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Mtskheta

Our most recommended things to do in Mtskheta

Tbilisi: Mtskheta, Jvari, Gori and Uplistsikhe Day Tour

1. Tbilisi: Mtskheta, Jvari, Gori and Uplistsikhe Day Tour

Explore one of the most mysterious regions of Georgia – Kartli and hear a lot about the country's history. First, visit memorable Uplistsikhe cave-town and dive into the antique life of Georgia. Then, find out more interesting facts in Gori, the hometown of the most famous Georgian, Stalin, and see the unique old capital of Georgia – Mtskheta, where you visit two UNESCO heritage sites Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Your first stop is Uplistsikhe, an antique rock-hewn town in eastern Georgia. It contains multiple structures dating from the Early Iron Age to the Late Middle Ages. It is notable for the unique mixture of various rock-cut cultures from Anatolia and Iran's pagan and Christian architecture coexistence. After exploring Uplistsikhe, you have a chance to have lunch in the region and try delicious local food. After lunch, you have two options, have free time and explore Gori, the hometown of Stalin, or visit Stalin Museum, which is a museum dedicated to the life of Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, who was born in Gori. The Museum retains its Soviet-era characteristics, Stalin's Original house, and Stalin's railway carriage. The next stop is Jvari Monastery. The name of this monastery is translated as the "Monastery of the Cross." Jvari Monastery is the 6th-century Georgian Orthodox monastery near Mtskheta. Along with other historic structures of Mtskheta, it is listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO. Jvari Monastery stands on the rocky mountain top at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, overlooking the town of Mtskheta, which was formerly the capital of the kingdom of Iberia. The last site on tour is Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta. UNESCO recognizes Mtskheta as a World Heritage site due to its historical significance and several cultural monuments. It was the capital of the early Georgian Kingdom of Iberia from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD. Svetitskhoveli is known as the burial site of Christ's robe and has been one of the principal Georgian Orthodox churches and is among the region's most venerated places of worship.

Mtskheta: Ancient Capital of Georgia Private Half-Day Tour

2. Mtskheta: Ancient Capital of Georgia Private Half-Day Tour

Begin your journey at Jvari. Enjoy a beautiful view of the ancient city and its natural beauty. Continue to Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, located in the Holy City.  Visit the urban area of Mtskheta, a renewed, stunning town. Explore the little shops and picturesque architecture. Take the opportunity to relax with a glass of wine.  Travel to the Shio-Mgvime monastery, a medieval monastic complex, located in the forest on the bank of the river Kura. Pass through a limestone canyon on the way. End your trip with lunch on the river bank. 

From Tbilisi: Mtskheta, Uplistsikhe, Gori Day Trip

3. From Tbilisi: Mtskheta, Uplistsikhe, Gori Day Trip

Explore the key historical sites of central Georgia, focusing on three different eras: the pagan period, the Christian period, and the Soviet period. Join your guide and a small group to witness the history of Georgia unfold on this full-day tour from Tbilisi.   After pickup from your hotel, your first stop will be the cave town of Uplistsikhe. Its caves and tunnels create a marvelous structure of natural architecture which still holds remnants of its ancient pagan culture.   Then, visit the nearby town of Gori and see the pompous Soviet Museum dedicated to Joseph Stalin, who was born here. After Gori, you’ll drive 1 hour to Mtskheta, the old capital of Georgia, where the country’s conversion to Christianity started in the 4th century. See the Svetiskhoveli cathedral and the monastery of Jvari, built on a high hill above the town.   Finally, see the Georgian Stonehenge, an impressive monument of Georgian history off the beaten path. Return to Tbilisi for drop off at your hotel.

Mtskheta: Day Tour to Oldest City in Georgia

4. Mtskheta: Day Tour to Oldest City in Georgia

Visit Mtskheta, one of oldest cities of Georgia near Tbilisi. Mtskheta was the capital of the early Georgian Kingdom of Iberia from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD. Here Georgians accepted Christianity in 317 and, today, Mtskheta remains the headquarters of the Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church. Experience Jvari Monastery, a Georgian Orthodox monastery of the 6th century near Mtskheta and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name is translated as the "Monastery of Cross." The great church represents the peak of architectural typology. It is a true architectural masterpiece overlooking the confluence of Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers from the top of the hill. Next, Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Built in the 11th century, the site itself is even older and dates back to the early 4th century. It differs in its artistic value, magnificence, harmony and the special role it has played in the history. The monument has an elongated cross which appears to touch the sky. It was the main pilgrimage place on the Silk Road, the burial place of Christ's robe and the tomb place of Georgian Kings. The cathedral is the second largest church building in Georgia and is listed as a UNSECO World Heritage Site along with other historical monuments of Mtskheta. Discover Samtavro Monastery complex, built in the 11th century. It contains the grave of Queen Nana and Mirian III and the King of Iberia, who established Christianity as an official religion in Georgia. The famous Georgian monk Gabrieli is buried inside the Samtavro church as well. Don't forget to stop by Wine Degustation, where you can taste and buy Georgian wine!

Tbilisi: Cave Town, Gori, Mtskheta Private Tour

5. Tbilisi: Cave Town, Gori, Mtskheta Private Tour

Explore one of the most mysterious regions of Georgia. Visit the cave town of Uplistsikhe, Stalin's hometown of Gori, and the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Mtskheta. Start at the cave town of Uplistsikhe, an antique rock-hewn town in eastern Georgia. View its unique mixture of cut-out cultures from Anatolia and Iran's pagan and Christian architecture, then pause to purchase a local lunch. Next, visit, Gori, the hometown of Stalin. Explore the town or visit the Stalin Museum, including the dictator's old house and railway carriage. Follow that with a trip to Jvari Monastery. Admire this 6th-century Orthodox structure which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy the view from the rocky mountain top down onto the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers. Conclude your tour at the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta, the old capital of Georgia, another World Heritage Site. Spend some time at a location known as the burial site of Christ's robe, which is among the region's most venerated places of worship.

Mtskheta, Ananuri, Gudauri and Kazbegi Tour from Tbilisi

6. Mtskheta, Ananuri, Gudauri and Kazbegi Tour from Tbilisi

Benefit from pick-up at your hotel in Tbilisi, and then drive by air-conditioned minivan to the ancient capital of the Kingdom of Iberia in Mtskheta. Visit the beautiful 6th-century Jvari Monastery to experience one of the most important monuments in Georgia. Next, head to Zhinvali to see the largest reservoir in eastern Georgia. Continue to the castle complex of Ananuri on the Aragvi River and learn about the feudal dynasty that ruled the area from the 13th century. Get back to nature in the Caucasus Mountains and visit the ski resort of Gudauri. See an impressive example of public art at the Russia–Georgia Friendship Monument on the Georgian Military Highway. Head to the Gergeti Trinity Church perched 2,170 meters above sea level. Get 2.5 hours of free time in the town of Kazbegi (also known as Stepantsminda) before the return trip to Tbilisi in the late evening.

Mtskheta, Gori, and Upliscikhe Private Tour

7. Mtskheta, Gori, and Upliscikhe Private Tour

Escape the crowds and visit the oldest city of Georgia, Mtskheta, which used to be the capital in the early Georgian Kingdom of Iberia from the 3rd-century BC to the 5th-century BC. Enjoy panoramic aerial views of the mountains around the Jvari Monastery, which was Georgian Orthodox in the 6th-century. The name translates as the Monastery of the Cross. It represents the peak of architectural typology as a true masterpiece of the early Medi period. It overlooks the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers from the top of the hill.  Journey back to the early centuries at the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and Samtavro Church. Svetitskhoveli Cathedral was built in the 11th-century but the site itself is even older, dating back to the early 4th-century. It differs in artistic value and the special role that it has played in history. The monument has an elongated cross which appears to touch the sky. It was the main pilgrimage place on the Silk Road, the burial place of the Christ"s Robe, and the tomb of Georgian Kings. The cathedral is the second largest church building in Georgia and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Samtavro monastery complex was built in the 11th-century. It contains the graves of queen Nana and Mirian III King of Iberia, who established Christianity as an official religion in Georgia. The famous Georgian monk Gabrieli is also buried inside the Samtavro church. Complete your tour of Mtskheta with a Georgian wine degustation. In Gori-Uplistsikhe, visit several sites from different periods of Georgian history, including Uplistsikhe cave town, Joseph Stalin’s home museum, and Gori fortress. Uplistsikhe, translated to Fortress of the Lord, is a cave town fortress situated on a rocky massif on the bank of the river Mtkvari. Dating back to the first and second millennium BC, Uplistsikhe was an important religious, political, and cultural center in the Hellenistic and the late Antique periods. Take a walk among the ancient streets, rock-carved theatre, royal halls, pharmacy, pagan temples, and Christian churches, while the remains of granaries and large clay wine vessels give clues as to the daily life of the inhabitants.  Continue to the Joseph Stalin Museum in Gori. Stalin was originally Georgian and the secretary general of the Communist Party during the second world war. He is one of the most influential dictators of modern times. The museum features Stalin’s home, a hut where he was born, his armour plated railway carriage, and a statue that controversially stood in the main square of Gori until 2010. In addition, see many items owned by Stalin, including some of his office furniture, his personal belongings, and gifts given to him over the years. Gori Fortress is a medi citadel in Georgia. It stands above the city of Gori on a rocky hill. Archaeological evidence shows that the area was already inhabited in the final centuries BC. The fortress controlled major strategic and economic routes and accommodated a large garrison.

Tbilisi: Guided Mtskheta, Gori, and Uplistsikhe Tour

8. Tbilisi: Guided Mtskheta, Gori, and Uplistsikhe Tour

Your tour will begin in the morning as you are picked up from your hotel, after which you will begin with a drive through the fertile lands of the Kartli region. Your first stop is the 6th-century Jvari Monastery, which is located 19 kilometers away from Tbilisi. Here you will receive an introductory story of the area, whilst enjoying the wonderful panorama of the conjunction of the two rivers Aragvi and Mtkvari, the Armazi Mountains, and the city of Mtskheta. You will then drive 88 kilometers west of Tbilisi to Gori, a city in the Kartli province. Gori was an important military stronghold in the Middle Ages, and at the foot of a sand-stone hill stands the Medieval Gori Fortress Tskhra-kara. You will do a short walk around the area, before then continuing to the Stalin Museum. Excursions in Joseph Stalin's museum will take about 30 minutes, with the museum consisting of 3 sites. Following your museum tour, you will drive to the ancient temple town of Uplistsikhe. Translated as the “Fortress of the Lord“ and dating back to the 6th century B.C., this town is mentioned in the "Chronicles of the 1st Century A.D". Here the echoing halls, long meandering corridor-streets, chambers of pagan worship, and even the remains of the oldest theater in Georgia are all carved into the rocky plateau and waiting to be explored. You will then drive back to Tbilisi passing through the ancient capital Mtskheta, which presents a living museum including the UNESCO Heritage Listed Site of the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, as well as other architectural landmarks. You can take a walk through the historical part of town, and enjoy a relaxing evening tasting local sweets at the souvenir shopping rows.

Mtskheta, Gori and Uplistsikhe Full-Day Tour

9. Mtskheta, Gori and Uplistsikhe Full-Day Tour

You will be picked up from your hotel at 10:00 AM and will travel to Mtskheta, the previous capital of Georgia. Mtskheta is an ancient town of extraordinary importance to the Georgian nation and is located about 20 km out of Tbilisi. It was the capital of the eastern Georgian kingdom of Iberia from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD. It was also the site of Georgia's adoption of Christianity in 334 and remains the headquarters of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Mtskheta is of primary interest to any travelers interested in Georgian history or Orthodox Christianity. During the tour, you will see Svetitskhoveli Orthodox cathedral, located in the historic town and built in the 11th century. Walk in the old city, and visit Djvari monastery, built in the 6th century. You have the opportunity to take photos with a very beautiful view of Mtskheta.  At 1:30 PM, you will visit Gori town where the Joseph Stalin Museum is located. Joseph Stalin’s Museum was established in 1951 as a local history museum but clearly intended to become a memorial to Stalin, who died in 1953. The main building of the complex is a large palace in Stalinist Gothic style. The exhibition is divided into six halls in roughly chronological order and contains many items actually or allegedly owned by Stalin. There is also much illustration by way of documentation, photographs, paintings and newspaper articles.  At 4:00 PM, visit Uplistsikhe town, an ancient rock-hewn town in eastern Georgia, some 62 miles west of Tbilisi. Uplistsikhe is identified by archaeologists as one of the oldest urban settlements in Georgia. The central part of Upliscikhe is the largest and contains a bulk of the Uplistsikhe rock-cut structures. Narrow alleys and sometimes staircases radiate from the central street to the different structures. End your day trip with a return to your hotel at 7:30 PM. 

Full-Day Tbilisi & Mtskheta Tour

10. Full-Day Tbilisi & Mtskheta Tour

Even if you only have a short time in Georgia, you have to spend at least a half-day exploring Tbilisi’s Old Town. The architecture in the city’s historic district is a beautiful mixture of Georgian, Byzantine, Oriental and Neo-Classical European styles. It dates back more than 1,500 years and was founded by Vakhtang Gorgasali, King of Georgia (known as Iberia at the time) in the second half of the 5th-Century AD. The name derives from the Georgian word for warm, “T'pili.” Sliced by the River Mtkvari, which divides the city west and east, the lovely setting is ripe for exploring. Among the sites you will visit is the Greek Orthodox Anchiskhati Basilica, the city’s oldest church. You will also see the 13th-Century Churches of Sioni and Metekhi, the magnificent Narikala Fortress, perched on a hill with superb views of the city below, and the classical Freedom Square. Continue to one of Tbilisi’s newest attractions, the Bridge of Peace, which opened in 2010 over the River Mtkvari (also known as the Kura River). Tbilisi’s compact size means you can easily explore the nearby Synagogue, Armenian Church and Mosque, in addition to the Georgian Orthodox churches so fundamental to Georgian culture. Peaceful co-existence of the various religions helps emphasize Georgian tolerance. End your Tbilisi walking tour with a visit to the sulfur baths quarter of Abanotubani to see the most famous bath, Chreli Abano. According to legend, it was when King Vakhtang Gorgasali’s falcon companion fell that Tbilisi’s “warm” sulfur springs were discovered; helping to give it its Georgian name. Continue in the afternoon to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mtskheta, capital of Georgia (formerly Iberia) from the 3rd-Century BC until the 5th-Century AD. It was the site of early Christian activity, and the place where Christianity was proclaimed as the state religion of Georgia in 319. Located about 12 miles (20 kilometers) northwest of Tbilisi at the confluence of the Rivers Mtkvari and Aragvi, Mtskheta remains the center of the Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church. After a drive to Mtskheta by comfortable air-conditioned coach you will explore the restored streets of the Old Town and visit the most important architectural monuments, such as the 6th-Century Jvari Monastery erected on a hill that overlooks the town. Take in the stunning views of the town and the merging of the rivers. Continue to Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, the main seat of the Catholic Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church. The cathedral contains an important masterpiece of Christian church wall painting that you must peek inside to see. You will then be transferred back to Tbilisi for your hotel drop-off.

Other Sightseeing Options in Mtskheta

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What people are saying about Mtskheta

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 598 reviews

I'm not the type to book tours, normally I would rather try to discover things on my own, but the tour with Lika was great: found out a lot about the history of Georgia, people, used cars, orthodox churches and other things along the way. All this in a natural and relaxed manner. The highlight was the lunch at family garden with great food, folk dancing and smiles all around. Definitely worth the money.

A fantastic tour that lives up entirely to the description. It not only ticked all the boxes, but was such a lovely way to meet new people. I have gone to all of these sites before, but wanted to bring my mom along for a second time. Even so, I wasn’t bored and was glad to have a refresher because our guide brought such great insights. The lunch at the local home was a fantastic touch—don’t miss it!

It was easy to meet with the guide. He was easy going, had an excellent English and was super friendly. The trip was well organised, no bad surprises, you get what is said. The price was honest and fair. Even the lunch at the local family was great. It was a long day but totally worth it. Thank you Gio for this amazing day and sharing so much about Georgian people and Georgian history and culture!

This tour is highly recommended if you are interested in the history of Georgia. Len, our tour guide did a great job. Specially in the Stalin's museum. Excellent presentation.

An excellent tour with professional team and very good organization. Amazing views and historical background, that's why to take this tour for sure, you'll never regret!