K'ut'aisi Things to Do
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Not far from Kutaisi, before the turn off for Gelati Monastery, is a road that takes you to an older and smaller monastery that stands on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Tskhaltsitela river gorge. This is Motsameta Monastery, founded in the 8th century. It was built in honor of Davit and Konstantin Mkheidze, dukes of Argveti, who were killed by Arabs in the 720s for refusing to accept Islam as their religion and thrown into the gorge below. The river's name means "Red Water" and refers to the Arab massacre in the 8th century. The church and bell-tower that exist today, were built by Bagrat III in the 11th century.
There is a small parking lot, a decent restroom with pretty clean toilets, a small snack shack selling cold drinks, and a few souvenier vendor stands. It's not really a big attraction, but it does have a nice cut-stone road leading down to the church, a scenic overview of the gorge, and an active church. Women must wear skirts and scarves, men must wear pants. If they do not, both sexes will have to don black wrap-around cover-ups in order to cross the small bridge to the church courtyard.
On the hill on the west side of the Rioni River just north of Shota Rustaveli Avenue, is a nice little amusement park with a walk-on ferris wheel and other rides. It is very shady and cool in the hot summer sun and there is a new outdoor restaurant in the southwest corner of the park. The restaurant has indoor seating in rooms of various sizes if you want to eat sheltered from the weather. Also by the restaurant is a brown bear in a cage.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
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The Gelati Monastery consists of several buildings including the large Cathedral of the Virgin, a smaller church of St. George (mid-13th century), a belfry (late 13th century), a natural spring, and an archeological site with medieval wine qveris, a south gate (early 12th century) where you can see King David the Builder's gravestone, under which he is buried. The Cathedral of the Virgin was built by King David the Builder in 1106-25 AD. Gelati Monastery is noted for having well-preserved religious frescos. Here an academy was established to continue religious traditions such as three-part harmonic chanting. There are also a lot of souvenier stands here.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Religious Travel