Day 1: Arrival in Tbilisi. Hotel accommodation.
Day 2: Tbilisi. During the Classical City Tour, you will retrace the history of Georgia from the Palaeolithic age up to our days in the State Museum of Georgia, then visit the Georgian Museum of Arts, with its unique collection of Georgian art: ancient icons, cloisonné enamel work, chased icons, processional crosses, etc. These visits over, you will be free to visit the Old City – we recommend you wander through the old streets of Tbilisi and slowly make your way to the Narikala fortress, which offers fantastic views over the entire city.
Day 3: Tbilisi - Mtskheta - Kazbegi. From Tbilisi you will be taken to Mtskheta, the ancient capital of eastern Georgia, and still an important cultural and religious centre in modern Georgia. The Svetitskhoveli cathedral (XIth century) is considered a masterpiece of the early Mediaeval period, and is one of the holiest and most sacred places in Georgia; the cathedral is supposed to be built upon the buried chiton or cloak of Jesus Christ, brought to Mtskheta by a witness to his crucifixion. The fine monastery of Jvari overlooks Mtskheta, and offers a fine view onto the town, situated at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers.
After visiting Mtskheta and its surroundings, you will be driven high up into the mountains to Kazbegi, the main town of the northern province of Khevi. En route, you will visit the beautiful fortress of Ananuri with its imposing XIIth century watch-tower, and whose walls enclose two XVIIth century churches, their exterior walls finely-decorated with many Christian and pagan motifs. Further on, overlooking the town of Kazbegi, is the beautiful XIVth century church of Gergeti. This church is best reached on foot – a pleasant hike of just under an hour – and its height offers fantastic mountain views onto snow-capped Mt Kazbegi (5,047m).
Day 4: Kazbegi - Gori - Kutaisi. Drive to Kutaisi, one of the oldest cities in the world, and centre of western Georgia. En route, you will visit the museum dedicated to Stalin, in his home town of Gori. The exhibits, such as his recreated study, childhood home, and personal railway carriage, will allow you to imagine scenes from the dictator's life. Uplistsikhe, the nearby "fortress of God" (1st millennium B.C.), is a very interesting complex of rock-cut halls, caves, altars, passages and streets, and includes the most ancient theatre in Georgia.
Day 5: Kutaisi - Vani - Tbilisi. Sightseeing in Kutaisi, the ancient capital of the land of Colchis. The Argonautica of Apollonius of Rhodes mentions the mythical land of Colchis, to which the Argonauts sailed in search of the Golden Fleece. Nearby, you will visit the church of Bagrati (Xth-XIth century.), a marvelous example of domed-church architecture of the high Medieval period, the monastery complex of Gelati (XIIth century), comprising a monastery, school, and church, and Vani, the remains of a VIth-Ist century BC town. Vani was one of the main towns of Colchis, and a Silk Road passed through the region. Return to Tbilisi.
Day 6: Tbilisi - Davit - Gareji - Telavi. Drive to Telavi through the fertile and hospitable province of Kakheti. En route you will visit the VIth century monastery complex of David-Gareja, which is situated in semi-desert surroundings. The complex consists of a dozen cave monasteries, hewn out of the rock over the centuries. Accommodation in Telavi will be in a private house.
Day 7: Telavi - Tbilisi. Sightseeing in Telavi, including visits to the Historical-Ethnographical museum and Art Gallery, followed by visits to the monastery of Alaverdi (XIth century) and the XIIth century Ikalto Academy, the largest centre of education in mediaeval Georgia. Visit in "Badagoni" wine factory, where you will have another opportunity to taste some Georgian wines. In Tsinandali you will visit cavernous XIXth century wine cellars set in a landscaped garden, Return to Tbilisi.
Day 8: Departure.
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