Georgia, is a country of lush nature, underdeveloped medieval towns, good food, fantastic wine, one of the world’s oldest languages and hospitable people. Unsurprisingly, it’s caught the eye of many travellers. If you are one of them here’s a list of the 10 of the most beautiful Georgian towns (besides Tbilisi).
The natives of this beautiful and unique land call their country “Sakartvelo”, meaning “land where Kartveli live” (Kartveli being the inhabitants of Kartli, the central region of Georgia). Many theories exist to how the country’s modern name came about, including possible roots in the Persian word gurğ/gurğān (wolf/land of wolves) and being named after the country’s much beloved patron saint, St. George.
The Georgian language is one of the 14 unique languages in the world, meaning it’s not spoken anywhere else. Its beautiful and unique 33-letter alphabet is thought to have been adapted from Aramaic from as far back as the third century AD. Hearing someone speaking the language can be a treat for those into linguistics, as it entails several puffs of air and throaty expressions you’ve probably never heard before!
Here’s an old Georgian saying that goes something like “A guest is a gift from God,” so if you’re a stranger in town, you’re sure to be given some divine hospitality. Whether stuffing guests full with a hearty spread of cheesy bread (katchapuri), grilled meats, and stews, or offering their homes so you can rest for the night (to party some more later!), you’ll find a lot of smiling faces, and many, many bottles of wine being opened in your honor till the wee hours of the morning.
Capital Tbilisi – The city where you can find Georgian Orthodox, Armenian Gregorian and Roman Catholic churches, a synagogue, a mosque and a Zoroastrian temple all within a 5 minute walk of each other.A multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious city on the crossroads of history, a city neither European nor Asian but a heady blend of both East and West. Tbilisi was founded in the 5th century AD and has attracted visitors ever since, drawn by the hot springs for which the city is named, by the lively atmosphere of its cobbled streets and caravanserais or simply by what Alexandre Dumas called the “strange, fascinating charm” of this “city of legend and romance.”
Historians date Mtskheta back to the 2nd millennium B.C. Mtskheta was the capital of the Georgian Kingdom of Iberia between 500 BC and 500 AD. Georgians adopted Christianity in the 4th c. and thereafter Georgians, Byzantines, Persians, Arabs and Mongols traded control of the territory until the Russian annexation in the 19th century. Important ancient architectural monuments include Jvari Monastery 6th c and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral 11th c. and Samtavro Monastery, 11th c. Shiomgvime Monastery, 6th c, is located near Mtskheta, hidden in the rocky mountains.
Historical Monuments of Mtskheta are inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List!
The next ancient city in Georgia Kutaisi – archaeological sites discovered in the territory of Imereti proves that in this part of the world, people started living in the lower Paleolithic period.
Here is confirmed the existence of Colchic culture from XV-XIII centuries BC. On the hills on the right bank of the river Rioni is preserved the trace of the settlement of the VIII-VII century BC.
In the 6th century, Kutaisi was the capital city of Egrisi. By the end of the VIII century, it was already the capital of the United Kingdom of Egrisi and Abkhazia. The importance of the city in the X century is increasing. Here in 978 was the throne of the United Kingdom of Georgia. King was the Bagrat III. He set up the beautiful Bagrati Cathedral in Kutaisi as a symbol of the unity of the country. Kutaisi remained the capital of United Georgia for 124 years.
In 1089 begins the reign of King David the Builder. In 1122, he liberated Tbilisi from foreign invaders, and the royal throne was moved there.
From this time Kutaisi is no longer a capital of Georgia. During the time of David the builder a unique architectural monument Gelati Cathedral was founded near the city and was established a high school academy. Despite the fact of the concession to the country’s capital city, Kutaisi has never lost its place in the history of Georgia. Kutaisi is the 5th oldest city in the world.