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GDM Rent Car Georgia's another article is about Georgian unique region Samtskhe-Javakheti.

 

Samtskhe–Javakheti is Georgian southern region(mkhare) which includes the historical Georgian provinces of Meskheti, Javakheti and Tori. Akhaltsikhe is its capital. The region comprises six administrative districts: Akhaltsikhe, Adigeni, Aspindza, Borjomi, Akhalkalaki and Ninotsminda. There are 5 town, 6 townlets, 67 community and village sakrebulos (assemblies), and 268 villages in the region. Samtskhe-Javakheti is bordered by the regions of Adjara to the west, Guria and Imereti to the north, Shida Kartli and Kvemo Kartli to the north-east and to the east, and by Armenia and Turkey to the south and southwest.

The region is ethnically diverse with a mix of Georgians, Armenians, Greeks, Ossetians, Russians and Ukrainians. Samtskhe-Javakheti is the oldest historic territory of Georgia and is considered as the cradle of Georgian culture. The ancient Georgian tribes dwelled in this territory. St. Nino of Capadoccia, the convertor of Georgia to Christianity, entered the country with a holy cross made of vine stems tied by her own hair via the misty mountains of Javakheti. According to literary data and folk narrative, it is the birth place of the most famous Georgian poet – Shota Rustaveli – the area where the unique masterpieces of Georgian culture were born. Samtskhe-Javakheti territory encompasses a part of Meskheti, Javakheti and Tori.

Civilization began here some 4 000 years ago, when a major tribal union arose known as “Diaokhi”. From VI to IV centuries BC, Samtskhe-Javakheti was a part of the Georgian kingdom Iberia (Kartli) which constituted the territory of eastern and southern Georgia. In the XII century “the golden age” – during the renaissance of Georgian statehood, the great king David IV The Builder, consolidated Meskheti leading to a cultural revival of the country and this region. During the mid XIII century ferocious Mongol hordes invaded Georgia and took control. They were followed by a Turkish invasion, pursuing policy of Islamization. Some Georgians adopted Islam; others escaped it by migration to Kartli and Imereti. Throughout the XIX century, Georgia’s population grew considerably as Christian Armenians fled from Islamic Turkey. As a result of this history there are unique of different cultural influences as seen in the architecture and monuments.


This region is full with architecure monuments, mix of churches and many seightseeings. We'll show you wonder of Samtskhe-Javakheti.

Given the much distance from Tbilisi, one and only comfortable way to reach this beautiful region and view this wonderful seightseeing is to drive with car. Our Rent Car Service can offer you high, mid and any type of cars, with and without driver, who will be your guide, althought.



AKHALTSIKHE

 

Akhaltsikhe is a small city in Georgia's southwestern region (mkhare) of Samtskhe–Javakheti. It is situated on the both banks of a small river Potskhovi, which separates the city to the old city in the north and new in the south.

The city is first mentioned in the chronicles in the 12th century. In the 12th–13th centuries it was the seat of the House of Akhaltsikhe, dukes of Samtskhe, whose two most illustrious representatives were Shalva and Ivane Akhaltsikheli. From the 13th up to the 17th century the city and Samtkhe were governed by the House of Jaqeli.

In 1576 the Ottomans took it and from 1628 the city became the centre of the Akhalzik Eyalet of the Ottoman Empire as "Ahıska".

In 1828, during the Russo-Turkish War of 1828–1829, Russian troops under the command of General Paskevich captured the city and, as a consequence of the 1829 Treaty of Adrianople (Edirne), it was ceded to the Russian Empire as part of first Kutais and then Tiflis Governorates.

In the late 1980s the city was host to the Soviet Army's 10th Guards Motor Rifle Division, which became a brigade of the Georgian land forces after the fall of the Soviet Union.


Akhaltsikhe's most viewed seightseeing is Rabati Castle. 

 

Originally established in the 9th century as the Lomisa Castle, Rabati Castle was completely rebuilt by Ottomans.Most of the surviving buildings date from the 17th and 18th centuries.

According to the Georgian Chronicles the city was established in the 9th century by Guaram Mampal, son of the King of Tao. From the 13th to the end of 14th centuries it was the capital city of Samtskhe-Saatabago, ruled by the Georgian princely (mtavari) family and a ruling dynasty of the Principality of Samtskhe, the House of Jakeli.

In 1393 the city was attacked by the armies of Tamerlane. Despite the Turko-Mongol invasions, the fortress withstood and continued to thrive. After the Treaty of Constantinople in 1590, the whole territory of Samtskhe-Saatabago came under the rule of Ottoman Empire. Turks Mostly used to build defensive edifices. In 1752 the first mosque was built in Rabati.





In May 2011, the reconstruction of the Rabati fortress began, which was accompanied by the restoration and completion of many buildings that were destroyed in time immemorial. For this purpose, the Government of Georgia allocated 34 million lari from the state budget. As part of the project, the Akhmediye Mosque, the mosque minaret, the madrasah, the Jakeli castle, baths, the citadel, the walls of the fortress and the Orthodox Church were updated on the territory of the fortress. The tunnel leading to the Potskhovi River was also restored. As part of the project, two main streets of the fortress were repaired, a pavement was equipped, and the facades and roofs of buildings were restored.


Here's you can see Panorama of Rabati Castle:




ABASTUMANI


Abastumani is one of the most famous mountain resorts in the country. This wonderful resort located in evergreen valley, south of the Meskheti range and east of the Ferseti mountain,  1275-1350 meters above the sea level.

Village is 260km far from Tbilisi, Georgian capital city. Resort Abastumani belongs to the number of moderately dry resorts. The valley is covered with coniferous forests dominated by pine, with spring pine blossoming as it separates the so-called dust and scatters into the air, breathing into the lungs, which is one of the best healing remedies for the lungs. This air is unparalleled for simultaneous rehabilitation, which is why resting in Abastumani is so demanding, especially for children who have weak lungs. The fear that someone is going to have lung infections during the holidays is absurd, since there is less danger of postponing them because the air here contains a large amount of isoniazid that kills bacteria. 

Also in Abastumani, with this beautiful and healthy space, located Georgia's only observatory. 


Abastumani Astrophysical Observatory, the first alpine astrophysical observatory, was founded in 1932 on the territory of the former Soviet Union. It is located on Mount Khanobili, around 240 km from Tbilisi, and 30 km in the north-west from Akhaltsikhe, at an altitude of 1700 meters above sea level. 

Afterwards, Russian scientists have repeatedly proposed to build a mammoth astronomical observatory near Abastumani, but only in 1930-1931, was an appropriate location for the new observatory selected is the southern part of Georgia by the members of the special expedition of the Leningrad Astronomical Institute, Tbilisi Geophysical Observatory and other state institutions.

Abastumani surroundings became the focus of attention due to the peaceful atmosphere and singularly favorable conditions for observation. However, “Glasenapp tower” site could not meet the requirements for the new observatory. Finding a place with more space which provided the same conditions for observation was necessary. Precisely then, Mount Khanobili, the extensive area of land with more beneficial astronomic climate, was "discovered.”

The first buildings were erected, telescopes installed and the first observations conducted in the fall of 1937; these observations later became of larger scale thanks to the newly constructed observatories, as well as the implementation of new technologies and facilities.



The observatory is surrounded by coniferous evergreen forests, so you can reach the visitor with a rope.


VANIS KVABEBI





Vanis Kvabebi  is a cave monastery in Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia near Aspindza town and the more famous cave city of Vardzia. The complex dates from 8th century and consists of a defensive wall built in 1204 and a maze of tunnels running on several levels in the side of the mountain.

There are also two churches in the complex. A newer stone church that is in quite good shape stands near the top of the wall, and a smaller, domed church that clings to the rock on the level of the highest tunnels.

 

VARDZIA


 

Three kilometres from Vanis Kvabi, upstream along the Mtkvari, lies Vardzia. 

Vardzia – Monastery complex, carved in a rock, XII-XIII Century Georgian picturesque monument. Located in Javakheti, Aspindza region (30km from Aspindza), on a left bank of river Mtkvari, 1300 meters above sea level. According to orographic outline, Vardzia is located on the east branching of Erusheti ridge. The highest cave is located as high as 1462 meters above sea level.

Vardzia fortress is arranged as storeys, on a level of 100 meters, number of storeys 3 – 13, it includes more than 600 storage facilities, refectories, shacks, pantries, backup storages, 25 wine cellars, with 185 wine-jars in total.



Construction of the fortress was started by Giorgi III and finished by his daughter – Queen Tamar, who changed its original designation as a fortress and introduced it as a massive, fortified monastery. The complex was mostly constructed during 1156-1203 years, it was blessed on 15th of August, 1185, in the name of Assumption of Mary.

Vardzia complex includes 15 churches, the main church is one in the name of Assumption of Mary, here we can see a beautiful example of mural painting, which is drawn by one named Giorgi. Depicted are Giorgi III, Queen Tamar and other nobles. Between four remaining portraits of Queen Tamar, this one is the earliest, depicting youth of Queen Tamar, which is dated back as old as the 1186 year. Here you can also see Mary with baby Jesus in her hand, twelve apostles, various scenes from the gospel, etc.

In 1551, Vardzia was sacked by Shah of Iran – Tamaz I, Persians stole famous icon of Mary, golden and steel doors and many other treasures. In 1578, Vardzia was sacked again by Turks and many monks were killed, whoever survived were scattered in different directions and the monastery became uninhabited. 

After the Soviet rule was established in Georgia, at first, Vardzia was a tourist base and later, in 1983 museum was established. In 1989, by the blessing of Catholicos-Patriarch of Georgia, Ilia II, the liturgy was revitalized again as well as Monastery life, later, in 1999.

 

ZARZMA

 





Zarzma monastery is a monument of Georgian architecture in a village Zarzma, Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Adigeni municipality. There are a domed church, a bell tower and several single-naved chapels (some of them are ruined). A little bit farther of them is a well-known old spring. Other monastery buildings (Monastic cell, misericords, etc.) have not been preserved.

There are different opinions about the time of the Zarzma monastery foundation (VIII century, IX century). Originally it was founded by the early feudal Serapion Zarzmel from klarjeti, whose life is described in Basili Zarzmel's famous work. Giorgi Chorchaneli, the local head has helped him a lot and has donated villages and lands for the new monastery.

The Church of the Serapion, which has not been survived to us, was built by architectural Garbanel, and seems like it had a simple structure. The current cathedral and bell tower of Zarzma is built in the first years of the XIV century during the time of chief constable of Samtskhe, Beka. The oldest historical remains are the inscriptions of the last decades of the X century, which were inserted into the arch of the entrance of one of the chapels, which tells the story of David III great curapalate on going to war with Bardas skleros.

The Zarzma Cathedral is an important monument in which some of the new features of the Georgian architecture is shown (changes in the proportions of the building and the facade of the decoration etc.). The wall paintings are also important where besides traditional themes you can see portraits of Samtskhe rulers Jakels (Sargis, Beka the chief constable, Sargis II, Kuarkuare), as well as the portraits of historical figures of the XVI century (Bagrat III of Imereti King Serapion Khurtsidze and others).The bell tower of Zarzma monastery is one of the largest in Georgia and is one of the best examples of this type of Georgian buildings. In 1577 The new owners of Zarzma - Khurtsidzes, replaced the old part of the church with the new ones and gave the name of John the Apostle. At the beginning of the XX century the restoration of Zarzma Church, bell-tower and painting took place. As a result, the paintings were damaged.

The Zarzma Monastery was an important cultural-educational hub. 

 

 

SAPARA MONASTERY


Sapara is the medieval period monastery. It is located in Samtskhe-Javakheti, in Akhaltsikhe Municipality, near the village Ghreli at 1300 meters above sea level.  The monastery was the one the residence place of the Jakeli family. The monastery was constructed no later than X century. 

At the end of the XIII century, a new era starts for the Saphara monastery. in the 30th of the XIII, century Mongols has invaded the country. At this period Samtskhe is already separated from Georgia and the rulers of the territory - Jakeli family, recognize the Mongols' governance, however, they are still carrying with Georgian titles. During the period of XIII-XIV centuries, Jakeli family made Sapara as their residence and family graveyard.

At the border of the XVI and XVII centuries, when Turks have already resided in Samtskhe, Sapara became empty. All the painting and the treasure were taken to safe places. The main painting of Saint Saba has been placed in the church of village Chkhari in Imereti. The part of the treasure has been delivered to village Ardeti in Kartli.

According to the historical notes of Vakhushti Batonishvili at the beginning of the XVIII centuries, only one monk resided in the Sapara monastery. the monk from Sapara, George is mentioned in the scrip dated back to the 1773 year on the Zeda Tmogvi fortress.

Before the XIX century, Saphara was completely abandoned and ruined. the service started in 50th, at the beginning it was Georgian monks, however, in the 1893 year Russian monastery was established. The Russian monastery functioned until the Soviet Union. 


BORJOMI



Borjomi  is a resort town in south-central Georgia with a population of 10,546. It is one of the districts of the Samtskhe-Javakheti region and is situated in the northwestern part of the region in the picturesque Borjomi Gorge on the eastern edge of the Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. The town is noted for its mineral water industry (which is the number one export of Georgia), the Romanov summer palace in Likani, and the World Wide Fund for Nature-site Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. Borjomi mineral water is particularly well known in those countries which were part of the former Soviet Union; the bottling of mineral water is a major source of income for the area. Because of the supposed curative powers of the area's mineral springs, it is a frequent destination for people with health problems. Borjomi is also home to the most extensive ecologically-themed amusement park in the Caucasus.

In the Middle Ages, the area of what is now Borjomi was part of the Tori province. It was populated by a series of forts guarding the strategic crossroad of routes leading to the western, eastern, and southern provinces of Georgia. Three important forts – those of “Gogia”, “Petra”, and “Sali” – still overlook the town from nearby hills. From the 16th century into the 19th, the area belonged to the noble family of Avalishvili, but was largely depopulated as a result of Ottoman inroads.


 

BORJOMI-KHARAGAULI NATIONAL PARK is the first protected area in the Caucasus of its status. It was set up in the XXth century. It’s located in central Georgia, in the west from Tbilisi, within the distance of 140 km. nowadays it is regarded as the largest protected area in Europe. If you decide to visit that park, believe me, you will be satisfied and never regret that travel. A great journey is waiting for you, full of unforgettable emotions, inspirations, discovering the wild nature. You will never feel sated with wandering here, or looking at those picturesque panoramas all around you. You may say, this is a real Green Heaven. And the story of its foundation is really very interesting.. It’s told, that every cloud has a silver light, that’s exactly how it happened, when Georgia became the part of Russia. The viceroy Michael Romanov liked that place very much and decided to lay out here a great summer residence. From now on there was banned hunting and cutting the trees. That’s how was found Borjomi National Reserve here. Later, in 1995 the World Wide Fund for Nature, within the Deutsch Government named that place officially National Park.. 

Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park is the first park which has international standards in the whole region of Caucasus.

 

BAKURIANI

 

Bakuriani is a daba and a skiing resort in the Borjomi district of Georgia. It is located on the northern slope of the Trialeti Range, at an elevation of 1,700 meters (5,576 feet) above sea level.

The region around Bakuriani is covered by coniferous forests (mainly made up of spruce). The resort lies 30 km (19 mi) from Borjomi and is located within the so-called Bakuriani Depression/caldera. The resort is connected with Borjomi by an electrified narrow-gauge railway. The present-day area of the town was built up by lava flows from the nearby Mukhera volcano.

The ski area of the resort is split into two separate parts: Didveli and Kokhta/Kokhta-Mitarbi. Mount Kokhta provides a maximum skiable altitude of 2,269 metres (7,444 ft), whereas the highest lift in Didveli reaches 2,702 metres (8,865 ft).

The first ski base was opened in 1932. From Bakuriani to Kokhtagori Mountain (1.3 km) and Tskhratskaro Pass (3.5 km) there are ski lifts, ski tramps. There is artificial snowfall on Didveli skiing routes.

The climate of Bakuriani is transitional from humid maritime to relatively humid continental. The winters are cold and experience significant snowfall while the summers are long and warm. Average annual temperature of the town is 4.3 degrees Celsius. The average temperature in January is -7.3 degrees Celsius while the average August temperature is 15 degrees Celsius. The annual precipitation is 734 mm (28.9 in). The depth of snow from December to March is 64 cm (25.2 in). Bakuriani is also home to the Botanical Garden of the Georgian Academy of Sciences.

 

DISHES AND WINERY



Tenili is a unique Georgian cheese made in the regions of Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli. It can be produced from cow's or sheep's milk, but the most important thing is that the milk should have a high percentage of fat. The cheese is pressed and repeatedly stretched into thin strands, giving it a unique shape and visual appearance.


Since the process is a laborious one, tenili is typically prepared for big celebrations and feasts.

 

Tutmaji is another recipe from the south of Georgia. This noodle and yogurt soup uses only a handful of ingredients, but is unique with its use of texture. The pasta dough, made with just flour and water, is divided in half and formed into two separate types of noodles. One half is cut into short strips while the other is made into little balls and pan-fried until golden. Everything is boiled together, then yogurt is added for an interesting and comforting soup.

 

Kada has had a ritualistic load in eastern Georgia for a long time. This patty was baked in the New Year, Easter, altar table preparation.
Usually, the heart of Kadi was not sweet. We offer Meskhetian version of kadi made with pork. Kadi needs high quality pork.

 


Meskhuri Mtsvane is traditional and historical variety of wine. In meskheti, according to history was more than 300 variety of wine, but this mtsvane nowadays is very popular in Samtskhe-Jvakheti Region.

That was some pleaseful information about Samtske-Javakheti beautiful seightseeing. Our Service is 24/7 and fully attetionaly with clients.

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