Famous Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov described this town in one of his most known poems “The Novice”. This picturesque town is located on confluence of the Aragvi and the Kura rivers, 20 km away from Tbilisi. Mtskheta was the first capital of Georgia and one of the most ancient cities. Today it’s a sacred town for every Christian. Christian pilgrims and tourists from all over the world folk in this ancient town that is called “Second Jerusalem”. The reason to such bold name is that it’s the only town with such big amount of shrine historical sights in Georgia.
Mtskheta was the first town where Saint Nino, the one who initiated Christianization of Iberia, arrived. One of the greatest sanctuaries of the Christian world – Seamless Robe of Jesus is kept in this town. Another sightseeing place in Mtskheta is Svetitskhoveli Cathedral – one of the oldest and the holiest temples. Alongside with the cathedral, there’s Jvari Monastery – fine and unique example of religious architecture of mediaeval Caucasus. Te legend says that the town was established by King Mtkshetos and named after him.
However, historical notes prove that the town was established in 5th century BC. It became the capital of Kingdom of Iberia and the cradle of Georgian statehood. The town flourished as political center of Georgia during Alexander’s the Great age and withstood invasions of the Persians and the Romans. Although, in 6th century AD, King Dachi I Ujarmeli moved capital to Tbilisi, Mtskheta didn’t lose its significance as religious center of the country.
Today Mtskheta is a restored town-museum with some of the most significant historical sights in Georgia. The life of the town is built around tourists; there’re many guesthouses, souvenir shops, and cafes. No wonder every traveler who visits Tbilisi comes to Mtskheta. Who would refuse to visit the most popular historical sights in Georgia and get away from hectic pace of Tbilisi?