impressive photo that can be made here is a medieval church in the background of the glaciers of Kazbegi. Fascinating! Remember that you can not go to Gergeti  without SUV. There is only one way to do this: rent a special jeep.

If we go from Kazbegi along the Military-Georgian road to Tbilisi, then on the way we will certainly meet the cheerful ski resort of Gudauri. In summer, it is as crowded and fun as it is in winter. Especially for the weekend, when residents of the capital, tired of the summer heat, come here to breathe the cool air.

Further, the road leads us to the Ananuri fortress - the medieval castle, which was the most well preserved in Georgia. They say that its construction began in the XIII century, then it was constantly expanded and completed. The castle stands in line for being included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. But until now, even the usual restoration was not carried out. Everything is open, there are no restrictions. But be careful, the walls and towers have long been in need of repair.

Very close to Ananuri is Zhinvali water reservoir, which feeds Tbilisi water, and Zhinvali HPS - with el­e­c­tri­city. This is a practical benefit. But there is also the aesthetic aspect of the issue: the water in the re­s­er­voir has a very beautiful turquoise shade that successfully shades the green peaks of the surrounding moun­tains. By the way, the dam on the Aragvi River, which created this beauty, was built relatively recently - in 1985.

And in the region of Mtskheta-Mtianeti there are two very picturesque and famous villages, each of which is worthy of a separate story. This is Shatili and Mutso. They are on the very border with Russia. Shatili is in the deep Argun gorge, after 2 km is the territory of Chechnya. Because of the unsuccessful neigh­bor­hood with the aggressive Chechen tribes, the villagers had to build fortifications. They began to build towers, similar to those built in Svaneti, but seem to be carried away. As a result, a whole fortress has grown, which no one has managed to conquer. Therefore, to the present day, it has reached its integrity and safety. In Mutso is about the same complex, only less, more abandoned and not as famous as in Sha­tili. By the way, Shatili is very fond of Georgian poets and artists, here the action of one of Vazha Psha­vela‘s poems unfolds. According to the plot of this poem, even a film was filmed, which was shot here. Why build scenery, when everything is so well preserved!

Another literally a few words about Mtskheta-Mtianeti. If you research and are interested in winemaking, this region is also very important and interesting. Here is the famous Mukhrani Valley and the wine-making company Chateau-Mukhran, which is the only white wine in Georgia that makes Guruli mtsvane. And the company itself is located in the mansion of the XIX century, which once belonged to the princes of Bagration-Mukhran. Tastings and excursions are held here. So, do not miss this place!

Well, we are going to explore Georgia further. Ahead of us is a trip to Imereti and an acquaintance with the famous temples and caves.

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