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Travelling in Mtskheta, Georgia

2012-11-03

While thinking about travelling to Georgia the first cities that come to mind are Tbilisi, Batumi, Ureki, Kobuleti, however those who prefer historical sites should also consider a city like Mtskheta. 

Mtskheta is one of Georgia's oldest cities. It is located in Kartli province of Eastern Georgia, about 20 kilometers north of Tbilisi. Mtskheta holds a deep rooted significance to all Georgians. It was the capital of eastern Georgia for 8 centuries, until this honour was given to Tbilisi in the 5th century. In 327 Mtskheta really played its role in shaping the Western World, when King Mirian and Queen Nana were converted to Christianity.

From Tbilisi you can get to Mtskheta by marshrutka (mini-bus) from Didube station. The ride usually takes about 20 minutes, you can also stop by the magnificent Svetitskhoveli Cathedral on the way.

This cathedral dates back to the 11th Century and is surrounded by a defensive wall that was added in 1787, some 400 years too late to protect the Cathedral from being damaged by Timur. Inside there is a pillar, beneath which it is believed that Christ's robe is buried. Is this true or not, nobody really knows, but listening to the group of people singing in front of it is surely moving.

From Svetitskhoveli Cathedral you can walk down to the Mtkvari River and then to the Antioki Church, which is located in a small garden close by the river. If you walk to the north of the town on the right you can see Jvari Church situated on a hill and Bebris Tsikhe castle in the front.

It takes 15 minutes to walk from here up to the castle, where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery. 

Jvari Church is situated on a hilltop that overlooks the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, with Mtskheta's stunning churches and the castle situated below. The church was founded somewhere between 585 and 604 near a sacred wooden cross that dated back to the 4th century andis believed to be placed by either St Nino before the town adopted Christianity or King Mirian soon after it.

Outside the church there are some beautiful bells and a tree, on the branches of which there are some cloths tied, which is more associated with paganism than Christianity.

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