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Arrival at Shota Rustaveli Tbilisi International Airport. Transfer to a hotel in the very heart of a tourist area in Tbilisi.
Breakfast in the hotel.
The journey starts with a guided tour around the capital of Georgia. Tbilisi is a 1500 years old city where you can enjoy a harmonious combination of modern lifestyle, warm-hearted people, ancient history, rich culture and superb cuisine, so while sightseeing, you will definitely find something you are into.
Some free time for you in the city for lunch and individual walk and in the evening we are visiting one of the most popular restaurants in Tbilisi where you can enjoy the best Georgian cuisine and a country dance show.
Today we start with a sightseeing tour in Mtskheta – one of the oldest and vibrant centers of Christianity in Georgia. The place is in a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a must- see place.
Jvari Monastery translated as “The Monastery of the Cross”, 6th Century
Svetitskhoveli cathedral, 10th century
Samtavro – a magnificent sample of Georgian architecture built presumably in the 4th century and reconstructed in the 11th century.
Lunch time and a visit to Château Mukhrani – an essential experience for any wine enthusiast. The wine tour will guide you to discover the Georgian royal family history and breath-taking legends as well as a flavor of antiquity and enchanting wines. You will learn about different sorts of wine and get a chance to buy some home.
Return to Tbilisi and free time.
Breakfast at the hotel, and we set off to conquer the great mountain Kazbegi.
We will see:
the incredible beauty of the Zhinvali reservoir
the medieval fortress of Ananuri built in the 16th century in order to protect the surrounding lands
The Friendship Arch built in honor of the friendship between people of the USSR and Georgia with a wide observation deck to overview a picturesque view of the surroundings
Gudauri – one of the most popular ski resorts in Georgia
we will rise to a height of 2170 meters to the Gergeti St Trinity temple of the XIV century. Here you can take beautiful photographs against the backdrop of glaciers and enjoy the beauties of a mountainous region. (You can climb to the temple on foot, but if you want to save energy, you can rent a taxi).
On our way back there is time for lunch and we are back to Tbilisi late at night.
We set off for Telavi – a small but crucial place for a winemaking industry in Georgia. Telavi for Georgians means wine. There is really a lot of it in this area and it is the best in the country due to the climate of the region.
On the way to Telavi there are two monasteries in the village of Shuamta each of which once was important religious centers in Christian Georgia. Dzveli Shuamta (Old Shuamta) was built in the 5 – 6 centuries and Akhali Shuamta (New Shuamta) was built in the 16 century.
Later we will visit Tsinandali village with its beautiful estate. Prince Alexander Chavchavadze, the founder of the Georgian romanticism, turned the estate in the village of Tsinandali, which he inherited from his father into the cultural and intellectual center of the country, the status it preserves to this day. The place regularly hosts exhibitions, concerts, literary events and master classes.
The complex in Tsinandali embraces the memorial house, a landscape garden, a historical winery, wine cellar, hotel and a café. The vineyards have been restored and wine production has resumed. Here, you can look into the background of the noble Chavchavadze family, who played a significant part in the national history; enjoy the views of the garden, have a look at the winery and sample “Tsinandali” (first produced by the Chavchavadzes).
It was in the Tsinandali winery that the wine was first bottled in Georgia. Al. Chavchavadze’s collection of vintage wines consists of over 15 000 bottles, with the oldest dated with 1814.
Lunch and a guided tour around the Town of Telavi itself.
In the evening you get to a hotel in Telavi and have free time.
The area of Alazani valley is not about wine only. There are places that show Georgia from another perspective and help to understand and feel the country.
Alaverdi Monastery was founded in the 6th century, maybe even by Ioseb Alaverdeli, one of the 13 Assyrian Fathers. It started out as a small St. George Church, probably built over an ancient pagan place of Moon worship. Between 1010 and 1037, Kvirike III of Kakheti replaced the small church with the present cathedral. When it was finished it became an episcopal cathedral. At a height of over 55 m, Alaverdi Cathedral was the tallest religious building in Georgia, until the construction of the Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi, which was consecrated in 2004.
Ikalto Academy, the intellectual and academic cornerstone of Georgia, was on the territory of the country’s spiritual center – the Ikalto Monastery. The Ikalto Monastery was established in the 6th century and it gained the status of the academic center of the country.
Students at the Ikalto Academy were mastering theology, rhetoric, astronomy, philosophy, geography, geometry and chanting. They also learned metallurgy, ceramics, viticulture, winemaking and pharmacology. The academy ceased to exist in 1616 when the army of Abbas I of Persia burned it down.
Next, we move on with something really special. You are going to visit a Georgian Biodynamic vineyard. This vineyard comes from a vision of past and future combined. You probably have already realized that wine in this country isn’t just a drink, it’s a way of living. Georgian traditions of wine making go back to 8000 years ago and the farm is based on the idea to keep these traditions alive.
Your timetable for today is as follows:
Arrival at the farm – the place where the owners grow everything by ancient Georgians methods without chemicals or GMO. Here, you are going to experience a lot.
You will have an excursion around the place with the stories and “lectures” about winemaking.
You are going to have a cooking master class (soup dumplings called khinkali, local bread called puri and Georgian barbecue)
Dinner made of the local fresh products.
Grape harvesting. You yourself is going to collect grapes from the grape-vine and tramp it in order to get juice out of it.
In the evening there is an evening meal with the local wine, chatting and toast proposals.
A return to a hotel in Telavi.
Breakfast at the hotel and we travel to Kvareli in the North – Eastern part of the Alazani valley – the birthplace of Kindzmarauli (premium class wine of ripe cherry color with pronounced fruit and berry tones.)
While enjoying the beauty of the place you will visit Gremi Fortress of 16th century, as well as get to the top of the mountain in order to reach Nekresi Monastery of the 4th century. Nekresi’s early Georgian architecture and the views across the Alazani valley from its hillside-woodland site are marvelous and worth visiting.
Later, there is a wine tour in one of the family owned wineries of the area. We will learn everything about Georgian winemaking and sample some wine of the best Georgian quality.
The return to the hotel, free time.
After your breakfast at the hotel we set off to Signagi – the heart of Georgia’s wine-growing region, which is proud of its wine, picturesque landscapes, pastel houses and narrow, cobblestone streets. The town is located on a steep hill and overlooks the vast Alazani Valley, with the Caucasus Mountains visible at a distance.
We will start with some guided tour of the place and before leaving for Tbilisi, we will enjoy some family evening meal with homemade wine. The family will wait for us and you have a great opportunity to meet and chat with the locals.
In the evening we are back in Tbilisi.
This is the day we say goodbye but we hope to hear from you soon because you still have a lot to do in Georgia.
See you soon!