The Georgian city of Mtskheta is shrouded in secrets and legends. Here were the ancient Romans, Persians and Turks, who left a mark not only in history, but also in architecture.


Who and why goes to Mtskheta

The sights of Mtskheta will appeal to tourists with a variety of interests.

Architecture lovers will want to visit the local monasteries and temples. Jvari Monastery is one of the most ancient. It is believed that it was within its walls that the events of the poem «Mtsyri» unfolded. Svetitskhoveli is the cradle of Christianity, Tsar Mirian III was baptized here. And the Gergeti Church is famous for its beautiful views and its own source of holy water.

Those wishing to enjoy the majesty of nature should go to the Gveleti waterfall. A seething stream falls from a height of 25 m. The turquoise Zhinvali reservoir enchants.

Religious sites



The monastery, founded in the 6th century, is still active. Majestic buildings made of rough stone with round domes stand on the very top of the mountain, at the confluence of the Kura and Aragvi rivers. It is believed that it was here that the events described in the poem by M.Yu. took place. Lermontov «Mtsyri». By the way, the monument to the Russian poet is set at the foot of the architectural complex.

Alas, little is left of the former greatness of Jvari. Despite the fact that restoration was carried out in the early 2000s, and even earlier the temple became the first Georgian site included in the UNESCO heritage list, the shrine is practically in ruins.

Still, it’s worth visiting. The eastern and southern parts of the monastery are decorated with carved ornaments and bas-reliefs depicting all the rulers of Ajani who participated in the life of the monastery. The interior is ascetic, only a few icons are kept inside.

Svetitskhoveli Cathedral

sobor svetichoveli

One of the main temples of Georgia has a long and difficult history. Initially, a small wooden church was located in its place, built by order of the king of Iberia, Mirian III. It was he who brought Christianity to Georgia and was the first in the country to be baptized in this very church.

In the 5th century, the cathedral was burned down by enemies. In its place, King Vakhtang I ordered the construction of a new temple to the glory of the 12 apostles. By the 11th century, it was so dilapidated that it had to be dismantled and rebuilt. During the construction of Svetitskhoveli, stones from the previous building were partially used.

The outer walls of the cathedral are decorated with elaborate ornaments. The name of the architect Arsukidze is forever immortalized on the facade. Icons and frescoes of the 17th century are kept inside. The perimeter of the cathedral is surrounded by a wall, which more than once saved the faithful from enemy attacks.

For a long time, Georgian kings were crowned in the temple. Some of them are laid to rest here — under massive slabs. Among the main relics are a fragment of Christ’s tunic, a piece of the relics of Andrew the First-Called and the cloak of the prophet Elijah.

Monastery Samtavro

monastir samtavro

The monastery stands at the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers. The first mention of it dates back to the 4th century. The main temple and buildings on its territory have been modified several times. In 1283, due to a powerful earthquake, the church lost its dome, and another 100 years later, Tamerlane’s army practically razed the monastery to the ground. After this event, the shrine was significantly expanded and the exterior was decorated with carved ornaments.

Today, Samtavro is a functioning convent of St. Nina with the Samtavro-Transfiguration Church attached to it. Main values: the miraculous relics of Father Gabriel, the miraculous icon of St. Nina and the graves of the kings.

Church of Antioch

church antiohia

Known as the church of St. Stephen, Antioch was built around the 4th-5th centuries as a thank you to God for getting rid of the Persian invasion. During the period in the XV-XVII centuries. the shrine was subjected to constant destruction by the Turks, Arabs and troops of Tamerlane.

Restoration work began only in the 18th century, although the size of the temple was significantly reduced. Externally, the building looks dilapidated, fragments of restored frescoes are visible inside, the rest of the murals are still hidden behind a thick layer of whitewash.

Shio-Mgvime Monastery

shio mgviiski monastir

The architectural complex is located on the slope of the gorge above the Kura River. His buildings are located one above the other. On a cloudy day, when the mountains are shrouded in clouds and fog, it seems that the monastery is floating in the air. «Shiomgvime» in Georgian means «Cave of Shio» — that was the name of the founding monk.

The first temple was erected approximately in 580. During the XVII-XVIII centuries, the monastery was constantly destroyed during the raids of the Persian and Turkish armies, but painstakingly restored stone by stone, as it was the center of religious life.

Since the 19th century, the monastery has been empty, only in recent history did the monks return to it. Today the monastery consists of a temple, a well and a small church.

Gergeti Church

gergetska cerkov

Its other name is the Church of the Holy Trinity. The temple is located in the village of Gergeti at an altitude of 2200 m above sea level. It offers a picturesque view of the surroundings, and on a fine day you can see the majestic Mount Kazbek. Nearby is a source of holy water.

The temple was built in the XIV century, after a couple of centuries a bell tower was erected. It is in this form that the religious complex has survived to this day. During the years of Soviet power, the church was closed, only at the end of the 20th century it became active again. The walls of the shrine are decorated with traditional Georgian ornaments, the modest interior is decorated with fragments of frescoes.

Historical landmarks

Fortress Bebristsikhe

cerkov bebriscirhe copy

The citadel is also known under the names of Natsikhari and Beltitsikhe. The exact date of its construction could not be established. Archaeological excavations have shown that the first buildings on this site appeared in the 1st century BC. The fortress guarded the only passage to the city of Mtskheta, protecting its population from the warlike tribes of the highlanders.

Bebristsikhe is known for the fact that in 1156 King Demeter I of the Bagration family suddenly died here. Nowadays, the citadel is in a dilapidated state. From its walls, which have not lost their former grandeur, a panoramic view of the surroundings opens: the quarters of Mtskheta, the Aragvi River and the mountains.

Winery Chateau Mukhrani


Georgia is famous for wine. Chateau Mukhrani, located 20 km from Mtskheta, invites you to appreciate all the richness of the drink, which has absorbed the heat of the generous sun and clean mountain air. The complex includes not only a plant with vineyards, but also a restored estate of the former owner — Prince Ivan Bagration-Mukhransky.

The two-story mansion houses a restaurant serving authentic Georgian cuisine accompanied by fine wines. After a hearty dinner, you can take a walk in the adjacent picturesque park.

Mukhran fortress

muhranska cerkov

The citadel with massive walls was built by King Konstantin Mukhran-Batoni in 1733. The inscription above the arched gate says that the village of Shiosubani stood nearby. Alas, the settlement no longer exists. And the fortress itself is in a dilapidated state — in the 19th century, the local population barbarously tore out stones from the walls to build houses.

The fortification with an area of ​​more than 2.5 hectares has the shape of a square with round towers at the corners. The walls form two tiers. The height of the lower one is about 4.5 m, the upper one is about 1 m. A “combat path” was laid along the entire perimeter of the fortress, which allowed the fighters to quickly move and repel enemy attacks from all sides.

Fortress village Shatili

selo krepost shatili

The mountain village of Shatili is a new word in the construction of defensive structures. All houses of this settlement are united in a fortress. In total, there are about 60 towers with narrow loophole windows, each 3-5 floors high. Cattle were kept on the lower one, supplies were kept on the middle ones, and people occupied the upper ones.

House-towers fit tightly to each other, forming an impregnable wall. All buildings are interconnected by stairs and passages, so that the inhabitants of Shanti could move without going outside. At the moment, about 20 people live in the village.



The ruins of an ancient settlement lie opposite Mtskheta, on the banks of the Kura. Armazi was founded in the III century BC. e. and then it was an important strategic point in the Darial Gorge, since the High Road of the Caucasus passed through it.

In 65 BC. e. the city was captured by the commander Pompey and annexed to the Roman Empire, which was the impetus for the development of culture and writing. The city existed until the 8th century, after which it was destroyed by the Arabs. Now tourists can see the remains of the fortress walls, baths, houses and temples.

natural attractions

Mount Kazbek


Kazbek is a visiting card of Georgia. The height of the giant is over 5 thousand meters. The extinct volcano attracts climbers with eternal glaciers and frozen lava flows, which over the past thousand years have managed to turn into a bizarre gray-pink color. Those who do not want to undertake dangerous climbs admire the snow-covered slopes of the mountain from afar.

Gveleti waterfall

gveletski vodopad

The natural pearl is located near the town of Stepantsminda, in the Kazbek gorge. In fact, these are 2 waterfalls — Big and Small Gveleti.

Tourists most often visit Bolshoy, although it is located at a respectful distance from the nearest settlement. Its height is about 25 m, the width of the water stream is about 4 m. A small lake was formed at the place where the water fell.

Zhinvali reservoir

givinskoe vodohranilishe

The man-made lake at the confluence of Aragvi Pshavskaya and Aragvi Belaya attracts tourists with stunning endless views and shining azure waters. This shade is explained by the refraction of the sun by the best and great depth of the reservoir — on average it is 75 m.

Mysticism to this place adds another fact: at the bottom of the reservoir is the flooded city of Zhinvali. When the water level drops, you can see the domes of churches, the tops of buildings, and even structural elements of the ancient bridge of Pompeii, which was built around 65 BC.