Mtskheta
Churches & Cathedrals

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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.  Follow the road to Samtavro Monastery. 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 medievel 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. 

Tbilisi: Cave Town, Gori, Mtskheta Private Tour

3. 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: 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!

Mtskheta, Ananuri, Gudauri and Kazbegi Tour from Tbilisi

5. 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.

Georgia: Day-Trip to Mtskheta, Stalin Museum & Uplistsikhe

6. Georgia: Day-Trip to Mtskheta, Stalin Museum & Uplistsikhe

Start your tour at your accomodation in Tbilisi where your driver/guide will be waiting to meet you. After a short meet and greet you will set-off to your first location, starting your sightseeing adventure for the day! After a short and scenic drive your first stop will be Jvari Church (6th -7th cc), the most important religious center and an architectural masterpiece of medieval Georgia. Enjoy the breathtaking view from the church that towers over the city of Mtskheta. Continue on to Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, known as the burial site of Christ's robe and the second largest church building in the country. The Cathedral has long been the principal Georgian church and remains one of the most venerated places of worship to this day. Take an excursion to Uplistsikhe Cave Town, an ancient cave town and one of the oldest urban settlements in Georgia. The town represents a complex of various structures dating from the 12th-century. BC to the 17th-century. AD. Finish your tour at the Stalin Museum in Gori, dedicated to the life of Joseph Stalin. This museum is the perfect location for any Stalin or politic enthusiasts. End your day in comfort with a relaxing car ride back to your accomodation in Tbilisi. 

From Tbilisi: Private Tour to Jvari Monastery and Mtskheta

7. From Tbilisi: Private Tour to Jvari Monastery and Mtskheta

Explore the former capital of Georgia on this half-day tour. After getting picked up from your hotel, head to your first stop of the day, Jvari Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located just outside Mtskheta. Learn all about the monastery's historical architectural structures and admire the beauty of the surrounding area from the mountaintop where the building is located.  Next, continue to one of Georgia's oldest cities, Mtskheta, another World Heritage Site. Stroll through the narrow streets of the city and admire its unique architecture. Pay a visit to the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and discover the fascinating story behind its construction. You will also visit a 6th-century church where you can admire panoramic views of the city and the point where two rivers converge. At the end of your tour, get dropped off back at your hotel in Tbilisi.

From Tbilisi: Mtskheta and Kazbegi Tour with Gourmet Lunch

8. From Tbilisi: Mtskheta and Kazbegi Tour with Gourmet Lunch

Start your day with a pickup at your accommodation. Sit back and enjoy the ride as you head towards Kazbegi. Passing by the old capital of Georgia, you will visit the Jvari monastery first, built in the 7th Century. Next, you will head towards Jhinvali Dam, made during the Soviet era in Georgia. Only ten minutes drive away, you will stop at Ananuri Castle. Passing by Gudauri ski resort, you will stop by a panoramic viewpoint to admire the Great Caucasus Mountain Range. Continue towards Kazbegi Village, a top destination in Georgia for its unique people, landscapes, and food. Finish your day by riding a 4WD ride to reach Gergeti Trinity Church and explore above the clouds. Then, enjoy a delicious lunch before driving back to Tbilisi.

Tbilisi: Guided Mtskheta, Gori, and Uplistsikhe Tour

9. 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.

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.

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What people are saying about Mtskheta

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 48 reviews

Fantastic day trip, Lasha was a brilliant guide, very knowledgeable and interesting, I learnt a lot about Georgian history the sites we visited. Lasha clearly has a ton of experience as a guide and we were also lucky to have some lovely fellow passengers on our tour. Highly recommend. Thanks May for the great communication throughout, it really feels like we're in safe hands while you're managing things :)

Very interesting and complete excursion. Delicious homestay meal with Georgian dancing to boot. The sites are in beautiful locations. A special thought to Katherine, our guide. She is excellent and does everything for our well being. Many thanks to her. Excursion recommended.

Both our guide Lika and our driver Georgia were wonderful. Lika was knowledgeable, kind and very flexible with our itinerary. Well worth the surcharge to get a private tour.

An excellent excursion for history lovers, plus stunningly beautiful places! Special thanks to the guide Niko!

Excellent experience , beautiful views. Must do tour ! Our guide Mr. Metro was awesome 10/10. Loved it