This small country in the Transcaucasia is strongly associated worldwide with the mountains. The mountains are the hallmark of Georgia that is as majestic, freedom-loving and unapproachable country as its amazing peaks.
Mount Kazbek is the most famous and loved mountain peak by tourists. By its height, Kazbek only takes the 3rd place in Georgia (5033 meters) and the 7th among the peaks of the Great Caucasus, but despite this, Kazbek stands out as the symbol and hallmark of Georgia. According to geoscientists Kazbek was once an active volcano, which decayed by long before the Georgian statehood. Climbing and hiking to Kazbek are extremely popular among tourists and travellers first of all because of its easy accessible area: to enjoy the mountain and the magnificent scenery you only need to take just a two-hour trip from Tbilisi along the picturesque Georgian Military Highway. It is believed that to see the top of the old giant is a great success because usually it is hidden behind the clouds. At the foot of the mountain, there is located the village of Stepantsminda, former Kazbegi, 10 km from which lies the Russian-Georgian border. Travellers can climb to the most favourite and must-visit touristic sights – the Gergeti Trinity church located on a smaller peak at the foot of Mount Kazbek, which offers spectacular and breathtaking views of the surrounding area. The church is notable for the fact that there had once been kept the cross of St. Nino – enlightener of Georgia. And the most desperate fans of extreme sports can climb through the eternal glaciers and permafrost to the top, which usually takes 2-3 days. On the way to the top, at an altitude of 4100 meters, you should definitely make a stop at the famous and unique monastery of Betlemi (4-5 century AC), carved into the rock. In fact, this Monastery is a cave, the walls of which are painted images of saints. Many legends are connected with the Betlemi monastery, which is considered by far the most high-mountain Christian church in the world.