August 10, 2015

3 Ancient UNESCO Sites to Visit When You Tour Georgia

gelatiGeorgia has had a tumultuous history that goes back thousands of years.  The country has adapted and absorbed much from other nations as the country was dominated by other empires for many centuries of its life: the Persian Empire, the Romans, the Mongols, etc. However, Georgia survived these episodes and burst forth in a golden age during the 11th and 12th centuries under the leadership of Queen Tamar and King David the Builder.  Throughout the centuries, Georgia produced some spectacular specimens of architecture and art, showcasing Georgia’s vibrant culture. 

Some of these sites are now protected UNESCO World Heritage sites and are in fact some of the most famous places in Georgia to visit.  So as you vacation in Georgia, make sure to check out the following Georgia vacation destinations with some historical spice! Gelati_klooster



Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery

Located near the city of Kutaisi, the Bagrati Cathedral was first erected in the 11th century during Georgia’s golden age.  The Gelati Monastery was completed later during the 12th-17th centuries and remains a beautiful complex filled with frescos and mosaics.  Both sites are exquisite examples of Georgian medieval architecture and were also indispensable centers of education and culture in ancient Georgia, giving them a reputation as two of the most famous places in Georgia.  The monastery is protected by a stone wall and inside the buildings you can see a plethora of frescoes depicting important historical persons and biblical scenes.   img_1342520236From the cathedral, you can get a panoramic view of the city of Kutaisi.  Both are excellent vacation destinations in Georgia and as a plus, are free of charge to visit!

Historical Monuments of Mtskheta

Mtskheta, the former capital of Georgia, is a must-see during your vacation in Georgia.  Mtskheta was a prominent stop on the Silk Road between the Black and Caspian Seas and contains three stunning sites for you to visit as you tour Georgia: the Jvari Monastery, Svetitstkhoveli Cathedral, and Samtavro Monastery.  These 3 sites contain archeological remains that exhibit Georgia’s advanced knowledge in the arts of masonry, pottery, and metal work from ancient times.  It is also possible to see the evolution of architecture in murymeli_ushguli_mestiaGeorgia from the 4th-18th centuries just by looking at these historical monuments.  English speaking guides are available on site, so make sure to take advantage of that as well as the various souvenir shops selling crafts, spices, sweets, etc.

Upper Svaneti

The Upper Svaneti region in Georgia is an isolated area in the midst of the mountains with ancient tower-houses and villages sporting medieval architecture.  The village of Chazhashi in particular is extremely interesting because there are still over 200 of these houses standing in the village that you can visit on your holiday in Georgia.  The towers spread throughout the area contribute to the region’s unique atmosphere491_20140904114240_29451_19462_DSC01051The towers all have 3-5 floors will walls of decreasing thickness, giving them a tapered appearance.  Add to all these things the mural paintings from the Renaissance that you can find here and it is an unforgettable location tucked away in the mountains that you will want to spend days exploring.


These 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Georgia are perfect destinations for history lovers and those wanting to really dig deeper into ancient Georgian culture.  The cathedrals and monasteries in particular have huge significance when you think of the fact the Georgia was actually the second nation in the world to adopt Christianity as its official religion. If possible, try to visit all three UNESCO sites during your vacation in Georgia; it will give you a great overview of the country and allow you to see much of the Georgian landscape.  Just make sure you have a fully charged camera battery because it will be an experience you will never want to forget! Photos from source:,,,

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