Mts'khet'a Things to Do

  • Ruins of Bebris Tsikhe
    Ruins of Bebris Tsikhe
    by HORSCHECK
  • View from the Ruins of Bebris Tsikhe
    View from the Ruins of Bebris Tsikhe
    by HORSCHECK
  • Ruins of Bebris Tsikhe: Warning sign
    Ruins of Bebris Tsikhe: Warning sign
    by HORSCHECK

Most Recent Things to Do in Mts'khet'a

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    St. Nino Church

    by HORSCHECK Written Jul 13, 2014

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    The tiny St. Nino Church belongs actually to the Samtavro Monastery. It was built by King Mirian on the spot where Saint Nino used to held prayers for a couple of years. Saint Nino is Goeorgia's holiest saint, as she brought Christianity to the country in the year 337.

    The late antiquity church is one of the oldest Christian churches in Georgia. It was renovated several times during the centuries.

    Directions:
    The St. Nino Church is located on the walled grounds of the Samtavro Monastery. It stands just south east of the main Samtavro Church.

    St. Nino Church
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    Samtavro Monastery

    by HORSCHECK Written Jul 13, 2014

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    The building complex of the Samtavro Monastery is dominated by the 11th century Samtavro Church, which is home to the burial sites of the first Georgian Christian King Mirian and his wife Nana.

    The church stands on the site of a former 4th century wooden church of King Mirian.

    In the north western corner of the monastery complex stands a three-storey bell tower, which was erected in the 13th century.

    Directions:
    The Samtavro Monastery is located approximately 500 metres north of the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. It can be reached from the street Mirian Mephe.

    Samtavro Monastery Samtavro Monastery Samtavro Monastery and Bell Tower Samtavro Monastery: Bell Tower Samtavro Monastery: Bell Tower
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    Getsimania Monastery

    by HORSCHECK Written Jul 12, 2014

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    The small Getsimania Monastery is definitely one of the less visited sights in Mtskheta. I recognised it more by chance than on purpose when I walked along the Agmashenebeli Street.

    The monastery was founded in the 6th century on a site of a former synagogue. It was probably demolished during an invasion of the Arabs, but rebuilt in 2008.

    The interior walls are beautifully decorated with paintings of biblical scenes.

    Directions:
    The Getsimania Monastery is located approximately 500 metres west of Mtskheta's old town. It can be found near the Agmashenebeli Street just opposite to the Arsena Marabdeli Statue.

    Getsimania Monastery Inside the Getsimania Monastery Inside the Getsimania Monastery Getsimania Monastery: Wall painting Getsimania Monastery: Signpost at the main street
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    Arsena Marabdeli Statue

    by HORSCHECK Written Jul 12, 2014

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    Already from the minibus (marshrutka) to Mtskheta I noticed the Arsena Marabdeli Statue, which I later visited during my stay in the town. The statue was erected in 1949 and designed by Elene Machabeli.

    Arsena Marabdeli, who was actually named Arsena Odzelashvili, was a Georgian outlaw who fought for the abolition of serfdom.

    Directions:
    The Arsena Marabdeli Statue stands approximately 500 metres west of Mtskheta's old town, on the river side of the Agmashenebeli Street.

    Arsena Marabdeli Statue Arsena Marabdeli Statue
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    Ruins of Bebris Tsikhe

    by HORSCHECK Written Jul 12, 2014

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    The history of the ruins of Bebris Tsikhe (Elder's Fortress) date back to the middle ages, when the original fortress was built.

    Not much info is given about this place neither on the internet nor in the guide books. Still it is well worth a visit, due to its location on a small hill on the right bank of the Aragvi river. From here panoramic views of the surrounding area can be enjoyed.

    Direction:
    Bebris Tsikhe is situated about 1,5 kilometres north of Mtskheta's old town and can easily be seen from the Aghmashenebeli Street near the Samtavro Monastery.

    Ruins of Bebris Tsikhe Ruins of Bebris Tsikhe Ruins of Bebris Tsikhe View from the Ruins of Bebris Tsikhe Ruins of Bebris Tsikhe: Warning sign
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    Jvari Monastery

    by HORSCHECK Updated Jul 12, 2014

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    The Jvari Monastery (Monastery of the Cross) was constructed in the 6th century on the site of a former pagan temple, where later a wooden cross had been erected by Saint Nino.

    Since 1994 the Jvari Monastery together with the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and the Samtavro Monastery is UNESCO World Heritage listed.

    Directions:
    The Jvari Monastery sits on top of a hill, just east of the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers. It can be reached on foot via an approximately 6 km long path through the forrest. A taxi from Mtskheta's city centre costs about 10 Lari.

    Jvari Monastery Jvari Monastery Jvari Monastery Jvari Monastery
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    Antioch Church

    by HORSCHECK Written Jul 12, 2014

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    The history of the Antioch Church dates back to the early 5th century, when Saint Nino preached Christianity in Georgia.

    The single nave church is a fine example of early Christian architecture. It was extensively renovated in 2000 and now belongs to a nunnery.

    Directions:
    The Antioch Church is situated near the confluence of the rivers Aragvi and Mtkvari, in the south eastern corner of Mtskheta's old town.

    Antioch Church Antioch Church by night Sign at the Antioch Church
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    Svetitskhoveli Cathedral

    by HORSCHECK Written Jul 12, 2014

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    The Georgian Orthodox Svetitskhoveli Cathedral was built in the early 11th century on the site of a 4th century church. After Tbilisi's Holy Trinity Cathedral, it is Georgia's second largest church building.

    Religious legends say that Jesus' robe from his crucification is buried here, together with the sister of the citizen of Mtskheta who brought it from Jerusalem.

    Since the late 18th century the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is surrounded by a defensive wall with 8 towers.

    Since 1994 the cathedral together with other hictorical buildings in Mtskheta is UNESCO World Heritage listed.

    Directions:
    The Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is located right in the heart of Mtskheta's old town centre. The main entrance to the cathedral can be found on Arsukidze Street, just opposite of the Tourist Information Office.

    Svetitskhoveli Cathedral Svetitskhoveli Cathedral Svetitskhoveli Cathedral Svetitskhoveli Cathedral: Main entrance Svetitskhoveli Cathedral: Fresco
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    Guided tour of Svetitskhoveli Cathedral

    by SWFC_Fan Written Apr 28, 2014

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    We visited Svetitskhoveli Cathedral during a day trip from Tbilisi to Mtskheta in February 2013.

    We had first had a brief wander around the inside of the cathedral independently, but it was a rushed and uneasy visit. We were unsure what we were actually looking at and we were unsure whether we were allowed to take any photos. We were in and out within a few minutes and we didn't learn anything or get anything out of our visit.

    Soon after leaving the cathedral we were approached by a teenage girl who asked us, in perfect English, if we would like a guided tour of the cathedral for 10 GEL (£4.00).

    We would normally have declined her offer. Neither of us are religious and paying to look around a cathedral wouldn't ordinarily appeal to us. But for some reason we said yes. I think we thought that we were doing her a favour; she could practice her English and earn a little money while doing so.

    Whatever the reason, it proved to be a good decision. The girl gave us a comprehensive commentary on the history of the cathedral and pointed out lots of interesting sights that we would otherwise have overlooked or passed by without realising what they were.

    For example, she showed us the spot in the cathedral where it is believed that Jesus' robe is buried and pointed out a section of the actual cross that was used in his crucifixion. She then showed us a canvas which was reputedly placed on Jesus' face and miraculously painted itself. Apparently it sometimes appears with its eyes open and sometimes with its eyes closed.

    We saw the graves of various kings buried beneath the main church and saw parts of the foundations of the original church dating back to the 5th century.

    We were shown a door through which locals would go to hide from invading forces in times gone by and a well from which they had access to clean water whilst in hiding. Legend has it that there was a tunnel from the church to the nearby river, meaning that locals could survive in hiding for long periods of time, obtaining fish from the river and water from the well.

    After completing our tour of the inside of the cathedral we were taken outside to see the surrounding grounds. The girl showed us a carving on the outside of the church of a hand and a knife. An old myth went that the architect who designed Svetitskhoveli Cathedral had his hands cut off so that he couldn't build another church of such beauty. This was just a myth and not actually true.

    I'm not sure how much of what we were told during the tour is true and how much is myth. In all honesty, I didn't believe much of what we were told, but it made for a very interesting tour nonetheless!

    Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Mtskheta Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Mtskheta Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Mtskheta Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Mtskheta Inside Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Mtskheta

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    The Fortress of Bebris Tsikhe

    by SWFC_Fan Written Mar 19, 2013

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    We paid a brief visit to The Fortress of Bebris Tsikhe ("The Elder's Fortress"; built in the 14th Century) during a day trip to Mtskheta in February 2013.

    This ruined castle is located a little way north of the city centre. It took us around 15 minutes to walk the 1.2km or so along Davit Aghmashenebelis qucha from Samtavro Church to reach the fortress.

    We passed stray dogs, a herd of roaming cattle and a few landslide warning signs before making the steep climb up the loose stone path to the ruins.

    At the top, as we wandered around and between the crumbling walls, we were rewarded with views over the Aragvi River and the rather sorry looking Teatron Park.

    On a grassy area adjacent to the ruined walls, a large crowd of locals had congregated and appeared to be carrying out some sort of religious ceremony.

    Directions: Located around 1.5km north of the city centre, just off Davit Aghmashenebelis qucha.

    The Fortress of Bebris Tsikhe, Mtskheta The Fortress of Bebris Tsikhe, Mtskheta The Fortress of Bebris Tsikhe, Mtskheta Climbing up to The Fortress of Bebris Tsikhe Views from The Fortress of Bebris Tsikhe, Mtskheta

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    Samtavro Cemetery

    by kokoryko Written Apr 28, 2012

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    The Samtavro cemetery excavations can be visited with the ticket you buy for the museum visit.
    These excavations look quite spectacular for those who are not used to see big necropolis from the antiquity.
    The cemetery dates back to the 3rd millennium BC and several periods of “activity” have been identified till the 10th century AD and various periods can be identified in the stratigraphy the archaeologists try to depict from the excavations.
    This site is still under examination and there is not a lot of information and the artefacts found in the graves are not visible. I visited here shortly, as it rained cats and dogs, it was a bit a strange atmosphere in this place where you see these old stones.

    Directions: location

    Website: http://heritagesites.ge/?lang=eng&page=398

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    Mtskheta archaeological museum

    by kokoryko Written Apr 28, 2012

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    That is the kind of museums which have lots and lots of interesting items and where there are almost no explanations; that leaves a lot of space for imagination and interpretation, but, seriously, if one of the guides from the museum had not guided me for free (I gave her a French course in return) and explained about the people who lived in the area in early historical times (Iberia, I never heard about Iberia (except the one on the other side of the Pyrenees!) before I visited Georgia), about the excavations, the visit would not have been that interesting.
    The small items we see displayed here in the pictures were probably not toys, but I like the idea kids were playing with them. This type of statuettes is found in the early settlements of the Middle East, (The Fertile crescent), and here further North, we were not far from Noah’s place.
    The items you see on the photographs are more than 4000 years old, and you can be amazed by the artistic and technological skills people mastered at that time.
    The entrance at the museum allows you to visit the Samtavro excavation site located few hundred metres from the museum.


    10am-5pm, except Mondays.
    Entrance, 3 GEL

    Website: http://heritagesites.ge/?lang=eng&page=302

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    Svetistkhoveli Cathedral of Mtskheta (2)

    by kokoryko Written Apr 28, 2012

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    Inside Svetistkhoveli Cathedral the visitors will discover exceptional chapels, frescoes and icons. As there are many pilgrims and worshippers, the religious atmosphere adds to the beauty of the cathedral.
    Some of the paints on the walls, ceilings are from the 13th century, but most are from the 19th century, as the “Russian Orthodox church did not like the Georgian style of painting” (quoting a guide). In this cathedral are many icons and among very interesting things inside are chapels of very different style, one massive, (picture 3), a reproduction of the Holy Sepulchre, and another, very light and “baroque”, covered with paints and icons (picture 4). There are other “monuments in the monument”, and the visit of this cathedral can take a few hours, once you get fascinated by all these paints.
    The huge Christ in Majesty (picture 5) you can see in the apse is an example of 19th century Russian paint, which replaced some older paint.
    This is one of the most impressive and beautiful interior of a church I have visited ever; if you are in Tbilisi, it is really worth to visit this place.

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    Svetistkhoveli Cathedral of Mtskheta

    by kokoryko Written Apr 28, 2012

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    The pillar of life is what mean the name of the cathedral; Svetitskhoveli cathedral has long been the most important of the country, and lots of Georgian were angry when the Trinity church has been built in Tbilisi, at the turn of the 21st century.
    This big church, laid out like a cross is interesting to visit, outside and inside, and here are some of the finest religious art examples, which are not in museums.
    Very fine sculptures (picture 2) or low reliefs (picture 3, sorry for the scaffoldings) can be seen when walking around the church. The window frames are also beautifully carved on different types of stones, and everywhere you find figures of saints or angels (picture 4) and the original bull’s heads for the copies which are on the Eastern façade (picture 2); the bulls heads and other sculptures date from the original church built during the 4th century and have been re-used when the actual cathedral has been erected on the ruins of the old one. These bulls heads, pheasants, and other animals are thought to be remnants of primitive Christianity in the area, a sort of mix with the local animist religion.
    More carving skills on this cross (picture 5) in the middle of a high wall; it is very interesting to walk around this church, as there is no opportunity to walk easily around the churches in Tbilisi, and one cannot have perspectives there or open views in the narrow streets; here, there is space around and it offers a lot to the visitor.

    General view Bull's head
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    Mtskheta and St Nino

    by kokoryko Written Apr 28, 2012

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    Mtskheta is a very old city which is best visited on feet; I walked along one of the rivers, looking at the houses and the hills in the far, enjoying the cool weather (it would rain soon), after having visited the cathedral. Nice in the city are the fortifications around the cathedral and the small renovated houses in small narrow streets near the cathedral, but even more nice was a small café, located in a not renovated house: small shelters made of braided wood, old tables, a strange sculpture on a branch in the middle of the yard (picture 3), an excellent refreshing beer; the owners of the Guga café, located half way between the cathedral and the museum were very welcoming and kind, and offered me some plums to take with me. .
    Mtskheta was the capital city of Iberia (Kartlia) during 7 centuries and it is here that Nino from Cappadocia convinced the royal family to embrace the Christian religion in 327.
    Nino is one of the most important historical (and legendary) characters of Georgia: lots of girls in Georgia are named Nino! Nino’s father, a Roman general was from the same family as St George (yes, the one who killed the dragon) and her mother was from the family of the patriarch of Jerusalem. In addition to converting thousands of people to Christianity, Nino is known to have done many miracles in Anatolia and Georgia.
    So, this city of Mtskheta is the heart of Georgia in some way, and the cathedral reflects that, but other monuments are quite rare and well hidden like this small church (picture 4), Antioch church, 4th century, which was not accessible behind the stone walls.

    The café is located on the A point of this map

    Directions: Bus from Didube station (2 GEL) or taxi (15GEL)

    And Jvari Monastery on the hill Little caf�� Private church. . :)
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