If you enjoy beautiful snow-capped mountains, winding rivers and incredible historic towns and villages spread across the landscape, Georgia is a must-visit location. Packed with centuries of history and influences, there are so many Georgia historical sites to see. Here are just a handful of the experiences you could have when you visit Georgia.
Ushguli is a UNESCO World Heritage-listed village, located at 2,200m above sea level. While Ushguli is a terrific historical site to check out when you visit Georgia, it’s far more than just some old buildings or ruins. In fact, Ushguli is still permanently inhabited, making it the highest inhabited village in all of Europe.
Despite being an extremely elevated village, it is actually nestled near the base of Georgia’s highest mountain, Mt Shkhara, which stands at 5,068m above sea level. Some of the most impressive features are the stone watch towers surrounding the village, but for those who want to see a beautiful vista, you can walk to nearby Queen Tamar’s Tower, which offers spectacular views of the Caucasus Mountains.
The remote village of Adishi sits at about 2,000m above sea level, and even in the summer months, it remains largely inaccessible. Thanks to this inaccessibility, the village remains mostly untouched, with only a handful of families living there. Crooked Compass tours of Georgia allow you to visit Adishi locals and experience real Svanetian hospitality.
Upon leaving Adishi on your way to Iprari, you’re given more of an opportunity to revel in Georgia’s natural beauty. From hiking alongside rivers to crossing them, you’ll travel along beautiful paths lined with rhododendrons. You can even check out the ruins of the ancient Kalde village and move along the Chkhutnieri Pass
Moving into West Georgia, you’ll encounter a landscape that’s vastly different from the East. In an inland valley on the banks of the Qvirila River, you’ll find the old mining town of Chiatura. While steeped in history of its own, perhaps the biggest attraction in Chiatura is the network of cable cars used to connect the city to surrounding mining settlements. These Soviet-style cable cars are still operational today.
Nearby is the town of Kutaisi, which is a must-see for history buffs. It’s one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, and the third-largest in Georgia. Here, you’ll find the ruins of the 11th-century Bagrati Cathedral. Travel a few kilometres further and you’ll find the Gelati Monastery, a UEO World Heritage site. The stunning architecture in Kutaisi must be seen to be believed.
The ancient cave town of Uplistsikhe dates back to the 1st millennium AD. It can be found about 10 kilometres from Gori, and to this day, it still features a range of cultural influences that have been present in the region over the years. As you explore this ancient town, you’ll walk through tunnels, visit wine cellars and check out some of the impressive architecture, such as an amphitheatre carved into the hillside and beautiful churches.
Mtskheta is the ancient capital of Georgia and also its religious centre. Its history dates back over 3,000 years, and as such, it includes more than one UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of these is the Jvari Church, which was built in the 6th century and sits on a rocky mountaintop and has survived to this day. When it was built, many tried to replicate its architecture, to the point that many Georgian churches followed the Jvari style.
Also in Mtskheta is the famous Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, built back in the 11th century. While its architecture is impressive, being the second-largest church in Georgia, it’s what’s inside that draws people to the area. The Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is known as the burial place of the Robe of Christ.
If you want history, one of the best places to visit in Georgia is the old town of Tbilisi. It’s the capital of Georgia and home to over a million people from a variety of backgrounds. Tbilisi has a complicated history, falling under Persian and Russian rule at various stages, meaning there are many religious and architectural gems to explore.
Experience a range of Eastern Orthodox churches, art nouveau buildings, and Soviet Modernist structures. Particular highlights are the Narikala Fortress, first constructed in the 4th century, and the Kartlis Deda. The Kartlis Deda is a statue that sits atop Sololaki Hill. The 20-metre-tall monument depicts a woman in national Georgian dress, dubbed ‘The Mother of Georgia’.
Sighnaghi is a small town in the Eastern region of Kakheti. While it’s one of Georgia’s smallest, it is also incredibly popular as it sits right in a wine-growing region. The unique landscape features cobblestone streets, picturesque views across the Alazani Valley and a range of colourful pastel houses. Visitors can even try out some traditional wine made in a Kveri (clay vessel). This method of wine production features on UNESCO’s Intangible Heritage list.
If you’d like to experience a life-changing journey through beautiful Georgia, contact Crooked Compass today.
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.