Georgia – The Land of the Golden Fleece. Although the area of the country is slightly smaller than Bavaria, Georgia offers a great diversity: wide green mountain landscapes, salt lakes and steppes, cave monasteries and wine-growing areas, modern, old-fashioned and Soviet-influenced cities. The country on the Black Sea between Europe and Asia offers culture vacationers, hikers and those eager to explore a wide range of possibilities. According to COUNTRYAAH, Georgia is one of the 11 countries that start with letter G.
In the following we present our TOP 10 sights for Georgia. These are not necessarily the most famous places or the most visited attractions. Aside from these highlights, Georgia has many other places worth seeing.
10TH PLACE: KAZBEGI
Attention hikers: the region and the place Kazbegi (today officially Stepantsminda) near the Russian border invites you to hike to the third highest mountain in Georgia – Kazbek. The mountain is part of the Greater Caucasus, is 5,047 meters high and has a white snow cap all year round. Moderate hikes with beautiful views are possible at an altitude of a good 2,000 meters. At an altitude of 2,170 meters there is the Zminda Sameba Church (also known as Gergetier Trinity Church), a place of pilgrimage that can be easily reached from the village of Kazbegi.
9TH PLACE: GORI
The city of Gori is located in the middle of the fertile lowlands in the Inner Kartlien region in central Georgia. The nearby historic Georgian Military Road, which leads directly to Tbilisi and stretches a total of 213 kilometers across the Caucasus, played a decisive role in many military conflicts over the past centuries. In addition, the cave village of Uplistsikhe, which was an important trading post on the Silk Road, is in the immediate vicinity.
The city is also known for its most famous son: Iosseb Jughashvili – better known as Joseph Stalin. A museum was built on the site of the house where he was born, paying homage to the son of Georgia and later dictator of Russia with propaganda features.
8TH PLACE: ANANURI FORTRESS
The fortress is also located on the Georgian Military Road, directly on the Shinwali reservoir. It offers a nice place for first-class vacation photos. The lake shimmers turquoise blue in the sunshine, the fortification from the 13th century with the two churches inside rises splendidly. The walls of the well-preserved castle complex are made of natural stone and have a semicircular rounding. In summer, the adjacent reservoir is also used for swimming.
7TH PLACE: KAKHETI WINE REGION
Georgia does not have to hide behind the classic wine producers Italy, Germany and Spain, because it is even one of the countries of origin of wine-growing. The moderate, but sun-intensive climate is ideal for the tasty, light and fruity wine.
The Kakheti region is the main growing area of Georgian wine. That is why there are small, rustic wine cellars in almost every corner of the region that invite you to take a tasting. Sighnaghi, despite its small size one of the most important places in Kakheti, offers additional attractions for the region: the Bodbe nunnery, the beautiful picturesque old town, the museum of history and ethnography, as well as a viewpoint from which you can look into the wonderful distance.
6TH PLACE: BATUMI
The city on the Black Sea attracts its visitors with its contrasts of modern high-rise buildings, historical buildings and Soviet buildings. The third largest city in the country and also the main port of Georgia is only 18 kilometers from the Turkish border.
Another highlight of the city is the over 100 hectare botanical garden. Here you can not only explore countless species of trees and plants, but also get a wonderful view over the Bay of Batumi.
5TH PLACE: ABANOTUBANI
It is a centuries-old tradition and it has been practiced for over 700 years: the use of sulfur baths. The name Tbilisi translates as “warm spring” in the Georgian language, as there is a 45 ° C hot spring under the earth that contains carbonic acid and sulfur. Abanotubani is the neighborhood where most of the bathhouses are located in Tbilisi. You can recognize the sulfur bathhouses by the tiled domes on the roofs that can be walked on. A bath in the warm and carbonated sulfur water includes a massage on the stone slabs. The entire procedure is said to be beneficial for some skin and bone complaints, as well as for neurological disorders.
4TH PLACE: KUTAISI
The second largest city in Georgia is located in the west of the country and is home to the Golden Fleece. The Georgian parliament also meets here in the city.
Famous sights of Kutaisi are the Bagrati Cathedral from the 11th century and the Gelati monastery complex from the 12th century. Both structures are among the most important structures in Georgia. The Bagrati Cathedral is the city’s landmark, while the Gelati monastery complex is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the wider area of Kutaisi there are some stalactite caves that are open for sightseeing.
3RD PLACE: CAVE CITY VARDSIA
If you look from the valley at the 500 meter high rock face of Mount Erusheti, it seems insurmountable. The Georgian King Giorgi III probably had this too. thought in the 12th century when he chose this place for the border town of Vardsia to fend off attacks by Turks and Persians.
The peculiarity is that the people of this city did not live in houses, but in caves carved out of the rock. A huge 7-storey complex of tunnels, apartments, galleries, stables and even a library and a church with a total of space for 50,000 people runs through the interior of the mountain. Today some of the preserved apartments can still be visited. Particularly worth seeing is the monastery church of the Assumption of Mary, carved into the mountain, with its impressive colored frescoes on the wall and an imposing columned portal.
2ND PLACE: MTSKHETA
Just 25 kilometers north of the center of Tbilisi is the small city of Mtskheta, which is over 3,000 years old. It is the former capital of the country and is considered the religious center of Georgia. But Mtskheta was also known beyond the country’s borders as an economic hub during the times of the Silk Road.
Many of the sights are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and testify to a great time. The Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, which is said to house a robe of Christ, is particularly worth seeing. When you are in Mtskheta, a detour to the Jvari Monastery is a must. From up here you have a fantastic view over Mtskheta and the Aragwa River.
1ST PLACE: DAVID GAREJA
Directly on the border with Azerbaijan, on Mount Udabno, lies the oldest monastery in Georgia – the Lavra Monastery of David Gareja. In contrast to the landscape of the Caucasus Mountains and the regions close to the city, one finds an impressive barren steppe landscape with dried salt lakes.
The monastery is a monument carved into the mountain. There are also several small residential units and cave paintings. You can take a short hike from the David Gareja cave monastery up to the Udabno monastery, which is also part of the monastery complex of former 13 monasteries. Here you can find various frescoes and has an incomparable view over the vastness of Azerbaijan.