21 Jan Bakuriani Varzia & Borjomi Tour – Georgia – 7 Nights
Day 1: Tbilisi
Upon arrival at Tbilisi you will be met by our local representative and transferred to your hotel. After check in & a short break enjoy a city tour of Tbilisi. Visit the Georgian Art Museum which houses the best-known samples of Georgian artwork. Different collections of the Museum preserve approximately sixty thousand objects. The Museum is distinguished for its Georgian goldsmith pieces dated back to the VIII-XIX Centuries. The most significant exhibits are the icon of Zarzma Monastery, the Chalice of Bedia, Anchistkhati and Khakhuli Triptychs, Processional Liturgical Crosses & more.
Visit the old part of Tbilisi; the 4th century Narikala Fortress, an ancient citadel on a steep hill overlooking the city; Metekhi Church (13th c.) – the grave of St. Shushanik the Christian martyr which is within the church. Sioni – the cathedral of the 6th-7th cc; sulphur baths – a favorite place of Tbilisi citizens and foreign guests. Enjoy an optional sulphur bath with a massage. Overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 2: Tbilisi – Mtskheta – Gori – Uplistsikhe – Bakuriani
After breakfast start your tour to the regions of Georgia. Mtskheta was the capital of the Georgian kingdom of Iberia during the 4th century BC – 5th century AD. Here Georgians accepted Christianity and the town still remains the center of the Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church. Visit to Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (XI c.) – the largest ecclesiastical construction extant in the country; Jvari Monastery (VI c) – a symbol of Mtskheta.
Visit Gori which is Stalin’s native city to visit the Stalin Museum. The museum has three sections, all located in the town’s central square. It was officially dedicated to Stalin in 1957. With the downfall of the Soviet Union and independence movement of Georgia, the museum closed in 1989, but has since been reopened, and is a popular tourist attraction.
On our way to Bakuriani, we will stop in Uplistsikhe, it is the cave town which is situated 7km (4.3 miles) southeast of Gori on the left bank of river Mtkvari and still amazes the visitors by its dimensions, extraordinary position, refined forms and the beauty of decors. You will find huge echoing halls, long meandering corridoreets, chambers for pagan worship and even the remains of Georgia’s oldest theatre; and will be impressed by the skill, knowledge, experience and physical and spiritual power of all those who created this unique monument.
We will then drive to Bakuriani which is a popular winter and summer resort in the Borjomi district located on the northern slope of the Trialeti Range at 1 700m above the sea level. The region is covered by coniferous forests. Upon arrival, check in to your hotel and you will be given your room key. Overnight in Bakuriani.
Day 3: Bakuriani – Varzia – Borjomi – Bakuriani
After breakfast visit Vardzia which is a cave monastery founded by Queen Tamar in 1185. The monastery was constructed as protection from the Mongols and consisted of over six thousand apartments in a thirteen story complex. The city included a church, a throne room, and a complex irrigation system watering terraced farmlands. We will also visit Khertvisi fortress which is one of the oldest fortresses in Georgia and was functional throughout the Georgian feudal period. It was first built in the 2nd century BC.
On our way back to Bakuriani, we will stop in Borjomi to visit Kharagauli National Park. It is a protected area in central Georgia & is one of the largest national parks in Europe which includes six administrative districts stretching from the resort of Borjomi to the town of Kharagauli. Its particular uniqueness is diversity of geographical and ecological zones, landscapes, historical monuments and rich flora and fauna. The park has rapidly developing tourist infrastructure. Overnight in Bakuriani.
Day 4: Bakuriani – Gudauri
After breakfast drive through the Georgian Military Highway by crossing the Main Caucasian Range at Jvari Pass (2395m) towards Gudauri. On our way to Gudauri we will stop at Ananuri Fortress. Ananuri is located in the valley of the river Aragvi (north Tbilisi), along the Georgian Military Highway, is a typical feudal fortress complex dating from the 16th and 17th centuries.
Arrive in Gudauri which is located on the southern slopes of The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range in Georgia. Check in to your hotel. Overnight in Gudauri.
Day 5: Gudauri – Kazbegi – Tbilisi
After breakfast travel back to Tbilisi via Kazbegi. Enjoy a 1.30 hour trekking in Kazbegi up the Gergeti Sameba (Trynity) Church & enjoy a pleasant view of Mount Kazbeg. For those who don’t wish to trek there will be a 4X4 car to drive up the hill.
Upon arrival in Tbilisi transfer & check in to your hotel. The rest of the evening is at leisure. Overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 6: Tbilisi – David Gareja – Signagi
After breakfast visit David Gareja Monastery, the cave town complex (the cradle of Georgian Christian activity of early and medieval period), where monks live and work. It is situated deep in semi-desert about 75 km south-east of Tbilisi. The Monasteries were founded in the 6th century by the Christian Father St. David. Walk up to Udabno to explore some of the fine frescos of the 8th-13th c. and cave architecture. The complex includes hundreds of cells, churches, chapels, refectories and living quarters hollowed out of the rock face. The area is also home to protected animal species and evidence of some of the oldest human habitations in the region.
Then we will head to visit Ikalto Academy (XII – XIII cc) and Tsinandali. A visit to Chavchvadze’s Palace, the residence of the poet and public figure, Kakhetian prince of the 18th c.
Afterwards, we will depart for Signagi. It is one of the country’s smallest towns with a population of 2,146 as of the 2002 census. The town is known for its landscapes and historical monuments. Sighnaghi has recently undergone a fundamental reconstruction program and has become an important centre of Georgia’s tourist industry. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight in Signagi.
Day 7: Signagi – Tbilisi
After breakfast drive back to Tbilisi. Visit Tbilisi Open Air Museum which exposes 14 ethnographic zones. Each of them presents the particular historic-ethnographic area of Georgia. Together with the architectural monuments the museum exposes ethnographic materials – different kinds of tools, textile and ceramics. The museum also exposes the V-VI c. basilica of Sioni, as well as a rich collection of the gravestones in relief. The rest of the day is free at leisure. Overnight in Tbilisi.
Day 8: Tbilisi – Departure
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your international flight back home.