We headed to Mtskheta destination which is one of the oldest cities of Georgia and is located approximately 20 kms to the northwest of Tbilisi at the junction of the Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers. It was the ancient capital of the Eastern Georgian Kingdom from 3rd to 5th Century BCE. It is claimed to be the place where christianity proclaimed itself as the official religion of the Kingdom. It takes less than 30 minutes to reach Mtskheta from Tbilisi.
Our first stop was to Svetitskhoveli Cathedral which is one of the biggest churches in the country and is listed as one of the UNESCO world heritage sites. This Cathedral was the religious center for all the Christians for many centuries. It is believed that Jesus’s robe was buried in the church. It is the burial place of Jesus Christ’s Shroud.
The pathway to the cathedral is filled with shops if you want to grab something or buy some souvenirs. One interesting thing I would like to mention here is about Churchkhela which is a traditional Georgian candle-shaped candy which you can find all across Georgia. The main ingredients are grape must, nuts and flour. People say that they were consumed by the soldiers during the war times to help them not to starve and also to maintain their energy level.
Have a look at the churchkhela’s below ! Doesn’t it look weird ? 😛 Yes, but it tastes like any other chocolate 😀 . Yummy indeed 🙂 . Never miss to taste it when you visit georgia 🙂 .
Let me take you through an interesting belief 🙂
Jesus’s robe was brought to georgia by a georgian jew named Elias from Jerusalem which was given to him by a roman soldier after jesus’s crucifixion. When he brought it, he was met by St. Sidonia who died after holding the robe. They say at the same place , the church was built and St.Sodonia was buried. Later, they noticed a tree growing on the place where St.Sidonia was buried. So, St.Nino ordered to prepare seven pillars from the tree but the last one rose by itself onto the air. Due to this, they named the church as Svetitskhoveli which means Live Pillar in Georgian. Something nice to know isn’t it ? 🙂
Another thing to know is that it was built in the 11th century A.D during the time of King Giorgi 1 but they claim that it was built in the 4th century A.D but was damaged many times. It was the site chosen by St.Nino as the place for the first church in Georgia. It is also the place where the Georgian Kings were crowned and buried. 🙂
We felt happy we visited this place which is considered to be second most holiest place for Christians after Jerusalem. 🙂 something to cherish for 😀 . We spent around 1.5 hours in this place.
Our next stop was to Jvari monastery , a georgian orthodox monastery which is called the Monastery of the cross from the 6th Century A.D architecture. The distance from Svetitskhoveli to reach Jvari monastery is around 20 minutes. Another beautiful place to fall in the list of UNESCO world heritage sites 🙂
This place is located on the top of the mountain with an amazing view of the meeting of the two rivers mtkvari and aragvi along with the beautiful view of the Mtskheta city which makes it more attractive 🙂 . It was really a hot day for us but we enjoyed this place as it offered mesmerizing panoramic views. 🙂
Another interesting belief to know 🙂
On this location in the early 4th century A.D St. Nino, who was credited with converting King Mirian III of Iberia to Christianity, erected a large wooden cross on the site of a pagan temple. It marked the end of paganism in the region. The cross was reportedly able to work miracles and attracted pilgrims from all over the Caucasus. A small church was erected over the remnants of the wooden cross in 545 A.D named the “Small Church of Jvari”. The present Jvari is generally is claimed to have been built between 590 A.D and 605 A.D by Erismtavari Stepanoz I. We spent around 1 hour in this place.
After Jvari Monastery , we headed to our next stop which completely stunned us. Something we had never seen before. Stay tuned for it buddies 😉 .
I hope these pics will make you visit Georgia whenever you plan your next travel. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment here
Photo Credits : Pallavi Ravindra
Tips & Information
Please check if you have an on-arrival visa to Georgia from this linkhttps://www.evisa.gov.ge/GeoVisa/en/VisaApp
Please Note that there is no visa fees If you are exempted from getting visa to Georgia.
For the food, Georgia offers varieties of foods and restaurants from different countries. You can always check online. For Breakfast, We were offered usual stuffs Salads, Cheese Bread etc.
To reach Tbilisi , You can take any of these flights from GCC countries Air Arabia, Fly Dubai and Gulf Air. I happened to see only these options.
If you are a Resident of Saudi Arabia or any GCC Country, Please know your’s and your family’s Residence Permit Expiry Date in prior so that you can inform the Immigration Authorities in Georgian Airport for the on-Arrival Visa as they do not speak any other language apart from Georgian, Russian and English.