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Stop At: Jvari Church, Mtskheta Georgia
Our tour starts from - Jvari Monastery one of the most iconic in Georgia. This ancient temple dates back to the 6th century AD , was built at the dawn of the adoption and spread of Christianity in Georgia. The name of the church is translated from Georgian as “the cross” and has its own history. According to the legend, the cross of St. Nino, one of the most revered saints who converted Georgia to Christianity, is kept here. After some time, a temple was built on the site of the holy cross, which later became the basis of the present Jvari.
The Jvari temple is located nearby the ancient capital of Georgia, Mtskheta, on the top of a high mountain, from where picturesque views of the neighborhood open, at the intersection of stormy waters of the Aragvi and Kura rivers. The temple attracts thousands of tourists because of its architecture, location and historical value. Exterior and interior decorations of the temple are made in simple, and we can say quite austere forms. Unlike most Orthodox churches, Jvari is beautiful with its simplicity, rigor and clarity of lines.
Duration: 30 minutes
Stop At: Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, Arsukidze, Mtskheta 383400 Georgia
Our next stop is the ancient capital of Georgia - Mtskheta a museum city which is as a Jvari Monastery also is UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has been inhabited since before 1,000 BC and was once the capital of the early Kingdom of Iberia (today’s Eastern Georgia). Located 20 km from Tbilisi, at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, the city is located on an ancient trade route. Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of Mtskheta’s status as a major trading post. Glass perfume bottles, Greek and Aramaic writings, pottery, metalwork and jewelry have all been unearthed in abundance here, and many examples are on show in the town’s museum.
The ancient geographer Strabo described Mtskheta as a highly developed city with a water supply system, markets and stone houses. Mtskheta was also the religious centre of the country, with a number of major shrines to Georgia’s pagan pantheon; these would later be replaced by churches when St. Nino converted the country to Christianity in around 337 AD. Although the capital was moved to the more easily defended Tbilisi at the beginning of the VI century, Mtskheta continued to be the coronation and burial place of Georgian kings, and the seat of the Patriarch, who is also known as the Bishop of Mtskheta. Today, the lovely old town has a laid back, village feel, especially compared to the more hectic pace of Tbilisi.
In this oldest town is located also one of the most sacred place Svetitskhoveli Cathedral the main Christian Orthodox Cathedral , where Christ’s robe is said to be buried in Georgia.
According to Georgian tradition, a Georgian Jew from Mtskheta named Elias was in Jerusalem when Jesus was crucified. He bought Jesus’ robe from a Roman soldier at Golgotha and brought it back to Georgia.
Upon his return to Mtskheta, he was met by his sister Sidonia who upon touching the robe immediately died from the emotions engendered by the holy object. The robe could not be removed from her grasp, so she was buried with it.
The place where Sidonia is buried, with Christ’s robe, is preserved in the Cathedral.
Duration: 1 hour
Stop At: Shio-Mgvime Monastery, Mtskheta Georgia
Our last destination Shio Mgvime monastery located in a beautiful forest place. The road follows a narrow limestone canyon from the main square in the town Mtskheta. The medieval monastery consists by several buildings from different periods: The oldest one is the Monastery of St. John the Baptist (dated 560-580) - the simple cruciform building with octagonal dome.Refectory (12th -17th cc), the Cave of St. Shio (6th c ) and a small chapel (12th cc).
Duration: 45 minutes