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Martin Malik

My name is Martin and this is my story. I travel because it is fun and a great way to continue self-education which enriches the worldview and opens my eyes to unnoticeable things, both in the distant countries and the closest ones. Let's get to know other cultures but let's also respect and defend our own.


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Whilst travelling from the Christian remains of Constantinople and the ancient sands of Persia, through the Himalayas, the Great Wall of China and the dense jungles of Borneo, I realized that the world must have its order. Therefore despite my beautiful adventures and experiences I always remembered which culture I myself belonged to, and I also appreciated the beauty and values of our beautiful - White Christian civilization.

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Expedition to Georgia 2013

By: Martin Malik
All travel reports are translated electronically although minor improvements are sometimes made.

Expedition to Georgia 2013


Tour of the expe­di­tion: Ku­ta­isi (Ba­gra­ti, Ge­la­ti, Mo­sta­me­ta, Pro­me­theus cave), Me­stia (Lake Ku­rul­di, Cha­la­ti gla­cier), Ko­bu­le­ti, Ba­tu­mi, Gonio for­tress, great trans­port ad­ven­tu­re from Ko­bu­le­ti to Akalt­si­khe (Var­dzia, Sapar mo­na­ste­ry), Tbi­li­si, Mtskhe­ta, Gori, Upli­st­si­khe , Ana­nu­ri, Davit Ga­re­ja, Tbi­li­si, Ru­sta­vi, Gar­da­ba­ni, Ka­zbe­gi, Sinh­na­ghi , Tsari, La­go­de­khi (bor­der with Azer­ba­ijan).

Mar­neu­li (on the way from Azer­ba­ijan to Ar­me­nia).

The border with Georgia

The border at Kutaisi Airport went very quickly and smoothly.

Bagrati Cathedral. Kutaisi, Georgia.

Bagrati Cathedral. Kutaisi, Georgia.

Transportation from the airport to the center of Kutaisi

Busi for 5 lari to the center although the driver tried to stretch the tourists for more.


Kutaisi is the second largest city in Georgia and for many visitors it is often the first contact with this country due to low cost airlines. However, when compared to the capital of Tbilisi, Kutaisi is a very small, attractive city, offering a fascinating history and picturesque views of the Bagrati Cathedral. As a city of first contact, I think Kutaisi is a perfect place to meet Georgian culture, with nice people, good hinkali stuffs, cheese and a few monasteries. For hikers, Kutaisi is only a base for nearby monastries, such as Gelati, although I assure you that the rush in the Kutaisi case is extremely detrimental. In addition, Kutaisi is the second largest city in Georgia, which has been recorded in history as the capital of various kingdoms.

When I left the bus, I tho­ught I was going to have a lo­ne­ly trip, but this time it was dif­fe­rent. Im­me­dia­te­ly after I lo­oked away from the be­au­ti­ful girl wal­king thro­ugh the city cen­ter, I no­ti­ced that Kamil was on the curb, my tra­vel com­pa­nion with whom I had tra­ve­led most of Geo­r­gia. From the main squ­are of Davit Agh­ma­she­ne­blis mo­eda­ni we went up the road to the ne­arest and unmo­le­sted, also the che­apest ho­stel in the city. At the house co­ve­red with gra­pes we stay­ed in a dorm room for only 15 lari per night.

The springs se­emed to be he­avi­ly worn out be­cau­se I fell half a meter but it did not mat­ter at that time.The fli­ght from War­saw was ti­ring be­cau­se I had to get up at 4am. After the ho­use­ke­eper’s nap, she gave us wa­ter­me­lon and the gra­pes we had in abun­dan­ce as they grew over us. It was clear that the stre­et where I lived was not a re­sort, but an old and tired row of ho­uses with pe­ople put­ting down the gas bill.

Georgia produces very good cheeses and many kinds of bread. Food in Georgia is very good, so traveling around Georgia is also a culinary adventure.

Georgia produces very good cheeses and many kinds of bread. Food in Georgia is very good, so traveling around Georgia is also a culinary adventure.

I as­su­re you, ho­we­ver, that over the years, after ha­ving gone thro­ugh the dar­kest holes in Asia this time, I felt so lu­xu­rio­usly sur­ro­un­ded. Unfor­tu­na­te­ly, there was a heat that was very tired, but de­spi­te that, very qu­ic­kly and with even funny faces we went to the squ­are Davit Agh­ma­she­ne­blis . In the cen­ter was a large fo­un­ta­in with fi­gu­res of hor­ses and va­rio­us fi­gu­res. Aga­inst this was the the­ater and the cen­tral park where I once had fun. The green area in the heat of Geo­r­gia with the po­ssi­bi­li­ty of drin­king tea and eating the ha­cza­pu­ri cake (very fond of la­dies) de­fi­ni­te­ly re­la­xes. Shor­tly after, we went to the the­ater where we temp­ted to taste local che­eses and rolls and on the mar­gin Ku­ta­isi is fa­mo­us in Geo­r­gia for its de­li­cio­us pa­stries. On the oc­ca­sion we tried again hin­ka­li and tal­ked with pe­ople and to our de­li­ght im­me­dia­te­ly it was clear that Geo­r­gian pe­ople like Poles. Then we pas­sed the fruit and ve­ge­ta­ble ba­za­ar and stood on the brid­ge over the river Rioni. From here I could ad­mi­re the ele­men­tal, wo­oden huts on the cliff like those of Nepal and in the di­stan­ce the mo­un­ta­in peak and the ca­the­dral of Ba­gra­ti.

First, ho­we­ver, wal­king along the win­ding stre­ets and stone ho­uses co­ve­red with vines we re­ached the Haber mo­na­ste­ry . It was a ty­pi­cal Geo­r­gian stone church with one bell, nice ar­ches and a com­pre­hen­si­ve in­te­rior and pa­in­tings. Then we sat down in town to again try the won­der­ful buns with white che­ese and then clim­bed about 20 mi­nu­tes to the top of the mo­un­ta­in to stand be­fo­re the door of the ele­venth cen­tu­ry Ba­gra­ti mo­na­ste­ry . This bu­il­ding is a real art of Geo­r­gian re­li­gio­us ar­chi­tec­tu­re and is vi­si­ble from every part of Ku­ta­isi as a sym­bol of the city. In 2012 the church was re­no­va­ted after hun­dreds of years of de­struc­tion. Ba­gra­ti is in a white color, has many be­au­ti­ful ar­ches and pil­lars and a green roof and in front of it is also a ma­gni­fi­cent cross. Ba­gra­ti is also a he­ri­ta­ge of Une­sco’s world cul­tu­re and is one of the re­gion’s major at­trac­tions.

Then we went to the Mtsva­ne Kva­vi­la di­strict (Green Flo­wer), which is very in­te­re­sting be­cau­se of the old bu­il­dings, often de­stroy­ed and often also sho­wing the stan­dard of li­ving in Ku­ta­isi. A se­ries of shab­by homes and rusty gates with men re­pa­ired cars and pe­ople in the win­dows. Ho­we­ver, it is a very at­mo­sphe­ric and open-min­ded place to live in Geo­r­gia, and at the top of the mo­un­ta­in there is also a mo­na­ste­ry with three chur­ches, a ce­me­te­ry and a view of the river and the dam. Kva­vi­la Mstva­ne was once in­ha­bi­ted by tho­usands of Je­wish fa­mi­lies who re­tur­ned to Isra­el. There are also two sy­na­go­gu­es below but the gates were clo­sed. On the way to the top I also met a pret­ty girl with whom I have con­tact so far. After a lit­tle shop­ping I re­tur­ned to the ho­stel be­cau­se it was a very hard day be­cau­se of the early mor­ning. The first day in Geo­r­gia made me very im­pres­sed and Ku­ta­isi was a good in­tro­duc­tion to a new co­un­try for me. In ad­di­tion, Geo­r­gia is a co­un­try rich in fru­its that grow in every gar­den and women are nice and smi­ling.

Ano­ther time, be­twe­en trips I also went to the Ku­ta­isi Hi­sto­ri­cal Mu­seum , then once again to the cen­tral park for tea and again to the che­ese buns. This mu­seum was worth my time as it in­c­lu­ded me­die­val we­apons, co­stu­mes, in­stru­ments, je­we­le­ry, Chri­stian art and ar­cha­eolo­gi­cal finds.

Gelati Church. Kutaisi, Georgia.

Gelati Church. Kutaisi, Georgia.

Trip to Gelati and Matsometa monasteries

Ge­la­ti and Mat­so­me­ta mo­na­styrs are the most po­pu­lar of the Ku­ta­isi and in my opi­nion de­fi­ni­te­ly worth a visit. From the ba­za­ar in Ku­ta­isi I took a small bus for 1 lari and wi­thin 15 mi­nu­tes I was al­re­ady near Ge­la­ti.The Ge­la­ti Mo­na­ste­ra, lo­ca­ted in the pic­tu­re­sque mo­un­ta­ino­us ter­ra­in, was built in the early 12th cen­tu­ry and has se­rved not only as a church, but also as a bu­rial place for ru­lers. The Ge­la­ti mo­na­ste­ry was bur­ned in the 16th cen­tu­ry by the Ot­to­mans and in the 20th cen­tu­ry the com­mu­ni­sts re­mo­ved prie­sts and clo­sed the fa­ci­li­ty. Today, ho­we­ver, Ge­la­ti lives a full life, also be­cau­se of its at­trac­ti­ve­ness for to­uri­sts. A lo­ne­ly mo­na­ste­ry built of bo­ul­ders about 900 years ago con­si­sts of a main ca­the­dral with a tra­di­tio­nal Geo­r­gian bell, a church and an im­pres­si­ve so­uthern gate. Ge­la­ti was cre­ated over many cen­tu­ries, so in the 12th and 18th cen­tu­ries fre­sco­es and mo­sa­ics of Mary and the Child were cre­ated. There are also wells and a few shady pla­ces that are well pro­tec­ted aga­inst the Geo­r­gian heat. Out­si­de, there are so­uve­nir stalls and wal­king ani­mals.

Then I and my colleague went down the winding road passing houses and fruit orchards. Along the way there were grenades that were very common in Georgia and also near the grapes that gave the shade to the hosts. My walk lasts about an hour therefore the Gelati to turn on the Motsameta are 4km and advise not to take the bus to not lose the charms of nature. From the turn to Motsameta are the next 2km which we first went through and then we managed to catch the hitch.

Mot­so­me­ta monastery is ano­ther trip in time to the ar­chi­tec­tu­ral splen­dor of Geo­r­gia, which is ad­di­tio­nal­ly lo­ca­ted among the be­au­ti­ful open air. It is not clear when exac­tly the Mot­so­me­ta mo­na­ste­ry was built but it is much smal­ler than the Ge­la­ti and I also no­ti­ced that espe­cial­ly here you need a very good lens as it is dif­fi­cult to pho­to­graph the whole ob­ject on a very small squ­are. Mot­so­me­ta is more de­li­ca­te, built of smal­ler sto­nes, co­ve­red with red tiles and has a nice tower with a cross at the top. The mo­na­ste­ry leads to a stone pas­sa­ge and then ano­ther. It is a very quiet, pe­ace­ful place with nice views.

Details on one of the churches. The churches in Georgia are a work of art, and the reason why you should go there.

Details on one of the churches. The churches in Georgia are a work of art, and the reason why you should go there.

We came back with two hitchhikers. The distance from Kutaisi to Motsometa is 6km and then another 4km to Gelati.

Prometheus Cave

Prometheus cave is next to the cave of Sataplia the most beautiful cave in Georgia. Tourists come every 20 minutes with an English speaking guide and the entrance costs 6 lari. When I came from the hot climate of Georgia to a damp and cold cave, I immediately felt relieved. The entrance is also beautiful because first I had to go down through the forest to get to the tunnel covered with vegetation. In the middle, there is a 1060 meter illuminated multi-color trail. Prometheus cave is a show of stalactites, stalagmites, fossils of waterfalls, underground rivers and small lakes. Every little detail of this cave, the condensed water pearls and even the echo made me feel even though I had seen some of the best caves in Asia. I was among the biggest caves in the world in Borneo and in the very impressive in Laos but still cave Prometheus in Georgia is worth a ride there because it shows tourists very well that nature can create beautiful art. Being here I became interested in the beauty of the Georgians, who at my request posed for photos.

At the entrance to the cave there is also a shop where the host offered us watermelon and homemade honey and my colleague also made a Georgian whiskey of his own product. The weeks for Kamil turned out to be a gourmet holiday.

Transportation to the cave is not complicated. First, from the area of ​​the Red Bridge in Kutaisi, you took a 10km bus ride to Tskhatubo, which is a tragic reminder of communism. There is a park with a dry fountain, asbestos-plate houses, a bus station that remembered Lenin and a really bad road. With Tskhatubo you should take a taxi to the cave but we took a hike leading through winding roads with fruit trees. On the way back, of course, only hitchhiking.

Prometheus Cave. Georgia.

Prometheus Cave. Georgia.

Transport from Kutaisi to Mestia

From the center of Kutaisi we took the city bus to the station near McDonald’s (about 3km), and from there we just got on the bus going to Mestia, although our trip took 2 stages. First we went about 2 hours to the unfriendly, poor town of Zugdidi near Abkhazia, and then we went about another 2h to Mestia.

The first part of the trip was uninteresting because we were on a flat road like a pancake and if the bust of a woman near me who obviously caught my eye would probably fall asleep.

The second part of the trip was already more interesting, but unfortunately no breast. We drove through the mountain streamers, rich vegetation and turquoise lake below. On this journey I remembered that two couples were riding around, one from Germany and the other from Israel. It was funny that the Jews treated the Germans with great distances and did not seek contact, while the Germans were willing to prove their friendship to them. What a spoiled nation.

Unfortunately, it was also the most expensive trip in my entire career in this country. I was poorer by 25 lari.


Mestia is the main town and tourist base in the northwest of Svanetia. Mestia lies at an altitude of 1500 m and is known for its defensive towers built in the early 13th century as fortifications against Mongol invasions. Some believe alone and others are connected to homes.

Besides, Mestia is a beautiful town famous for its mountaineering and scenic mountain hikes. Some of them are trips to the Cross and Lake Kuruldi towards Ushby, expeditions to the Chalati Glacier and to the picturesque town of Ushguli.

As soon as we arrived we immediately got a room for 15 lari which is cheaper than usual. The beds were falling, but after the expeditions to the mountains and the cold nights in the tent, it did not really matter. In the house where I lived, the tower was connected to the house and I also had the opportunity to look at the area also from a myriad point of view. On the first day we went with a colleague to look around the town and take pictures of narrow streets, old Soviet trucks and towers against the mountains. We were also in the local pub on the Hinkali dumplings, which I then had many times but in Mestia were the best. In the evening there was a party and the Georgians chased Georgian vodka called “chewing” which they did themselves. They also had their own wine and a whole selection of fattening chaczapuri breads. We talked about life in Poland and in Georgia and it was nice to have time though I obviously did not drink. Kamil was in the seventh heaven. They drank and they ate until 2am and then did not sober for the whole weekend.All the time, however, it was very nice. In Poland we would have been beaten several times and in Georgia nothing had happened.

The village of Mestia and the picturesque Georgian mountain landscape.

The village of Mestia and the picturesque Georgian mountain landscape.

Hike towards Chalati Glacier

One of the most popular attractions near Mestia is the expedition to the Chalati Glacier. From the center of Mestia, a walk at a slow pace with breaks for a meal in the bosom of nature and for photos takes about 3.5 hours one way. The beginning is weak because we had to go along the asphalt road, near the airport and we passed Soviet trucks that smelled the air. After about 2 hours, a pleasant trail of compacted earth began, surrounded by vegetation, interesting rock formations and a rushing river nearby. After another 30 minutes, I reached the vertical rock on the right side where the climbing competition was taking place, and a moment further there was a suspension bridge giving the opportunity to observe a beautiful panorama and a loud, rushing river. It is only an hour from the bridge to the foot of the glacier and I classify this place as a new stage of the trip and a great place for photos at the same time. Then we entered the dirt road which was much nicer. We walked through the forest, walking along a narrow trail, on both sides with stones covered with moss and the climate of the Caucasian forest.

One time I went down the hill and other times I had to climb and often I had to avoid boulders on the road and flooded parts of the trail. Anyway, it was fun and an adventure for which I came to Georgia. After crossing the coniferous forest, we entered the last stage of the expedition, i.e. a plateau with scattered boulders, a river on the left and a naked glacier in front of us. This stage of the trip was by far the most lonely and here I felt the most uninterrupted contact with nature, just like before in the mountains of Tajikistan or on the Mongolian steppes. However, this area was much smaller and therefore I also recommend it to unprepared travelers. Walking along the trail, we soon reached the foot of the glacier from under which the river was flowing. This is where the marked trail ends and here begins the stage from which people with equipment can start a more advanced climb.

Then, from the foot of the glacier, we returned about 20 minutes to the campsite by the river and here we put up tents and lit a fire. The evening was pleasant. I was collecting brushwood, we lit a fire and I collected some wild strawberries. Luckily for us, there was also a Georgian family that was returning to Mestia and gave us some food. In addition, I also took water from the river to boil for tea and in the calm of nature it was going to be a nice night. However, it was completely different because soon it started to rain, it got cold and very unpleasant. In the morning, wet and cold, we returned the same road to Mestia and despite the good adventure and nice views, it was the first time we did not want to smile.

Mestia - a picturesque mountain station in Georgia.

Mestia – a picturesque mountain station in Georgia.

Even though my trip was beautiful, after returning to Mestia, that day I was just sleeping and drying my clothes. The rain, exhausting march and a number of other activities made me exhausted.

Climbing to the Cross and Kuruldi Lakes

Another walk in the mountains that can be taken without a guide is an average trip to the Cross (900 m above Mestia). The road leads from the center of Mestia and it is a direction that everyone knows. The first stage of the journey

leads through a stone road and then comes in close contact with nature in the form of forested trails, open logs and walking cows. On the way there is also the possibility of taking water from one of several small springs and the higher the view is, the more beautiful. Climbing to the Cross took us 2h. From the cross in good weather you can also see the summits of Mt Ushba (4710m asl) which is the most demanding mountain resort of Mestia. The cross is basically the first stage of any climb, it is a place of rest, meeting people, beautiful views of vast clearings and Mestia down. For example, we met two Poles with whom we later talked in the evening in the park and had short dances.

From the cross myself and my companion decided to climb up to 300m higher, that is to Kuruldi lakes.Unfortunately 300m was less than 3h climbing and despite the beautiful views, the time and effort invested in 300m turned out to be larger than the first stage of 900m. On the way we saw a herd of cows colored like tigers and nice yellow flowers against the snowy summits of Ushby. Same lakes were very small and inexpensive and my travel companion instead of taking pictures of nature made pictures of the butt lying down, which climbed not far.

10h expedition in the mountains made us finished but of course worth for the beautiful views.

Mestia offers many mountain walks. The main one is climbing to the Cross and the Kuruldi Lakes.

Mestia offers many mountain walks. The main one is climbing to the Cross and the Kuruldi Lakes.

Transport from Mestia to Kobuleti

My next adventure was full of stops and stops. From Mestia to Zugdidi I took a trip through nice mountain views and on the way we had to wait because the avalanche slipped the rocks to the road. This part of the trip lasted 3 hours and cost 20 lari. Then from Zugdidi to Poti it costs 6 lari and 1h time. From Poti to Kobuleti I went 45 minutes and paid 5 lari.

As we can see, mountain transport in Georgia is much more expensive.


Kobuleti this small town on the Black Sea, which I recommend to those who do not want to hear loud Batumi. Kobuleti is much smaller, quieter and you can get better rest. When we got off the bus we did not want to bargain because we went with the driver to the hotel by the sea where the bed and shower room paid only 15 lari. Next to it was a center, fruit stalls and a promenade for tourists. In Kobuleti I spent 3 days swimming in the cold Black Sea and relaxing. It was also my base for a few other places I will discuss below. It is also worth mentioning that the beach in Kobuleti is rocky and the waves are high and strong.Treba to be careful.

Batumi Botanical Garden

Batumi Botanical Garden is located on 111 hectares and is located in Cape Verde on the Black Sea. It is a very rich, beautiful and extremely diverse park which is also the largest of all the former Soviet Union. This garden is divided into many geographical sections, which means that there are lots of vegetation here from South America, Australia, New Zealand, East Asia, Mexico, the Mediterranean area and the Caucasus. This makes each part of the park completely different because the vegetation moves us to other continents.Batumi’s garden beats with its color and diversity, skillfully refined parts of light and shade, and ponds and roots of trees emerging from the forest trail. Also impressive is the place where you can see the flat rocky walls and down the Black Sea. I spent 2.5 hours here and I was not bored. I would definitely recommend.

The botanical garden is 20 minutes drive from the Kobuleti and you have to get off on the way to Batumi and go to the park. For the ticket I paid 6 lari and transported 1.5 lari.

Batumi Botanical Garden. Georgia.

Batumi Botanical Garden. Georgia.

Transportation from Batumi Botanical Garden

To travelers traveling to Batumi I advise you to wait for the next bus. From the Garden to Batumi is only 9km from which part runs along the sea. For transport I paid 1 lari.


Batumi is a popular tourist city of Georgia and an important port on the Black Sea and the capital of the autonomous region called Adjaria. Batumi lies in subtropical climates and although the branches of the economy are citrus fruits, shipbuilding or food processing, the city’s chief focus is on tourism. Batumi is close to Turkey and attracts many tourists from there as well as from former countries of the former Radziski Union. In addition, with a population of almost 200,000 and a long beach and very well-developed tourism, Batumi is not tiring compared to other major cities. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the panorama of Batumi has changed a lot. There were many good hotels and restaurants and modern buildings by the sea, the old town was rebuilt and a promenade by the sea was built. Batumi is decorated with tropical plants and interesting sculptures and art. Here you have to walk along the beach after 1.5km of Batumis Bulvari promenade, but I warn that the beach is rocky and the waves are very strong. At the end of the square is the Ferris Wheel, 145m Alphabet Tower and Radisson Hotel.

My favorite squares are the Theater Square, with richly decorated fountain sculptures and Neptune Square, the fountain in front of Batumi University and the Cathedral of the Mother of God. Not to be overlooked is the high Sheraton Hotel towering over the city near the sea and built on the lighthouse pattern in Alexandria. Also worth mentioning is European Square and high pillar sculpture, which in my opinion is too high to see it and reportedly cost more than 1ml lari. Wasted money. For dinner richer tourists I would recommend Piazza Square although I myself was on a shed for a few lari and it was well. In addition to this, Batumi has several museums and theaters although the best showcase of the city is the beach itself, the Old Town, the tropical climate and beautiful spots and some strange buildings. Batumi is indeed a very pleasant place.

The only thing that bothered me here was the presence of gypsies who would catch people even when eating and settling down in the small streets. Wherever I travel, I am convinced that Adolf Hitler was definitely right in relation to the Gypsies.

Christianity is very important in Georgia. They include beautiful art and architecture.

Christianity is very important in Georgia. They include beautiful art and architecture.

Gonio Fortress

11km from Batumi towards the border with Turkey there is a very well preserved Roman fortress with a beautiful garden in the middle. This fortress has 18 towers and a defensive wall to walk around, as well as a Roman bath and theater. The entrance costs 2 lari and right after the entrance I advise you look up for kiwi fruit. Continue the trail through high red flowers and another green. This fortress, in my view, is worth visiting for its history, but on the other hand without rich vegetation would not be the same. Here you can see how much can make a beautiful garden.

On the other side of the street there are bars with drinks and ice cream, which are necessary for the Georgian sun. Transportation from Batumi takes 20 minutes and costs 1 lari.

From the fortress of Gonio to Sarpi where the Turkish border is only 6km.

Transportation from Kobuleti to Khulo

From Kobuleti to Batumi – 0.5h / 1.5 lari. Then from Batumi to Khulo 2h / 5 lari. The route led through scenic mountain views and down below was a valley cut across the river and green hills.


Khulo is a small, unattractive town with a very nice church and small market. Khulo consists of the lower part which serves as a base of interchanging and the upper part where the locals live in their blocks of plates bore to death. I decided to put Khulo on the map only as a transfer base.

Gonio Fortress. Georgia.

Gonio Fortress. Georgia.

Great adventure in transport from Khulo to Akhaltsikhe

(Night in a wooden hut and women’s training)

In this part of the reportage, I intend to tell about my journey through the gates of Georgia, which Georgians themselves have not heard, and about my night at the Hasan host who turned out to be one of the more memorable and entertaining.

After seeing Khulo, a small mountain town famous for boredom, I wanted to go on a journey as soon as possible. I could stay overnight in Khulo because it was a room but the desire for adventure was stronger.Me and my brave travel companion sat down behind the town on a dusty and rocky road at the edge of the abyss and waited for a hitch that turned out to be reasonably comfortable. First we went to the small village of Purdzai, which probably is not even on the map. Then you stopped at the 30-year-old Nice Niva and took us for at least an hour to Godezi, which is the highest point of the route. On our way our Lada broke several times and therefore every now and then we had to stop for the engine to rest and to add cold water. Besides, the road was only a pile of rocks and dust, so we were rocking all the time.

Then, from the top of the mountain, we drove a few kilometers down to the village of Lodidziri, who probably had not heard much. Here we had to spend the night in the tents but he took us to the local host for 15 lari a night with great dinner and breakfast. We spent the night in a wooden cabin surrounded by a field of potatoes and mountains. The host was unshaven from a dark star named Hasan, who had two slave servants at his disposal – his wife and daughter. I have to admit that Muslims, however, know how to introduce absolute discipline into the house because both at the Islamist’s command seemed to be blowing up to serve men.Besides, I have never heard a word please. It was just a hoarse roar. As it turned out, the women got up early and went to bed late because they had to handle all the housework and do all the housework. In addition to Hasan and me and his colleague Kamil, there was also a colleague of Hasan who came to tell us unreleased stories. The table was filled with Georgian dishes, haczapuri, many kinds of sour cheese, and of course his own homemade alcohol. I do not drink alcohol but Kamil as usual rescued the honor of Poland and settled with them. But the women did not sit with us at the table and when I asked if they were hungry, Hasan said they had eaten and that it was our turn now. Women were at every command. Of course we talked about money, about business, about how much money in Poland and how much it seems. The next morning when I got up the men were sitting at the table, they ate relaxed and of course drank and the women worked in the field, with cows and with the service of their lords. Breakfast was delicious but talk of course only came down to money. They were curious as to how much my camera and phone costed us and they kept pushing us all the time as they liked us and not to be afraid of anything.Then we left and everything went well and they watched us from the terrace.

My luxuries hotel in the village of Lodidziri. Georgia.

My luxuries hotel in the village of Lodidziri. Georgia.

We quickly caught a new hitch, but after 10 km of empty, rocky roads, the driver left us because he decided that he did not want to lead us any longer. After that, we waited, resigned and bored, for about 1 hour and finally a van with vegetables and watermelons took us and in terrible conditions we got to another village called Odigeni. From here there was a marshrutka straight to Akhaltsikhe. It was the last leg of the journey which cost 2 lari and took half an hour. The distance between Odigeni and Akhaltsikhe is 18 km. As you can see, sometimes transport can turn out to be a very interesting, even unforgettable stage of the journey.


We could not believe that we were finally able to reach Akhaltsikhe but luckily our long road ended with success. Akhaltsikhe is a small town so the hostel was also close by. We were able to find a room for only 15 lari from a person though they wanted 25. The fact that I am from Poland and speaking good in Russian always helps a lot in lowering the price. Akhaltsikhe is a town where life flows very slowly. There is a bus station with many unemployed tasers, a watermelon stall, a pretty church and a few pubs. But what attracts tourists to this small town is the beautiful castle of Rabati from the 12th century and some beautiful objects outside the city, such as the rock town of Vardzia and the monastery Sapar.

Rabati on the top of the mountain and the dominant view over the Akhaltsikhe is a restored castle of the 12th century with defensive walls, museums, churches, synagogues and mosque. Rabati is a huge, well-groomed object that can be moved into the medieval times of Georgia. I walked here on defensive walls, entered the towers and saw the exposition of old Caucasian carpets and 16th century manuscripts. The presence of the Old Town and the views of the city peak were the most interesting. Rabati also consists of several squares and many levels, most of which are planted. In addition, there are interesting basement passages decorated with arches overlooking the golden dome and gazebo on elaborate pillars. Rabati is not only a medieval castle but also a showcase of art and history in a very attractive form.

I think one day is eno­ugh to see Akhalt­si­khe, its ba­za­ars, the church and de­fi­ni­te­ly Ra­ba­ti. At the end of the day, I would re­com­mend or­ga­ni­zing the next day.

Rabati Fortress. Akhaltsikhe. Georgia.

Rabati Fortress. Akhaltsikhe. Georgia.

Trip to Vardzia by the Khertvisi fortress

To­ge­ther with a col­le­ague we made a price with a taxi dri­ver of 40 lari for al­most a whole day of ri­ding which was a achie­ve­ment since we had heard such amo­unts as 60, 80 and even 100 lari. Ho­we­ver, since I spoke Rus­sian the price im­me­dia­te­ly fell. Our goal was to drive to the rocky town of Var­dzia on the way stop­ping at in­te­re­sting ob­jects. Our route led thro­ugh the be­au­ti­ful, pic­tu­re­sque val­ley of the Cau­ca­sus, along the way pas­sing the ca­ny­ons and mo­ving along the mo­un­ta­in ser­pen­ty­nach. On the one hand I saw a river and mo­un­ta­ins bur­ned by the sun and al­ter­na­te­ly mo­un­ta­ins and fields. Our first stop was the town of Ru­sta­vi where we made small shop­ping and where out­si­de of the sup­ply it is not worth spen­ding a mo­ment. But maybe it’s too hasty to say be­cau­se when a young woman with a bust of D was ap­pro­aching the store, they all fell si­lent with ad­mi­ra­tion, sta­ring at exac­tly two things, which meant that there were times in Ru­sta­vi .

Then we stood on the road to ad­mi­re the views and the mo­nu­ment to the poet Ru­sta­ve­li. Then we pas­sed thro­ugh the vil­la­ge of Aspi­na­dza, which is not worth com­men­ting so soon after­wards to stop at a ma­gni­fi­cent pro­per­ty – by the for­tress of Kher­tvi­si . It was a ru­ined ca­stle built be­twe­en X and XIV cen­tu­ry, which be­au­ti­ful­ly do­mi­na­ted the mo­un­ta­in land­sca­pe. The road to the sum­mit led along the rocks in the com­pa­ny of goats and asses, which means that the ele­ment of ad­ven­tu­re is gu­aran­te­ed. You can get thro­ugh the gaps in the walls and there is no­thing in the ca­stle it­self. A great at­trac­tion is clim­bing to the top and a view of the ca­stle it­self from below. Ho­we­ver, it is best to go to the other side of the road where there is a han­ging brid­ge on the river and also a dream place for a photo. Fort­ce­ca Kher­tvi­si is a com­pul­so­ry stop on the way to Var­dzia, where you can also add water from the local well.

Then, con­ti­nu­ing on the Cau­ca­sus’s mo­un­ta­in stre­ams, we he­aded for Var­dia, al­tho­ugh on the way the dri­ver po­in­ted us to a few other in­si­gni­fi­cant ob­jects. One of them was a ba­za­ar of sla­ves, or se­ve­ral walls near a road stac­ked with mo­un­ta­in sto­nes. Ano­ther ob­ject was the ruins of the Tmo­gvi ca­stle , which from the road did not look any­thing spe­cial but I am sure that a mo­un­ta­in trip to this very rich hi­sto­ry would be very in­te­re­sting. Tmo­gvi Ca­stle was a very im­por­tant for­ti­fi­ca­tion bu­il­ding from aro­und the 9th or 10th cen­tu­ries and there are still ruins of the church and the re­ma­ins of the 13th cen­tu­ry fre­sco­es. Then we saw a small rocky town, Vanis Kva­ve­bi, from the 8th cen­tu­ry, and the walls of the 13th cen­tu­ry. This pro­per­ty is often over­lo­oked be­cau­se it does not equal its size and at­trac­ti­ve­ness to the fa­mo­us Var­dia. After 16 km from Kher­tvi­si for­tress, we re­ached Var­dia.

Georgia; Rabati Castle in the city of Akhaltsikhe.

Georgia; Rabati Castle in the city of Akhaltsikhe.

The rocky town of Var­dzia is the lar­gest of its kind in Geo­r­gia and also clo­se­ly re­la­ted to the cul­tu­re and hi­sto­ry of the Geo­r­gians. Var­dzia is a po­wer­ful struc­tu­re ca­rved into the rocks, with many caves, tun­nels and cha­pels, and they be­lie­ve in the bells that cost the oce­ans of hard work and which has been con­si­sten­tly one of the cul­tu­ral sym­bols of Geo­r­gia since the 12th cen­tu­ry. Be­cau­se of its size, it has been cre­ated for cen­tu­ries, and by the new ge­ne­ra­tions of the royal fa­mi­ly. Var­dzia was star­ted as a for­ti­fi­ca­tion by Gior­gia III in the 12th cen­tu­ry and con­ti­nen­tal as a place of Chri­stian wor­ship by his dau­gh­ter, Queen Ta­ma­ra. Lo­oking at Var­dia from a di­stan­ce, this ob­ject is asto­ni­shing in its size be­cau­se it is a rock wall that has been cut into a large city con­si­sting of 13 flo­ors.

To bet­ter un­der­stand the size of Var­dzia it is worth ad­ding that its two parts are di­vi­ded by a church en­gra­ved in the rocks, of which there are 242 rooms in the eastern part and 165 in the east. These rooms in­c­lu­de smal­ler and lar­ger cha­pels, caves, ba­ke­ries, guest rooms, ce­me­te­ry and in­fra­stuc­tu­re in the form of tun­nels, cor­ri­dors, lad­ders in the rocks, water fa­ci­li­ties and pla­ces to de­fend. In ad­di­tion, the lar­gest church fe­atu­res im­pres­si­ve 12th-cen­tu­ry fre­sco­es de­pic­ting sce­nes from the New Te­sta­ment and the life of Queen Ta­ma­ra and her fa­ther. In ad­di­tion, the church leads about 150m of tun­nel le­ading to the rocks above the church.

It is important for me that my readers understand that Vardzia is not just a few holes in the mountains, but a whole city in the rocks adapted to life just like any other city of that time but built in rocks and having a strong cultural and religious identity. I think this is an object that should not be missed.

Then we drove towards Akhaltsikhe the same way, although I got off early to go to Sapara monastery.

Sapara monastery

Coming back from Vardzia, the driver dropped me off at a fork road from where to Sapary was still about 12km after a difficult rocky road. At first I grabbed a hitchhiking but only for a couple of miles and then came up a little and waited in the rain. I admit that I had a bad mood because the time of day and the weather was not very promising, and with all this Sapara monastery because of its distant location, lack of organized transport and even the lack of normal road is rarely visited. However, even in such a hopeless situation, my adventure saved the Germans. On that day a group of German professors from the University of Münster came to Sapary and they took me with me and then back to Rabat in Akhaltsikhe.

Khertvisi fortress which dominates the beautiful mountain landscape. Georgia is full of gorgeous castles, fortresses and old churches in the mountains.

Khertvisi fortress which dominates the beautiful mountain landscape. Georgia is full of gorgeous castles, fortresses and old churches in the mountains.

Monastery Sapara is a church built around the 9th century surrounded by mountains and beautiful vegetation and strategically located on the cliff edge and away from civilization. The whole complex consists of three churches built of stones giving it a heavy, monumental, medieval style. It rains in the rain and with the sound of trees I think Sapara is perfect for horror scenes and maybe that is why I bought a cross that I wear today. The church of the Saba has well preserved 14th century frescoes, though for me the best place was the place. At last I climbed up to the top of the mountain above Sapara, but do not expect good views from here.

For those who are not so fortunate, I recommend taking a taxi from Akhaltsikhe for a maximum of 15 lari in both directions.

Transportation from Akhaltsikhe to Tbilisi

My trip lasted 3h and cost 12 lari. On the way I passed, among others, Borjomi and Gori. Borjomi is a famous spa town in Georgia, where healing water of the same name comes from and a very nice place to spend a couple of nights for couples. But I was alone because I did not stop. Gori is Stalin’s birthplace and his museum, and I came back after a few days.

Tbilisi – the capital of Georgia

Tbilisi is an ancient capital of Georgia almost uninterruptedly since the 5th century. Tbilisi is a political, cultural, social and economic center of the country and a place where, despite differences in regions, every Georgian is identified. Tblisi, situated on the Mtkvari River, boasts an ancient Old Town with many beautiful churches, streets filled with restaurants and art, as well as a popular hammam and fortress dominating the city. On the other hand, Tbilisi is also an architectural city in the 21st century, preserving its traditional Christian culture, and by its architecture also a link with the former Soviet Union. Examples include the newly built huge Tsminda Sameba Church and, on the other hand, modern hotels, presidential palace, shops and entertainment venues. According to generally accepted opinion Tbilisi is the most attractive of all Caucasus cities, although I think that Baku has made many beneficial changes over the last few years.On the other hand, the history of Tbilisi is short-lived, mentioning that it was under the rule of Persians, Arabs, Turks and, of course, Russia.

Metekhi Church on the cliff with the statue of King Vakhtang Gorgasali on horseback. Tbilisi, Georgia.

Metekhi Church on the cliff with the statue of King Vakhtang Gorgasali on horseback. Tbilisi, Georgia.

Apart from Tbilisi itself which was my base for many days I went out for many interesting trips outside the city.

I ar­ri­ved in Tbi­li­si this after­no­on and got off at Di­du­be sta­tion where there are mer­ry-go­ers out­si­de of misto.Di­du­be is an unspo­ilt, cha­otic open air sta­tion where there is a fruit ba­za­ar, a bar­rel of bread, a row of shops and a ge­ne­ral chaos. This is a type of place that is very ti­ring and which I re­com­mend to leave qu­ic­kly. For­tu­na­te­ly, there is a metro sta­tion that saves the whole si­tu­ation. For only 50 tetri after about 20 mi­nu­tes of dri­ving I got off at Mar­ja­ni­shvi­li sta­tion and then going uphill for 10 mi­nu­tes I got to Chi­ta­ia 12 where in the ho­stel run by an older lady there are the che­apest beds in Tbi­li­si. I paid only 10 lari per night. The cen­ter of the Old Town and the en­ti­re hi­sto­ric area I met great be­cau­se I have come here many times.

From Chi­ta­ia Stre­et I took the route and got off just be­hind the Gor­ga­sa­lis . Most to­uri­sts start vi­si­ting Tbi­li­si from this place but I like wal­king in non-to­urist pla­ces. Wal­king down a bit fur­ther, I saw old bu­il­dings and an unbe­lie­va­ble ro­un­da­bo­ut, but also spec­ta­cu­lar rocks with the Kura River on the right and a pret­ty church on the top of the mo­un­ta­in on the left. Shor­tly after­wards I re­ached Aba­no­tu­ba­ni, which is a di­strict of the bath which is about 1500 years old. There is a plan­ted squ­are, se­ve­ral baths of which the Or­be­lia­ni is more in­fa­mo­us, and a few small mo­squ­es that su­rvi­ved the Beria rule. There is also a road le­ading to the Na­ri­ka­la For­tress and Bo­ta­nic Gar­dens . Below is also a very nice road with a view of the small cliff cut into the river where you can bre­athe fresh air. To the right is the Me­te­khi Brid­ge and the Me­te­khi Church on the cliff with the sta­tue of King Va­kh­tang Gor­ga­sa­li on hor­se­back . This means that all the li­sted ob­jects are very close to­ge­ther and get­ting out in one place you can see all these ob­jects and much more.

Panorama of Tbilisi. Georgia.

Panorama of Tbilisi. Georgia.

The Aba­no­tu­ba­ni baths are a nice sight be­cau­se they look like round brick mu­sh­ro­oms with a fi­re­pla­ce on the top and are ni­ce­ly in­cor­po­ra­ted into the old town. Be­si­des all the tra­di­tio­nal baths in this re­gion and also in Iran look like this. Of co­ur­se I also tried and admit that tra­di­tio­nal baths have their good and bad sides. There are only men’s baths, only for women and co­uples baths. Unfor­tu­na­te­ly I was in the male and was not im­pres­sed be­cau­se it re­min­ded me of a “wet pedal club” where hairy cre­atu­res were le­aving their dun­ge­ons over the pool and in the sho­wer. The price of the tic­ket also in­c­lu­des a mas­sa­ge, and unfor­tu­na­te­ly not mas­sa­ged me be­au­ti­ful be­au­ti­ful but­ter­flies with big bum­pers but ob­li­śny fat with big belly. He hit me well and struck a rough, wet cloth and then asked if I liked it. Well … as long as I did not have to look at him. Each bath has a hot and cold swim­ming pool, sho­wers and con­cre­te mas­sa­ge beds and mo­sa­ic ce­ilings. The tra­di­tio­nal ba­th­ho­use is a good expe­rien­ce with a nice kit­ten but not with dis­gu­sting guys, and I’m afra­id to even think how eager­ly it must be in the Tur­kish bath. Be­si­des, the Geo­r­gians are usu­al­ly very nice to the Poles and the baths were also, al­tho­ugh I would pre­fer not to be too nice there. As far as I re­mem­ber the en­tran­ce cost 3 lari and the mas­sa­ge is pro­ba­bly 8 lari. After all, I felt much bet­ter al­tho­ugh in a sense not quite.

Then I went to see a mo­sa­ic mo­sque and a small ca­ny­on cut across the river and then nar­row stre­ets be­twe­en old ho­uses I went up to Na­ri­ka­la For­tress . There is a do­mi­nant view over the city of the bu­il­ding whose walls were built in the fo­urth cen­tu­ry when it was a Per­sian ci­ta­del. Then in the 8th cen­tu­ry the to­wers of the tower and most of the walls were built by the Arab emirs. Na­ri­ka­la For­tress is also an im­por­tant hi­sto­ri­cal sym­bol of the city, be­cau­se over the cen­tu­ries this stra­te­gic place was also at­tac­ked and bat­te­red by the Turks, Geo­r­gians, Per­sians, Arabs and fi­nal­ly the Rus­sians. On the site of the for­tress there is a re­fur­bi­shed church of St. Ni­ko­la­sa and won­der­ful view­po­int on Tbi­li­si. Near the for­tress, also on the top of the mo­un­ta­in is a 20m me­mo­rial Kar­tlis Deda or mo­nu­ment Geo­r­gia Mo­ther who in one hand holds a sword in the se­cond cup of wine, which si­mu­la­tes the open­ness and de­fen­se of the Geo­r­gian pe­ople. Above, there is a bo­ta­ni­cal gar­den ope­ned in 1845 year. The peak can be re­ached either by foot or by cable car.

On the same side of the river, but do­wn­sta­irs there is Ru­sta­ve­li Ave­nue, where the so­cial and po­li­ti­cal life of the Old Town and the Szu­sta Ru­sta­ve­li are cen­te­red , where there are se­ve­ral mu­seums, the Ka­she­vi church , the opera and the most im­por­tant bu­il­ding is the par­lia­ment bu­il­ding . In the nar­row stre­ets there are many re­stau­rants and small shops, and some of the most hi­sto­ric bu­il­dings in Tbi­li­si, such as the Jva­ris Mama church, where the first church stood in this place al­re­ady in the fifth cen­tu­ry and the cur­rent con­struc­tion dates back to the si­xte­enth cen­tu­ry. In this church I re­com­mend above all be­au­ti­ful fre­sco­es that have been re­no­va­ted in blue and red. The Ar­me­nian church Na­ro­she­ni from 1793, which unfor­tu­na­te­ly is not in good con­di­tion, On the stre­et Le­se­li­dze 47 there is also a sy­na­go­gue built in 1904 which in the opi­nion of many pe­ople is very ho­spi­ta­ble but I just threw away from here. When I stood out­si­de, I saw a mo­nu­ment ty­pi­cal of a Jewry can­dle­stick, and as soon as I wal­ked thro­ugh the thre­shold the Jews lo­oked at me and tho­ught of their pas­sing. They told me to put a cap on my head, but when I re­fu­sed to throw it away and admit that I was not at all sorry. On the one hand I wan­ted to see their tem­ple but on the other I tho­ught I was too proud of my own Ca­tho­lic re­li­gion to take care of their be­ha­vior.

Tbilisi Old Town. Georgia.

Tbilisi Old Town. Georgia.

Out­si­de, ho­we­ver, I met a be­au­ti­ful Rus­sian woman who smi­led, pho­to­gra­phed and after a few mo­ments I for­got what I had just expe­rien­ced. Ano­ther va­lu­able ob­ject is the Sioni Ca­the­dral , which was built be­twe­en the 6th and 7th cen­tu­ries al­tho­ugh it was de­stroy­ed so many times that most of the pre­sent bu­il­ding dates back to the 13th cen­tu­ry. The Ca­the­dral of Sioni I liked the most be­cau­se it has a be­au­ti­ful altar, nice pa­in­tings and the cross of Saint Nino – Pa­tro­ness of Geo­r­gia. The ca­the­dral of Sioni is built on the plan of the cross ac­cor­ding to the old cu­stom. Going fur­ther, I also pas­sed the seat of the Geo­r­gian Ca­tho­li­cos-Pa­triarch church and then An­chi­skha­ti Ba­si­li­ca, which is the ol­dest church in Tbi­li­si, since it has re­ma­ined un­chan­ged since the 6th cen­tu­ry.

On the left side of the river we have Avla­ba­ri di­strict and some very im­por­tant ob­jects. I think of a very pic­tu­re­sque ver­ti­cal cliff co­ming out of the river Kury on which is built among others the church Me­te­khi and the mo­nu­ment of King Gor­ga­sa­li . The first church stood in this place al­re­ady in the fifth cen­tu­ry, but due to the tra­gic hi­sto­ry was many times de­stroy­ed by the Turks and Per­sians. There was a pa­la­ce com­plex, a the­ater and a pri­son, but today the church of Me­te­khi func­tions and hosts holy mas­ses. This church is the flag­ship of Tbi­li­si and is best seen from the Na­ri­ka­la For­tress and from the Po­la­by­sky Me­te­khi Brid­ge. On the other side of the brid­ge is a small, well-kept park and a li­gh­ted fo­un­ta­in which al­ways moves in the eve­ning to the rhy­thm of music. This park is a very pe­ace­ful place to meet fa­mi­lies, just by the river and with so­uve­nir stands. From the park we can either go on a mo­dern, il­lu­mi­na­ted brid­ge to the other side of the river or go up to the Avla­ba­ri di­strict.

The Pre­si­den­tial Pa­la­ce , which is co­ve­red with a glass dome, is also well vi­si­ble from the Me­te­khi Brid­ge, and it is il­lu­mi­na­ted at night. Wal­king down the small and de­stroy­ed stre­ets of Avla­bri, I re­ached the Ca­the­dral of the Holy Tri­ni­ty (Tsmin­da Sa­me­ba) . This is huge by the great “O” church built in tra­di­tio­nal Geo­r­gian style which after 10 years of con­struc­tion was put into use in 2004. It has a huge dome, is high at 84m and has 5 en­tran­ces. Each en­tran­ce has a huge door and the whole is fil­led with pa­in­tings, mar­ble and be­au­ti­ful sa­cred art. Be­si­des Tsmin­da Sa­me­ba lies on a hill and leads to her sta­irs and the whole area is sur­ro­un­ded by a gar­den. I also think wal­king along alva­bri stre­ets is a very good con­trast be­twe­en the poor life of the pe­ople and the we­alth that the tem­ple re­pre­sents.

Sameba Cathedral. Tbilisi. Georgia.

Sameba Cathedral. Tbilisi. Georgia.

Ano­ther time I was in the Vake Park in we­stern Tbi­li­si, which oc­cu­pies an area of ​​200 hec­ta­res and is a po­pu­lar re­sting place. I was just wal­king and prac­ti­cing al­tho­ugh the pe­ople in­te­re­sted can also take a cable car to the sum­mit of the Lake to bathe du­ring the sum­mer heat. I came to Vake Park by ac­ci­dent be­cau­se Azer­ba­ija­ni con­su­la­te is ne­ar­by and from there I went for a walk. There is also a uni­ver­si­ty ne­ar­by. For co­uples with chil­dren I re­com­mend pri­ma­ri­ly the Mtat­smin­da theme park where there are many at­trac­tions for the whole fa­mi­ly .

Then again, many times I strolled through the streets of the Old Town, sat at the fountain and watched the beautiful capital of Georgia. In the evening I stopped the bus and for a couple of cheap tetri I went back to my cheapest hostel which however I remember very nice.

Trips outside Tbilisi


About 72km from Tbilisi there is an Ananuri Castle complex built in the 13th century which lies in a picturesque spot on the Aravgi River. In Ananuri territory there are two castles, towers and fortified walls as well as two churches from the 17th century. On one of the walls there is a large bas-relief depicting the cross and a creeping bush of grapes, and in the middle there are remains of frescoes destroyed by a fire in the eighteenth century. The Ananuri Castle and its churches are a beautiful part of the medieval landscape, but it is also beautiful that after a day of sightseeing I was swimming in a peaceful turquoise river. At the entrance to Ananuri there are stands with interesting souvenirs. I also recommend going across the bridge towards Tbilisi because there is just the best place for photos.

To Ananuri I went from the Didube station (3 lari, 45 minutes) and came back hitchhiking with a pretty Russian. I was lucky because the mercedes stopped.

Entrance to the Christian Ananuri Fortress. Georgia.

Entrance to the Christian Ananuri Fortress. Georgia.

 Gori – the birth place of Stalin

About 80 km from Tbi­li­si there is a small town cal­led Gori, which is as­so­cia­ted with only one man. Here Iosif Ju­gha­shvi­li was born and ra­ised, for some fa­mo­us and for the most part de­fa­med Jo­seph Sta­lin. Gori is a po­pu­lar to­urist de­sti­na­tion due to the Sta­lin’s de­ce­ased Mu­seum , which is lo­ca­ted in this city on Sta­lin Stre­et and not far from Sta­lin Squ­are. In front of the big bu­il­ding in honor of the be­ar­ded le­ader there is a sta­tue of Sta­lin, the house where Sta­lin lived as a child, a nice park and a pri­va­te lu­xu­ry car­ria­ge in which Sta­lin and his di­gni­ta­ries cros­sed the So­viet Union. I will not make a mi­sta­ke if I say that this small 50,000 city was on the map only be­cau­se, as the red le­gend sta­tes, it was here that the be­gin­ning was “fa­ther and te­acher of the So­viet pe­ople who emer­ged from the in­fi­ni­te fields of Rus­sia” …… and he mur­de­red, He was under ab­so­lu­te ter­ror and dec­la­red war on his pe­ople, but the in­for­ma­tion in the mu­seum sim­ply was not there.

! ! ! A link to the full article on “The Stalin Museum in Gori” is provided below this article ! ! !

To this day, Georgians love their communist mass-murderer Stalin. Georgians brought up on the lies of communism and desperate for greatness are proud of Stalin, as are the Ukrainians of Bandera. The difference is however, that Georgians at least like Poles.

To this day, Georgians love their communist mass-murderer Stalin. Georgians brought up on the lies of communism and desperate for greatness are proud of Stalin, as are the Ukrainians of Bandera. The difference is however, that Georgians at least like Poles.

In addition to the Stalin Museum in Gori, I also recommend a citadel to climb on an uneven stone road. At the top there is not much but it is a nice trip offering nice views.

To Gori I got a bus for 4 lari in 45 minutes from Tbilisi Didube and on the way back I took a hitch from the main route.

Uplistsikhe – the rocky cave town

Upli­st­si­khe is a rocky town about 10km from Gori and one of the ol­dest set­tle­ments in the Cau­ca­sus. Upli­st­si­khe was di­sco­ve­red aro­und 1000 BC in the Bron­ze Age but its rocky cliffs were expan­ded from about the 6th cen­tu­ry BC to the 1st cen­tu­ry AD Ar­cha­eolo­gi­sts di­sco­ve­red this place in 1957 when most of the caves and rock caves were co­ve­red by trees and only the sum­mit was vi­si­ble. In the Mid­dle Ages Upli­st­si­khe had a stra­te­gic po­si­tion be­twe­en the fo­re­sts and deep val­leys and in its glory lived about 20,000 pe­ople. Upli­st­si­khe As a brid­ge be­twe­en Eu­ro­pe and Asia, it be­ca­me an im­por­tant shop­ping cen­ter and was also co­nqu­ered by the Arabs and Mon­gols. In the 8th and 9th cen­tu­ries the Upli­st­si­khe was a de­fen­si­ve for­tress aga­inst the Mu­slim in­va­sions but even­tu­al­ly fell.

With the trans­i­tion of Geo­r­gia to Chri­stia­ni­ty on the spec­ta­cu­lar cliffs of Upli­st­si­khe, se­ve­ral chur­ches and ba­si­li­ca were built, with pil­lars in the mid­dle of which some were co­nver­ted from pagan tem­ples. In the rocks have been ca­rved play caves with pil­lars and de­co­ra­ted ce­ilings, a place for prie­sts and re­si­den­tial grot­to­es. Ar­cha­eolo­gi­sts have found many types of je­wel­ry, sculp­tu­res and ce­ra­mics from the cen­tu­ries that are now in the mu­seum in Tbi­li­si. Upli­st­si­khe is an excep­tio­nal­ly at­trac­ti­ve place built on se­ve­ral flo­ors, and from the top it has a nice view of the Mtkva­ri River. Com­pa­red to the pre­vio­usly de­scri­bed rocky town of Var­dzia Upli­st­si­khe is very small be­cau­se it is only 8 hec­ta­res but the way in which this city is built be­longs in my opi­nion to the big­gest to­urist at­trac­tions of Geo­r­gia.

A rock city full of caves and adventure paths. Uplistsikhe is only 10 km from Gori.

A rock city full of caves and adventure paths. Uplistsikhe is only 10 km from Gori.

Transportation to Uplistsikhe from Gori cost around 15 lari for 3 persons. The driver blew me off on the main route on my way to Tbilisi.


Mtskheta is an important cul­tu­ral he­ri­ta­ge of Geo­r­gia be­cau­se this small town has one of the ol­dest and most im­por­tant chur­ches in the co­un­try and was the ca­pi­tal of Geo­r­gia from the 3rd cen­tu­ry BC to the 5th cen­tu­ry AD. Mtskhe­ta is hi­sto­ri­cal­ly and cul­tu­ral­ly a very im­por­tant place and even after King Va­kh­tang Gor­ga­sa­li moved his ca­pi­tal to Tbi­li­si in the 5th cen­tu­ry, Mtskhe­ta was still the re­li­gio­us ca­pi­tal of Geo­r­gia and the seat of the Geo­r­gian Or­tho­dox Church. In ad­di­tion, Mtskhe­ta is si­tu­ated pic­tu­re­squ­ely at the junc­tion of the ri­vers Ara­vga and Mtkva­ri, and its tra­di­tio­nal de­ve­lop­ment con­si­sting of small ho­uses is co­ve­red with vines. Even wi­tho­ut a tho­ro­ugh tour of the ma­gni­fi­cent chur­ches, the small stone walls of Mtskhe­ta and the old town are eno­ugh re­asons to come here.

The main ob­ject is the ca­the­dral Sve­tit­skho­ve­li , built in the 11th cen­tu­ry, al­tho­ugh the de­fen­si­ve wall was built in 1878 and fre­sco­es in the si­xte­enth and eigh­te­enth cen­tu­ries. Al­tho­ugh Timur at­tac­ked Mtskhe­ta in the 14th cen­tu­ry and par­tly de­stroy­ed the ca­the­dral, it is still one of the most be­au­ti­ful today. It has a tra­di­tio­nal bell, a be­au­ti­ful sculp­tu­re from the out­si­de and from the in­si­de, fre­sco­es and a pret­ty altar, while also do­mi­na­ting the low-ri­se bu­il­dings of Mtskhe­ta. Ac­cor­ding to le­gends, the ca­the­dral con­ta­ins a part of the garb of cru­ci­fied Jesus, who re­por­te­dly was a Je­wish re­si­dent of Mtskhe­ta du­ring his stay in Je­ru­sa­lem at the time when he broke off Jesus’ clo­thing and bro­ught them to Mtskhe­ta, and then a Je­wish si­ster named Si­do­nia took the robe from her bro­ther and died in a flood of faith. Then she was bu­ried with the gar­ment of Jesus and the church was built there. The ob­ject it­self is quite large and has in­te­re­sting bows and bas-re­liefs.

Ano­ther church, just be­hind the ca­the­dral, after pas­sing along a nar­row stone stre­et is a tiny An­tio­ki churchlying in the gar­den in the mo­na­ste­ry near the river. This church dates back to the time of St. Geo­r­ge. Nino is about the third cen­tu­ry, al­tho­ugh fre­sco­es in the mid­dle are new. From the gar­den where the An­tio­ki church is lo­ca­ted you can see the top and at the top of the mo­na­ste­ry Jvari. Ano­ther church is Sam­ta­vrowhich also lies in the mo­na­ste­ry area. It was built in the tra­di­tio­nal Geo­r­gian way and dates back to 1130.Next to it is also a very small cha­pel Tsmin­da Nino from the fo­urth cen­tu­ry where ac­cor­ding to le­gend pray­ed St.. Nino.

Mtskheta - the former capital of Georgia with several impressive churches. Mtskheta is important to Georgian national identity and is situated among picturesque nature.

Mtskheta – the former capital of Georgia with several impressive churches. Mtskheta is important to Georgian national identity and is situated among picturesque nature.

On the other side of Mtskhety, about 30 minutes walk (1.2km) from the center is a completely different object. On the hill near the river are the ruins of the castle Bebris Tsikhe. There is a building standing away from other buildings, alone “inviting” travelers to visit it. Bebris Tsikhe was a very pleasant, quiet trip. There are sharp bushes and hidden lizards.

Mtskheta is located only 25km from Tbilisi and the bus from Didube station depart very often. The journey takes 20 minutes and costs only 1 lari.

Jvari Church

Jvari church is one of the holiest churches in Georgia and also one of the oldest. It was built in the 6th century and stands on a hill which is well visible from afar. Jvari means “Church of the Holy Cross” in the translation. Nino set up a cross of miraculous miracle at the top of a pagan temple, which brought people from all over the Caucasus. Jvari’s own design represents the classical sacred style of early Georgian Christianity. The Jvari is built on a cross plan, features symmetrically arranged rooms and piling up roofs and a low main bell. In the midst of dusk, by the stone walls, numerous candles and images of saints give the specific, mysterious and profound nature of the monastery. From above there is an impressive view of Mtskheta and a combination of two rivers – Aravgi and Mtkvari.

When it comes to getting to Jvari, the easiest way is to take a taxi back from Mtskheta for 15 – 20 lari with a half hour wait. The road is long and winding because the distance from Mtskheta is 15km, although from the bottom it looks like a close up uphill. Unfortunately, it is not and I’m sure many have already realized their mistake while climbing. Of course you can climb what takes about an hour but in the sun of the Caucasus is a challenge.

Jvari Church. Georgia.

Jvari Church. Georgia.

Davit Gareja 

My trip to Davit Gareja was very interesting. From Tbilisi you can take a tour of the tourist company for big money, but it is easiest to take the bus from Didube to the village of Gardabani , which cost me 2.5 lari and took about 1.5h. Here I had to bargain with local taxi drivers who were aware of my bad situation. Davit Gareja has no public transport and the road leads through a Soviet military training ground. So I went away from the village and came up to me Azer who suggested that he take me there and back for 40 lari. Well, I was alone and I really wanted to go there. Coming through the weedy ground, we overcame the hills and pits in the road. It was very nice, even more so, that sometimes we also passed military trucks giving this place more interesting character.

Due to their seclusion for most of the twentieth century these areas were used for military bases and polygons. In the times of the Soviet Union this object was very neglected, but today the priests live there, the restoration of restaurant work and the isolation and abounding semi-desert views the object is very popular tourist. In addition to the churches, there are also hundreds of chapels, rooms, purpose and dining rooms cut into the rocks. Unfortunately, some of the facilities on Davit Gareja are in Azerbaijan, which has caused a conflict between the two countries.

The two largest and most popular churches are Lavra and Udabno although in my opinion this is only the beginning. Both churches were created at different times and their various parts come from different years.For example, Lavra is built on three floors, has a nice courtyard and observation tower, and narrow passages under stone pillars. The Lavra complex also houses three churches and caves and graves, including Davita and his companions.

Udabno is further away, after defeating the mountain before entering Lavra. There is a small rocky town consisting of rooms and chapels carved in the walls, still with frescoes dating back to the Xth and XIII centuries.

The rock town of Davit Gareja caves. Georgia.

The rock town of Davit Gareja caves. Georgia.

It is important to remember that Davit Gareja is not only churches and caves, but also beautiful pleneries that tourists should enjoy. The loneliness of this place at the crossroads of Georgia and Azerbaijan amidst uneven, semi-deserted views at least for me was also a huge attraction.

On the way back my driver drove me across the wilderness to the village of Gardabani and from there I hitched a hitch in the town of Rustavi. I got on the bus to the Didube station in Tbilisi for only 1.30 lari.

Transport from Tbilisi to Kazbegi

I paid 10 lari and the trip leading through the green valleys and mountain views lasted 3h. At the station of Didube I met my travel companion Kamil, who was just getting on the same bus and hoping that I would not meet him. What a coincidence.

Ka­zbe­gi lies 157km north of Tbi­li­si.


Kazbegi is a small village a few kilometers south of the border with Russia and located on the Georgian military highway, which is very popular with tourists due to the snow-capped peaks on which stands the well-known Tsminda Sameba church. Today, the official name of the village is Stepantsminda, but despite this, travelers are known as Kazbegi. As soon as we arrived we came to the woman who offered us accommodation for only 15 lari per person. Kazbegi is such a popular place that there are several bars and shops, and the locals open their doors for travelers as it is an additional source of income. The village is situated at an altitude of 1740m and offers many opportunities for lovely walks, of which the most popular is the uphill walk to Tsminda Sameba Church.

But before I went upstairs I spent some time on the river Tergi and in the local park on the dried fountain and then also on the main square of the town called Stalinis Moedani. I also add that the buildings in Kazbegi do not stun art or form because they are just post-Soviet solids. At this point I came across the old, fatty women eating bread that wished not want to be my best models that day. From that photo they always made me laugh. After a nice dinner in a local pub where shish kebabs and hinkali were the base of the menu I went with my companion to travel home on the way passing a few interesting wrecks of cars.

Church of Tsminda Sameba. Georgia.

Church of Tsminda Sameba. Georgia.

The next day we went up the hill to the 14th century church of Tsminda Sameba, which today is a symbol of Georgia because it is on many postcards and everyone knows it. The uphill climb took us 1.5hi I admit that as for the mountain trail it was a large piston because it was the whole village.

All the tourists went, went to the church to pray and the old women from my pictures went. The trail was easy and pleasant, and at the height of the church there was a plateau where the Georgians had camped and served me food and young boys offering horseback riding. The church was so crowded that it was hard to get in and the greasy women sat at the entrance as they were gathering small things. The interior was a standard Georgian church and I think as an object it is very overrated though still worth getting to know, especially if the tourist made the effort to get there. Below the church is also an impressive stone cross.

Climbers who have equipment and fancy longer trips can continue to Mt. Kazbek 5034 m above sea level

Transportation from Kazbegi to Tbilisi

10 lari, 3h to Didube station.

Transportation from Tbilisi to Sinhnaghi

I had to take a subway from Didube to Sambori Station as they departed for Kachetia. The distance of about 113km was beaten in 3h for only 6 lari.


I came to Sinh­na­ghi after dark, but so qu­ic­kly ar­ran­ged a bed in a ho­stel co­ve­red with gra­pes. Wal­king down the rocky stre­et and ha­ving nice ho­uses on either side I got to the ho­stel where I only paid 10 lari for a night plus 5 for a de­li­cio­us bre­ak­fast. I felt very well here as I sat on the ter­ra­ce, ate the gra­pes and en­joy­ed the peace.

Sinhnaghi is a very nice small town with historic buildings, which is the main tourist base of Kachetia and which, apart from several objects also has a nice atmosphere, scenic views and ubiquitous vineyards. Two thirds of the buildings in Sinhnaghi come from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, which today are thanks to the restaurant’s excellent work, and besides, the city is also surrounded by 4 km of defensive walls and has a couple of pretty churches. As for the vine, I advise to come here in October when the whole wine festival is held for one whole weekend. The Georgian government is investing heavily in one of the most charming Georgian cities, while retaining the traditional style, while building, I think very nice small sculptures on the streets, such as the man with a suitcase and an umbrella. In the main courtyard there is also a nice fountain with a high pitched jug and a deer on the top and near the statue of a lady with a child and a dog also under an umbrella. The city is rich in many colors and some houses also have balconies.

I also spent some of my time strolling along the impressive 18th-century defensive walls from time to time standing at wide towers, and also in my churches: Stepan Tsminda and Tsminda Giorgi from the nineteenth century. During my walk I went much further down the town to the old cemetery which seemed forgotten. Sinhnaghi also offers the opportunity to eat national dishes such as hinkali dumplings, fine kebabs and very fattening and even notorious Hujapuri cakes in Georgia. In addition to the church on the lined stone road, among the pleasant historic homes overgrown with vines, local housewives sell products from goat and sheep’s wool.These are usually slippers, caps, bags, socks, and even woolen flowers in the vase and I assure that their abilities are extraordinary.

Sighnaghi was a lovely Georgian town. As if I went back in time, but in a good way.

Sighnaghi was a lovely Georgian town. As if I went back in time, but in a good way.

Being in Sinhnaghi I was invited home to one lonely Lord which was a good experience. He lived alone in a neglected home because he said since his wife died of cancer he did not even want to clean up. We were sitting on a large balcony watching the view and eating the watermelon and roasting the grapes from the roof.

I also met a young Georgina with a big breasts who guided me once more in her city and said she was going to leave this boring village because she spent her whole life here. I was not surprised because as a tourist attraction Sinhnaghi is very good for a day or a maximum of two if you count in a stay trip to Davit Gareja, but spend your entire life here ..

I would most recommend this beautiful little town.

Transportation from Sinhnaghi to the border with Azerbaijan

First from Sinh­na­ghi I went to Tsari (20min, 1 lari). Tsari is not in­te­re­sting. Al­tho­ugh there is life there is only a trans­port hole on the way to the bor­der.

With Tsari I stop­ped the rusty, ba­re­ly bre­ath­less mar­sh­mal­low which bro­ught me thro­ugh the lands of bad views to La­go­de­khi (35km, 3 lari, about 0.5h). La­go­de­khi is the last town in front of the bor­der which has a fatal bus sta­tion, empty re­stau­rants, bored pe­ople and many unem­ploy­ed taxi dri­vers.

From La­go­de­khi I hit­ch­hi­ked to the bor­der cros­sing about 5km, what was very fast. I will add that bor­der cros­sing is the last place where you can buy Azer­ba­ija­ni cur­ren­cy and make che­aper shop­ping. I had bre­ak­fast here at fron­tier hosts. The Geo­r­gian bor­der ran smo­oth­ly and soon after I was in Azer­ba­ijan .

Summary of Georgia

Georgia is a very attractive tourist destination where the old Christian culture meets beautiful mountain views and the people are helpful to tourists. Although Georgia is a small country there is a lot to see here and therefore the time spent traveling through this country can last from a minimum of 3 weeks to a few months for more ambitious mountain lovers. It is hard for me to enumerate my favorite places because antique churches against the mountains and sometimes also turquoise lakes like Ananuri are not in the forefront of attraction and despite being one of the most spectacular.

I think recommendable is the old town of Tbilisi, cheese pastries in Kutaisi, Rabati fortress in Uplistsikhe, Mtskheta, rocky towns like Vardzia or Uplistsikhe and certainly unforgettable contact with people. You also need to spend some time on mountain tours with glaciers or ancient churches and rest on the Black Sea near Batumi. Georgia offers a lot. This is a beautiful country.

Orthodox church icon. Georgia.

Orthodox church icon. Georgia.

Marneuli (on the way from Azerbaijan to Armenia)

I have been to Georgia several times due to the closed border between Armenia and Azerbaijan and therefore the road to any of these countries led only through Georgia. Returning from Armenia, I stopped in Tbilisi for a while and from there I took a marshrutka to Sadakhlo, which is the border crossing with Armenia, although it is important that Marneuli is located at the crossroads from where you can go either to Armenia or Azerbaijan.

Before I got to Armenia, however, I had to transfer here and I would like to share my impressions of this depressing place. Marneuli has a dirty but well-stocked bazaar, a huge amount of cars due to trade between the three countries of the Caucasus, dead animals flayed on hooks and lots of money changers. So I would describe this city as about 20,000 dirty business hole. At least I ate breakfast here for a few lari and had an interesting conversation with my boss about life in Georgia and Poland. As I expected, life here does not spoil anyone.

Transport to the border with Armenia cost 3 lari and I was lucky to be on board another “ancient” bus.

A must read:

The Stalin museum in Gori



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