Piligrim tour of Imereti and kartli

Piligrim tour of Imereti and kartli

Information

Duraition: 6 Nights / 7 Days
Price: 440 USD / per person

PILGRIM TOUR OF IMERETI AND KARTLI
Duration: 6 nights and 7 days
Price: USD, price depends on type of accommodation and number of persons

Background information
The apostle Andrew preached in Georgia and tradition holds that Simon the Zealot and
Matthias were also active here. As the centuries passed, the word of Christ was
forgotten till, in 320 AD, the preacher St Nino of Cappadocia caused the conversion of
the country to Christianity. She is revered as the Enlightener and gave Georgia the
particular cross made from two lengths of grape vine lashed together with strands of her
hair, as a symbol of orthodoxy.

Places of interest

Svetitskhoveli* basilica (basilica of the Life-Giving Pillar)
The site held a wooden church at the time of Georgia’s conversion to Christianity. It
was replaced by a stone church in the 5th century and eventually, in the early 11th
century, Catholicos Melchisedek I was responsible for building what we see today, an
early example of a cross-dome basilica. Two carved bull’s heads from the first stone
church are incorporated over the entrance gate. Ten of Georgia’s monarchs are buried
here. A most precious relic, Christ’s robe, is said to be kept beside the altar.

Jvari Monastery* (Monastery of the Cross)
This monastery complex was constructed in the 6th century, near the confluence of the
Kura and Aragvi rivers. It owes its name to the grapevine cross which St Nino planted
here to mark Georgia’s conversion to the new faith.

Metekhi
Overlooking the banks of the river Mtkvari (Kura) from a steep cliff, this historical area is
revered by Georgians for its connection to St Abo Tbileli (St Abo of Tbilisi) an 8thcentury
martyr for the Christian faith.

Anchiskhati (church of the Ancha Icon)
The church is a three-nave, 12th-century renovation on 6th century foundations. It is
named for a precious icon of Christ Pantocrator, framed by the famous goldsmith Beka
Opizari, and which is now kept in the National Art Museum of Georgia.

Sioni, Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin
The church built in the 6th and 7th centuries was completely destroyed by Arab
invaders. A new church was constructed under King David the Builder in the 12th
century and has since survived damage and partial destruction from an earthquake and
from Persian invasions. St Nino’s cross--two lengths of grapevine lashed together with
the saint’s hair--is kept here.

Kashveti church
Legend connects Kashveti (give birth to a stone) to Davit Gareja, one of the Assyrian
Fathers. In the 18th century the Amilakhvari family funded the building of a church to
replace the ruinous brick structure. Wealthy citizens had the church rebuilt once more
by 1910. Of note are the murals of 1947, by well-known Georgian painter Lado
Gudiashvili.

Holy Trinity Cathedral Tbilisi
The cathedral is situated on Elia Hill and was built to commemorate 2000 years since
the birth of Christ. Although it was inaugurated in 2004, mosaics and frescoes are still
work in progress.

Blue Monastery
The church takes its name from the blue glazed tiles that cover the conical dome of teh
church, although officially it is called the church of St Andrew. Of the original 12thcentury
structure only a few courses of stone and some windows with fretwork survive.
The church was restored and rebuilt several times and in the Soviet era was put to use
as a factory, warehouse, and a Museum of Medicine. An inscription tells us that
‘unworthy Basil, a former archbishop of Kartli’ was responsible for its construction.

Samtavro
The Samtavro monastery complex is dominated by the 12th-century church of the
Transfiguration, where the Georgian king Mirian III, and his wife, Nana, are buried. The
tiny church dedicated to St NIno who prayed here and cured the sick, dates from the 4th
century. It is also the burial place Gabriel Salesi the Confessor. Some of the buildings
are in use as a seminary and a convent.

Shio cave monastery
This monastery complex which was home to 2000 monks when it flourished, is named
after the founder, Shio, one of the Assyrian Fathers. Shio was buried in one of many
caves that were dug out of the rock. The earliest church in the complex--St John the
Baptist--is from the sixth century; the church of the Theotokos (Mother of God) is from
the 12th. Several Persian invasions caused death and destruction, followed by
reconstruction. The monastery has an active community of monks who continue to
upgrade the buildings and surrounding landscape.

Samtavisi monastery complex
The main building is the 11th-century cathedral of Samtavisi, ornamented with beautiful
stone carving on the eastern façade. The monastery complex, originally from 572 was
rebuilt several times, and the cathedral renovated after a series of earthquakes.
Frescoes from the 17th century have survived inside. Of interest are a small church, a
bell tower, and the ruins of a bishop’s palace.

Atenis Sioni (Ateni church)
Tucked away in the valley of the Tana river this bold yet serene church--constructed with
tufa of delicate colours in the 7th century--is decorated on the outside with carved
human, animal and celestial figures. It is cross-shaped inside. Frescoes from the 10th
century, though faded and damaged by time, cover the walls with biblical figures and
Georgian royalty. Vineyards are all around and the residents of the convent bake and
tend gardens and livestock.

Kintsvisi
Of three churches that were constructed at Kintsvisi, two remain: the church of St
Nicholas and of St George, both thought to be from the 13th century. The older church,
dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is in ruins. Among the 12th-century wall paintings in St
Nicholas’ is the so-called Archangel of Kintsvisi, exceptional for its grace and for the use
of expensive lapis lazuli pigment. Georgian monarchs Giorgi III, Tamar and Giorgi IV
Lasha are on the north wall.

Gelati*
Of the three churches in the Gelati monastery complex, the Church of the Virgin is the
most ancient, dating to 1106 and the reign of King David, known as ‘the Builder’. The
churches of St George and St Nicholas are from the 13th century. Gelati monastery
and its academy were the cultural and intellectual center of medieval Georgia, staffed
with local and foreign scientists, theologians and philosophers. It was sometimes
referred to by contemporaries as the new Hellas or the second Athos. Many
manuscripts and frescoes--12th to 17th century--are preserved at Gelati and it was once
the home of the Kakhuli triptych (what remains is now in the Georgian National Museum
of Art). Several of Georgia’s kings are buried here, including David the Builder. An
embossed iron gate made in 495 AD is kept here. It was brought back from the Ganja
fortress (Azerbaijan) in 1139 by the army of Demetrius 1 of Georgia.

Bagrati cathedral*
Constructed in the early 11th century (the floor was laid in 1003) during the reign of
Bagrat III, the cathedral is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The cupola and ceiling were
destroyed by Ottoman troops in 1692. Conservation and restoration has been ongoing
since 1952. The Gelati monastery complex of which it is a part, was built between the
12th and 17th centuries and is well-preserved.

Katskhi pillar
The Katskhi limestone monolith is about 40 m high. It was not till 1944 that rock
climbers were able to find a way up. On the uneven surface at the top (about 150
square m) were found two small churches from the 9th or 10th century, a wine cellar, a
crypt and three cells for hermits. An inscription indicates that the hermitage was still
active in the 13th century. At the foot of the pillar is a bell tower and the newly built
church of Simeon Stylites.

Kvatakhevi
The Kvatakhevi monastery complex is protected on three sides by steep mountain
slopes. It dates to the 12th-13th century. The ground plan of the church is nearly square
and the space inside is formed by the arms of the cross and the dome which surmounts
the crossing point. The façades are covered with white stone squares and decorated in
fretwork, especially around the windows and the base of the dome. Kvatakhevi was
also a centre of learning where manuscripts were copied. The church suffered damage
during the 14th-century invasion of Timur but was gradually restored and a bell tower
was added in 1872. A large portion of the Kvatakhevi treasure of artifacts and medieval
Georgian jewelry is now in the Moscow State Historical Museum.

* indicates UNESCO World Heritage Site

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival at Tbilisi International Airport, transfer to the hotel, overnight in Tbilisi

Day 2: Mtskheta, Jvari, Svetitskhoveli, Samtavro, Shio mghvime, overnight in Tbilisi

Day 3: Tbilisi pilgrim tour, overnight in Tbilisi,

Day 4: Samtavisi, Atenis Sioni, Kintsvisi, overnight in Kutaisi,

Day 5: Bagrati, Motsameta, Gelati, Katskhi pillar, overnight in Kutaisi

Day 6: Kvatakhevi, overnight in Tbilisi

Day 7: Transfer to the airport

Similar Tours

After the ascension of Christ, the Holy Spirit instructed the apostles to spread the
message of Christianity around the world. The apostle Andrew preached in Georgia
and tradition holds that Simon the Zealot and Matthias were also active here. In 320
AD St Nino of Cappadoia caused the conversion of the country to Christianity. The
thirteen Assyrian Fathers founded monasteries and hermitages in Georgia in the 6th
century and initiated the ascetic movement.

Duration: 5 Nights / 6 Days
Price: 390 USD / per person

After the ascension of Christ, the Holy Spirit instructed the apostles to spread the
message of Christianity around the world. The apostle Andrew preached in Georgia
and tradition holds that Simon the Zealot and Matthias were also active here. In 320
AD St Nino of Cappadocia caused the conversion of the country to Christianity. The
thirteen Assyrian Fathers founded monasteries and hermitages in Georgia in the 6th
century and initiated the ascetic movement.

Duration: 8 Nights / 9 Days
Price: 490 USD / per person