Top Ten Georgian Attractions

Top Ten Georgian Attractions

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       Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Black Sea, Russia, Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. The Capital of Georgia is Tbilisi. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 km² and its population is almost 4.7 million. Georgia is a unitary, semi-presidential republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy. During the classical era independent kingdoms became established in what is now Georgia. The kingdoms of Colchis and Iberia adopted Christianity in the early 4th century. A unified Georgia reached the peak of its political and economic strength during the reign of King David IV and Queen Tamar in the 11th–12th centuries. At the beginning of the 19th century,Georgia was annexed by the Russian Empire. After a brief period of independence following the Russian Revolution of 1917,Georgia was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1921, becoming the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic. After independence in 1991, post-communist Georgia suffered from civil unrest and economic crisis for most of the 1990’s. This lasted until the Rose Revolution of 2003, after which the new government introduced democratic and economic reforms.Georgia contains two de facto independent regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which gained limited international recognition after the 2008 South Ossetia war between Georgia and Russia. Georgia still considers the regions to be part of its sovereign territory.

  1. Tbilisi
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    Tbilisi is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt’k’vari (Kura) River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T’pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis until 1936. The city covers an area of 726 square km (280 sq mi) and has 1,480,000 inhabitants. Founded in the 5th century by Vakhtang Gorgasali, the Georgian King of Iberia, and made into a capital in the 6th century, Tbilisi is a significant industrial, social and cultural center. The city is also emerging as an important transit route for global energy and trade projects. Located strategically at the crossroads between Europe and Asia and lying along the historic Silk Road routes, Tbilisi has often been a point of contention between various rival powers and empires. The history of the city can be seen by its architecture, where the Haussmannized Rustaveli Avenue and downtown are blended with the narrower streets of the medieval Narikala district. The demographics of the city are diverse and historically it has been home to peoples from diverse cultures, religions and ethnicities. Despite being overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian, Tbilisi is one of the few places in the world (Sarajevo and Paramaribo being others) where a synagogue and a mosque are located next to each other, in the ancient Bath district several hundred meters from the Metekhi Church. In recent times, Tbilisi has become known for the peaceful Rose Revolution, which took place around Freedom Square and nearby locations after the contested parliamentary elections of 2003 led to the resignation of the Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze. Tbilisi has one international airport. Notable tourist destinations include the Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi, Freedom Square, Sioni Cathedral, Metekhi, Narikala, Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre, Anchiskhati Basilica, Mtatsminda Pantheon (Holy Mountain), Kashveti Church along with the National and Historic Museums of Georgia and a number of art galleries. The city life was immortalized in their art by Niko Pirosmani and Lado Gudiashvili.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tbilisi,
  2. Batumi
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    Batumi is a seaside city on the Black Sea coast and capital of Adjara, an autonomous republic in southwest Georgia. Sometimes considered Georgia’s second capital, with a population of 121,806 (2002), Batumi serves as an important port and a commercial center. It is situated in a subtropical zone, rich in agricultural produce such as citrus fruit and tea. While industries of the city include shipbuilding, food processing, and light manufacturing, most of its economy revolves around tourism.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batumi,
  3. Vardzia
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    The cave city of Vardzia is a cave monastery dug into the side of the Erusheli mountain in southern Georgia near Aspindza on the left bank of the Mtkvari River. It was founded by Queen Tamar in 1185. The monastery was constructed as protection from the Mongols and consisted of over six thousand apartments in a thirteen story complex. The city included a church, a throne room and a complex irrigation system watering terraced farmlands. The only access to the complex was through some well hidden tunnels near the Mtkvari River. An earthquake in Samtskhe destroyed approximately two thirds of the city in 1283, exposing the caves to outside view and collapsing the irrigation system. The church was reinforced and an externally visible bell tower added during the reign of Beka Jakheli in the 13th century. Persians commanded by Shah Tahmasp I raided the monastery in 1551, capturing all important icons and effectively ending the life of the monastery.
    Links: Top Ten Rock-Cut Architectural Works, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vardzia,
  4. Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery
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    The Cathedral of the Dormition, or the Kutaisi Cathedral, more commonly known as Bagrati Cathedral, is the 11th century cathedral church in the city of Kutaisi, the region of Imereti, Georgia. The cathedral, now in ruins, is regarded as a masterpiece in the history of medieval Georgian architecture. A distinct landmark in the scenery of central Kutaisi, the cathedral rests upon the top of Uk’imerioni Hill. It was built during the reign of King Bagrat III due to which it was called “Bagrati” Cathedral. An inscription on the north wall reveals that the floor was laid in “chronicon 223,” 1003. In 1692, it was devastated in an explosion by the Ottoman troops, which had invaded the Kingdom of Imereti. The incident caused the cupola and ceiling to collapse leaving the cathedral in its present state. The conservation and restoration works, as well as archaeological studies, which began in 1952, are still underway. In 2001, the cathedral was restored to the Georgian Orthodox Church. It is now of limited use for worship services, but attracts many pilgrims and tourists. It is also frequently used as a symbol of the whole city of Kutaisi, being one of its main tourist attractions. The Monastery of Gelati is a monastic complex near Kutaisi, Imereti, western Georgia. It contains the Church of the Virgin founded by the King of Georgia David the Builder in 1106, and the 13th century churches of St George and St Nicholas. The Gelati Monastery for a long time was one of the main cultural and intellectual centers in Georgia. It had an Academy which employed some of the most celebrated Georgian scientists, theologians and philosophers, many of whom had previously been active at various orthodox monasteries abroad or at the Mangan Academy in Constantinople. Among the scientists were such celebrated scholars as Ioane Petritsi and Arsen Ikaltoeli. Due to the extensive work carried out by the Gelati Academy, people of the time called it “a new Hellas” and “a second Athos.” The Gelati Monastery has preserved a great number of murals and manuscripts dating back to the 12th-17th centuries. The Khakhuli triptych had also been enshrined at Gelati until being stolen in 1859. In Gelati is buried one of the greatest Georgian kings, David the Builder. Near his grave are the gates of Ganja, which were taken as trophies by king Demetrius I in 1139.
    Links: Monasteries, Top Ten Cathedrals, Top Ten Kings, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bagrati_Cathedral,
  5. Historical Monuments of Mtskheta
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    Mtskheta, one of the oldest cities of the country of Georgia, is located approximately 20 km north of Tbilisi at the confluence of the Aragvi and Kura rivers. The city, which has a population of 19,423 (2008) is now the administrative center of the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mtskheta,
  6. Senaki
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    Senaki is a town in Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region, western Georgia. From 1935 to 1976 it was called Tskhakaya in honor of the Georgian Bolshevik revolutionary leader Mikhail Tskhakaya. Senaki was the center of the Georgia military mutiny of 1998. The town was also the site of a battle during the 2008 South Ossetia war. One of the important landmarks of the town is the State Theater built in Baroque Revival style.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senaki,
  7. Upper Svaneti
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    Svaneti is a historic province in Georgia, in the northwestern part of the country. It is inhabited by the Svans, a geographic subgroup of the Georgians.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svaneti,
  8. Voronya Cave

    The deepest known cave in the world (measured from its highest entrance to its lowest point) is Voronya Cave, which is also known as Krubera Cave. Krubera is located in the Republic of Georgia, and is an abyss that plunges to a stupefying depth of 2,191 metres, making it the first known cave in the world to exceed a depth of two km. In recent years, Voronya Cave has also often traded the world’s deepest cave title with its nearby Abkhazian sibling, the Illyuzia-Mezhonnogo-Snezhnaya Cave, which measures in at 1,753 metres, and with the Lamprechtsofen Vogelschacht Weg Schacht in Austria, which reaches a depth of 1,632 metres. Gagra District, Abkhazia, Georgia.
    Links: Top Ten Georgian Attractions, Caves, http://v2.garudamagazine.com/whatson.php?cat=travel&id=423,
  9. Links: Top Ten Georgian Hotels, Top Ten Georgian Restaurants, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_%28country%29,