Experience Georgia

Experience Georgia

Georgia is a small country situated on the crossroad of Europe and Asia. From the south-east it has a border with Azerbaijan, from the south – with Armenia and Turkey, from the north - with Russia. The western part of Georgia is washed by the Black Sea. Tbilisi is a capital of Georgia founded in the fifth century.

Population of the country with total area of 69 700 square kilometers is 3 720 000 people. It is amazing but on this small land there are 26060 rivers and over 40 protected areas. That is why the vast part of the country is occupied by untouched nature.

Amazing nature and the diversity of this country was the source of inspiration for a lot of writers and poets. Here we have everything that the traveler can only dream about: mountains of eternal snow, mountain lakes, alpine meadows, canyon rivers full of flowers and fruit, palm coasts, natural canyons, ancient caves, mineral waters and sulfur water pools – thus this place is indeed a heaven on Earth!

In Georgia we have diverse climate zones, that is why it is all year round destination. Here, subtropical and mild climate zones replace each other. Summer is sunny, temperature fluctuates from 29 ° C to 33 ° C., and in winter - from -2 ° C to 4 ° C. It does not matter who you are and what type of vacation you like, this country will satisfy your every wish and caprice!

Culture

You are about to discover a country of diverse culture, rich history and unique artifacts. Georgia is home to the first human outside of Africa who settled down here about 2 million years ago. Georgia is an ancient country at the crossroads of the Eastern and Western civilizations, where the European and Asian way of life and traditions merge for thousands of years. Indeed this country has a lot of amazing things to show you and tell you!

It is impossible to visit Georgia and not get charmed by its traditional architecture, that counts more than 1300 years. On the streets of the city, river canyons and mountain peaks you will see ancient unique domed temples painted with frescoes created based on Bible.

Key Destinations

Kazbegi
Kazbegi National Park is located on the northern slopes of the mighty Caucasus range, and its protected area covers a total of over 8,700 hectares. At 5,047 meters above sea level, Kazbegi Mountain (or Mkinvartsveri) is the third highest mountain in Georgia, and is surrounded by myths and religious tradition. According to Greek mythology, as punishment for teaching mankind how to make fire, the Titan Prometheus was chained to a mountainside in the Caucasus for all eternity. According to Georgian stories, it was the icy slopes of Kazbegi to which he was chained. Prometheus (known as Amirani in Georgia) was supposedly imprisoned in a cave 4,000 meters high. The cave, now called Betlemi (Bethlehem), later served as a dwelling for orthodox monks, and is said to have contained many sacred relics, including Abraham’s tent and Christ’s manger. Hot springs and acidic and carbonated lakes surround the mountain, and earth tremors are fairly frequent. Covered with 135 square kilometers of glacier, Kazbegi is a great place for ice climbing and mountaineering. The Dariali Gorge is an impossibly steep cleft in the mountains connecting Russia and Georgia, running for 18km from Stepantsminda to the Russian border at Zemo Larsi (Upper Lars). For millennia, this mountain passage has been strategically crucial, and has been fortified since at least 150 BC. In places, the cliff faces are more than 1,000m high, and medieval watchtowers, waterfalls and wildlife make this one of the most incredible roads in the world. The steep valleys either side of the gorge are great places for bird watching. Eagles, hawks and the massive griffon vultures all nest among the rocky outcrops. The town of Stepantsminda (also called Kazbegi) itself is charming and a wonderful base camp for exploring the region further. There are many guesthouses where locals are happy to treat you like family, rustic and beautiful with views of the mountains, and often the picturesque Gergeti Trinity Church.

Tbilisi
Georgia's ancient and vibrant capital city spreads out on both banks of the Mtkvari River, and is surrounded on three sides by mountains. The most widely accepted variant of the legend of Tbilisi's founding says that in the mid-5th century AD, King Vakhtang I Gorgasali was hunting in the heavily wooded region with a falcon. The King's falcon allegedly caught or injured a pheasant during the hunt, after which both birds fell into a nearby hot spring and died from burns. King Vakhtang became so impressed with the hot springs that he decided to cut down the forest and build a city. The name Tbilisi derives from the Old Georgian word "tbili", meaning warm. Archaeological studies of the region indicate human settlement in the area early as the 4th millennium BC.

Telavi
Telavi, the capital of the Eastern province of Kakheti, is home to several of the region’s world-famous wineries, art museums, castles and a theater highlighting folk singing and dancing. Telavi is located at the crossroad of the region and is an ideal place to stop for lunch or an excellent jumping-off point for two or three-day excursions.

Mtskheta
Mtskheta is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has been inhabited since before 1,000 BC and was once the capital of the early Kingdom of Iberia (today’s Eastern Georgia). Just 20 km from Tbilisi, at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, the city is located on an ancient trade route. Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of Mtskheta’s status as a major trading post. Glass perfume bottles, Greek and Aramaic writings, pottery, metalwork and jewelry have all been unearthed in abundance here, and many examples are on show in the town’s museum.

The ancient geographer Strabo described Mtskheta as a highly developed city with a water supply system, markets and stone houses. Mtskheta was also the religious center of the country, with a number of major shrines to Georgia’s pagan pantheon; these would later be replaced by churches when St. Nino converted the country to Christianity in around 337 AD. Although the capital was moved to the more easily defended Tbilisi at the beginning of the VI century, Mtskheta continued to be the coronation and burial place of Georgian kings, and the seat of the Patriarch, who is also known as the Bishop of Mtskheta. Today, the lovely old town has a laid back, village feel, especially compared to the more hectic pace of Tbilisi.

Gori
The original fortress, constructed on a hilltop, was named Gori (meaning hill in English), and was mentioned in the Georgian chronicles as early as the VII century. Some historians believe that the fortress was built by Byzantine Caesar Heraclius to store ammunition battles against the Persians.

Just after the XI century the area became an active center for trade. According to some historians, this was due to David the Builder founding the town. Because of its geographical location, enemies frequently targeted the fortress, as conquering it enabled control of the whole Shida Kartli region. The fortress has been invaded many times and controlled by Ossetians, Iranians and Persians, amongst others. The stronghold has been repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt.

The current iteration of the fortress was built in 1774, during the reign of Erekle II, but was significantly damaged by an earthquake in 1920. The Stalin Museum includes the memorial house where Joseph Stalin (1879-1953) was born, a museum building with a tower, and Stalin’s personal train car he used to visit Tehran, Yalta, and Potsdam. There are many unique exhibits displayed here, including personal belongings and collections of paintings, photos, films and other important historical artifacts.

Zugdidi
The city is the capital of the Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region, which combines Samegrelo (Mingrelia) and Svaneti. The name "Zugdidi" means "big/great hill" in Laz and Mingrelian.

Zugdidi served as the capital of the principality of Mingrelia (Odishi) until 1867, when the principality was abolished by the Russian Empire. In 1993 the administration of the first President of Georgia, Zviad Gamsakhurdia, was here.

Kutaisi
Kutaisi, the capital of Imereti, is Georgia’s second largest city after Tbilisi. Elegant, tree lined streets with 19th century houses stretching down to the banks of the Rioni River, along with several attractive parks, make Kutaisi a very beautiful place to stroll around and take in the many sights.

In the Jewish Quarter a number of synagogues demonstrate the long history of the Georgian Jewish community. The town’s largest synagogue, built in 1866, can seat 500 worshipers. The magnificent churches of Bagrati and Gelati – both UNESCO world heritages sites – testify to the importance of the region.

Culinary Experience

Nothing tells you more about the spirit and culture of a country than its cuisine. Georgian national dishes are among the best in the world for their diversity and taste. Each historical province of the country has its own distinct culinary tradition that was refining for centuries. Especially distinguished and unique are Imeretian, Megrelian and Kakhetian cuisines.

While meat plays an important part in Georgian cuisine, very close attention is also paid to the locally produced vegetables, fruit and greens. Traditional dishes made of their accurate combination first attract you, then astonish you and eventually it all ends with gastronomic shock.

The secret of this taste is Georgian soil: natural extension of a fertile, mineral-rich landscape fed by the pure waters of the Caucasus Mountains. It seems that the nature harmoniously lives in products, that are being used to create unique, delicious, and organic Georgian dishes.

Traditional Georgian feast is called “Supra”. The list of dishes that will charm you at the “Supra” is endless, yet some of them should be distinguished:

Khachapuri – Georgian cheese bread, also known abroad as a Georgian pizza. You can try different sorts of khachapuri in various regions of Georgia to experience unique taste – it is just wow!

Pkhaleuli – vegetarian dishes from a variety of spiced plants and vegetables usually with a walnut paste base, similar to spinach, but each having a unique taste and seasoning.

Satsivi – chicken or turkey in a walnut sauce with garlic and spices. It is so much appetizing that no diet will resist!

Khinkali – Georgian national dish. Juicy meat dumplings are made to be eaten by hand using a special technique that can be learned only here. It is so delicious that you have to visit Georgia just to try khinkali!

Mtsvadi – Georgian barbeque, meat grilled to perfection over a grape vinewood fire with bay leaf and fresh pomegranate juice squeezed over it.

Churchkhela – walnuts on a thread repeatedly dipped into a hot grape mixture, then hung to dry and harden in natural conditions. Churchkhela is Georgian national dessert.

Wine

Hectares of vineyards, Rtveli (Georgian harvesting) accompanied with polyphonic singing and clay vessels (Kvevri) full of wine – this is Georgia. Wine is everything here - everyone loves it. Every family will treat you with their own wine with great pleasure and pride. Vineyard is a sacred place for Georgians and winemaking – our beloved tradition. Country with population around 3.5 million, yearly produces approximately 150 million liters of wine.
Georgia has 8000 years of unbroken tradition of winemaking, which is proved by multiple archeological excavations and historical facts. The modern world recognized Georgia as the homeland of wine. According to one version, English word - wine derived from Georgian “ghvino”.

It is worth mentioning that Qvevri wine making method was included in UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list in 2013. In Georgia, there are more than 500 different endemic species of grape, from which the best quality wine is made. Special and unique Georgian wines are: Saperavi, Rkatsiteli, Kindzmarauli, Tsitska-Tsolikauri, Khvanchkara, Tvishi, Usakhelauri, Ojaleshi, etc.

Georgia

Top 10 Reasons for Visiting Georgia

1. Qvevri
There is a distinctive winemaking technology: grape juice together with the seeds and skin is buried under the ground in clay vessels called “Qvevri”

2. Unique alphabet
Unique alphabet – one of 14 independent alphabets in the world.

3. The first human civilization
The first human civilization outside of Africa has been discovered in Georgia (the remains of that settlement are 1, 75 million years old)

4. Tusheti
When it comes to the height of its mountains and variety of available treks, Georgia’s High Caucasus offers a lot of options to the mountaineers.

5. The highest permanent settlements in Europe
Tushetian village Bochorna and Svanetian commune Ushguli are Europe’s highest permanently inhabited settlements

6. Botanical garden
It is one of the most ecologically diverse countries in the world, with climatic zones ranging from subtropical and high alpine to semi-desert.

7. Heritage sights
Three cultural monuments which are included into UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

8. Dambal Khacho
Dambal khacho, a rare sort of Georgian cheese has been added to UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage

9. Ski Resorts
Georgia is a paradise for freeriders and heli-skiers

10. Cradle of Wine
Winemaking has been practiced in Georgia for over 8,000 years.

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Best Season:April to September
Popular Location: Kazbegi, Tbilisi, Telavi, Mtskheta, Gori, Zugdidi, Kutaisi

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