Niso

Niso

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On day 4 we arrived in Kutaisi. My first thoughts were to get out of the city as soon as possible. The city was very grey and sad. The car plunged into holes on the main road. A heavy rain filled the holes with the water which made them difficult to see. Our Hotel in Kutaisi city center was terrible. I had to rebook the place as our plan was to stay in this city for 2 days.

Kutaisi

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Samtskhe-Javakheti is a region in the southern part of Georgia. It is split by the mountains, so that half of it is in the western, and the other half in the eastern part of the country. Existence of mountains obviously affects the landscape - from the springs of Borjomi to the ancient cave city of Vardzia. The region is very diverse - mountainous, traversed by ravines, springs, and lakes, as well as large and fast rivers.

Samtskhe-Javakheti’s location at the crossroads of three civilizations contributed to the intense development of relations between the ancient cultures of Georgia, Asia Minor, and the Middle East. Archaeological remains show that the area was particularly advanced by the Bronze Age and developed further through the medieval period. Today many monuments still stand to tell they're remarkable stories. (source georgia.travel). Samtskhe-Javakheti is great for horse-riding, mountain biking, rafting, hiking and skiing (cross country and downhill as well as off-piste). Getting to the region from Tbilisi became also easier recently - new road means one can get there in just about two hours from Tbilisi.

Green Monastery

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On day 3 we drove to Akhaltsikhe. Why? Akhaltsikhe is the perfect location to explore the Samtskhe- Javakheti Region. The hotel was not the best one but as soon as you do not have any expectations it won't bother you anymore. We arrived in Akhaltsikhe late in the evening. Akhaltsikhe is a tiny city and it is famous because of Rabati Castle.

A wonderful walk to the Rabati Castle and a lovely dinner made the perfect end of day 3.  

Akhaltsikhe Fortress (Rabati Castle)

- the 18th-century fortress and is often called the symbol of tolerance. I think it would be fair to remind that the Castle was renovated with the assistance of Poland. The Castle occupies around 7 hectares and has recently been returned to its original appearance. A church, a mosque, a minaret, a synagogue, Jaqelebi Palace, the historic museum, old baths, and a citadel, have been restored on the territory of Rabat Castle. The museum located in the castle accommodates rare and well preserved archeological and ethnographical materials, old manuscripts detailing the stories of the region including a fragment of the manuscript of “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin,” Georgia’s most famous poem, consisting of over 1600 verses and written in the 12th century at the Royal Court of Queen Tamar of Georgia. (source: georgia.travel) The castle still smells with the fresh paint and recent construction, but it is nice to walk around and is beautifully illuminated at night.

Rabati Georgia

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