Georgia: Where Valleys Are Lined with Expansive Wine Vineyards and Mountains

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Georgia: Where Valleys Are Lined with Expansive Wine Vineyards and Mountains

The allure of Georgia is sculpted by its mysterious cave systems, towering mountain ranges, historical monuments and quaint villages around its countryside. Avid hikers find the mountains of Georgia a treasure while the history, culture and outdoor lovers have the mainland to explore. In this article, we have handpicked the best sightseeing places which are more than reason enough to visit Georgia.

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Georgia: Where Valleys Are Lined with Expansive Wine Vineyards and Mountains

1. Gergeti Trinity Church (Stepantsminda)

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Gergeti Trinity Church is one of the most iconic sightseeing sites of Georgia. The church sits on top of a mountain at an elevation of 7120ft near the village of Gergeti in the northern part of Georgia. It may look like it is difficult to climb up, but this mountain is a gem for trekkers. If you are not up to hiking up, you can rent a car. The weather may greatly vary, but April to October is the best for hiking when it is warm and not hot. The church structure itself is simple, but the surrounding view is breathtaking. Taking of photos of the interior of the church is not allowed, but pictures of the exterior are probably the best that you can take in Georgia.

2. Dolphinarium (Batumi)

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In the city of Batumi on the Black Sea coast of Georgia, is the first Dolphinarium in the Soviet Union. The Dolphinarium houses eight bottlenose dolphins and sea lions. It offers shows where the dolphins show off about 30 acts, the most interesting being three dances, foot push, balancing on tails and playing with balls. The shows are performed in all weather conditions but summertime has more shows with exceptional attendance, and the excitement is top notch. Visitors also have an opportunity to swim with the dolphins and also to learn how to train this playful mammal of the sea.

3. Batumi Boulevard (Batumi)

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Batumi Boulevard can be said to be a strip of the beauty of the sea, in the second city of Georgia. The works of this remarkable gardens were initiated by A.I. Smekalov who was the governor by then, but was completed by Michael D'alfons a French architect. The garden is about 7km with historical monuments, dancing fountains, sculptures and a zoo corner. At Boulevard you can cycle, walk or simply relax and enjoy the beauty that it offers. You can also sample some of the best cuisines of Georgia at the restaurants by the garden as you watch the sunset.

4. Mount Kazbek (Stepantsminda)

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Mount Kazbek is a stratovolcanic mountain at the border of Georgia and North Ossetia. This is the third highest mountain in Georgia after Shkhara and Caucasus Mountains. The mountain is about 16,516ft above the sea level and needs about 8 days to go up and down. if you would like to hike up, you will need standard glacier gear and windproof clothing. Warm attire is a must since temperatures can go as low as -20ºC even in the hottest summer days. A complete climb to the top gives an extraordinary accomplishment feeling as it is not meant for the faint-hearted. At the top of the mountain, you can view Georgia and Russia.

5. Lake Rica (Gagra)

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Lake Rica also known as Lake Ritsa, has a legend to it that it was once a valley that was forced to fill with water by a sword thrown into it in an attempt to save a girl by the name Ritsa. The lake is surrounded by the Caucasian Mountains on the northern part of Georgia. This blue water lake is supplied by six rivers and only drained by one. Other than water activities, attractions deeper into the mountain ranges are worth sightseeing. It is best to explore the area between July and August when it is not unbearably cold.

6. Jvari Church (Mtskheta)

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One of the World Heritage Sites of Georgia, is the Jvari Church, a sixth century Orthodox Monastery. The church is on the eastern part of Georgia near Mtskheta on top of a rocky mountain. The architecture of the church is an exemplary example of a Hripsime-type plan with a mix of Georgia, Armenia and Albania designs. You can choose to hike up the hill as you enjoy sightseeing the typical Georgian landscape or go by car. Other than the church, you will have a great view of the township of Mtsekha from above and view the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers.

7. Vardzia (Aspindza)

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Sightseeing Vardzia while in Georgia is a must or else you will have missed an incredible system of caves. Vardizia has features of 13 rows of caves that were constructed in the twelfth century. The area of Vardizia still has the Church of the Dormition with its paintings still in place, monks’ quarters and many underground halls. Presently, there are about 300 apartments and halls that are accessible to the public for sightseeing. A small group of monks maintains the monastery, and they can take you around even in places that are not open to the public if you ask.

8. Batumi Botanical Gardens (Batumi)

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Batumi Botanical Gardens sits on a 108ha piece of land in Batumi, making it the largest garden in Georgia. The works of the garden were created by Andrey Nikolayevich in the 1880s. The garden is divided into the upper, lower and Giorgi Gabrichidze Seaside parks, each showcasing different plant species from Georgia and many other parts of the world. Spring is the best for sightseeing when the trees and plants flower. The garden also offers a spectacular view of the Black Sea. You can do your sightseeing either on foot or use an electronic elmobil.

9. Tsminda Sameba Cathedral (Tbilisi)

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Tsminda Sameba Cathedral is the largest cathedral of Georgia and is the most notable sightseeing structure in Tbilisi. The church, now recognized as the symbol of ‘New Georgia,’ was completed in 2004 as part of a complex that includes nine chapels, a monastery, an academy and a school of theology. The style of the church is mainly influenced by designs from Georgia and mixed with traditional styles. The cathedral is at the top of Elia hill, overlooking other hills of Tbilisi. The church is usually busy with people praying and sightseeing, but if you go early in the morning, you will get a lit view of the church, and fewer crowds.

10. New Athos Cave (New Athos)

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New Athos Cave, known to many as the ‘bottomless pit’ is a massive cave system inside Mount Iberia. The cave is the largest in Georgia and second largest globally, with nine vast chambers featuring underground rivers, stalactites, ravines, and stalagmites. The cave has a short railway set up for sightseeing, but you can exit the train and explore the cave through its illuminated walkways. The cave is a major sightseeing attraction so you should book your ticket ahead of time. Also, wear warm clothing as the temperatures are as low as 10ºC.

◎ Closing

We are confident that these sightseeing destinations in Georgia will make you fond of Georgia. If not the places, the traditions, mystique of the cities, cuisine and the wine will steal your heart. The culture is equally special as Georgia has tried to keep its identity intact, so you will experience it as it was back in the pre-colonial times. Another big reason for a sightseeing tour in Georgia is that you do not have to spend much- it has always been a budget-friendly country.