12 Days Piligrim Tour Georgia – Discover the spirituality in the Caucasus
520 EURper person
Piligrim Tour Georgia is the trip you have never experienced before. Ultimate experience, most remote monasteries and churches with highest spiritual power and people from God, explore one of the oldest Christian countries in the world, visit most of the country and its major sightseeings, eat the best food and meet hospitable people, discover Georgia and Orthodox Christianity ♰
Explore the holy land Georgia starting from old Tbilisi
Observe the daily life of monks and nuns in some famous and some remote less traveled monasteries and nunneries
Find inner peace in the Christian temples of the old capital – Mtskheta
Discover the spirituality in Caucasus and hear a prayer in Aramaic language in Kanda
Visit the churches built on the top of the mountains in the Kazbegi region
Pray in the monasteries hidden in nature in Dzama Gorge
Visit the Bronze Age town of Vardzia carved in the rock
Discover Georgian churches and monasteries in the dense forest of Borjomi.
Find out more about Gelati Monastery, one of the most important cultural and educational centers in Georgia.
Take a boat ride in the Green Martvili Canyon
See the beautiful palaces of Samegrelo rulers
Take a night walk in Batumi boulevard
Meet the monks of St. John Baptist monastery in the desert of David Gareja
Drink the holy water of Bodbe.
Taste delicious Georgian dishes and traditional drinks during piligrim tour Georgia
Learn about Georgian supra and toasting tradition – continuation of church service, pillar of Georgian spirituality
Piligrim Tour Georgia Outline:
- Day 1: Tbilisi Tour – Bevreti Monastery
- Day 2: Mtskheta Tour
- Day 3: Kanda Assyrian fathers monastery – Ananuri – Gergeti trinity – Dariali monastery
- Day 4: Patriarchs residence in Sno village – Truso valley monasteries or Lomisa monastery hike – Tbilisi
- Day 5: Kozifa – Mukhileti – Sarkineti – Mzovreti – Akhaltsikhe
- Day 6: Sapara – Vardzia cave town – Upper Vardzia Nunnery – Saro Nunnery
- Day 7: St. Seraphim Saroveli monastery or Gujriskhevi chapel – Tabakini – Gelati Monastery – Kutaisi
- Day 8: Martvili monastery – Martvili Canyon or Salkhino – Zugdidi Blachernae (Vlaherna) Chapel – Dadiani palace – Tsaishi cathedral – Zugdidi
- Day 9: Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Batumi Boulevard – Fish Market – Batumi
- Day 10: Shemokmedi Monastery – Achi Monastery – Erketi nunnery – Tbilisi
- Day 11: St. John Baptist cave monastery in the desert – David Gareja Monastery Complex – Ninotsminda nunnery – Sighnaghi
- Day 12: Bodbe Nino’s spring – Lunch in Winery – Gremi Castle – Alaverdi church – Tbilisi
Tbilisi Tour – Bevreti Monastery
Piligrim tour in Georgia begins in Tbilisi – capital of Georgia. Our first destination will be the Mother of Georgia’s monument which will be reached by a cable car. After enjoying the view we will visit Narikala Fortress - the main defensive structure of the city where we will see the St. Nicholas Church, which is full with the frescos showing scenes from the Bible and history of Georgia.
The main symbol of Tbilisi is the sulfur baths so this will be our next destination. Ottoman’s period bathhouses and sulfur smell around will immediately make us feel the vibe of old Tbilisi. Through this amazing atmosphere, we will reach Leghvtakhevi - a 14 m high waterfall in the heart of Tbilisi and enjoy the views of old Tbilisi balconies in the shade and fury of the waterfall.
Then we will visit Sioni Cathedral where St. Nino's cross - the largest sanctuary of the Georgian Orthodox Church and miraculous rock of grace brought from Jerusalem by St. David of Gareja is located. The temple’s walls also house the skull of the Apostle St. Thomas.
Our next destination will be Metekhi Church. The main relic of the temple is the tomb of St. Shushanik. Here was the earliest settlement in the city. Due to its location, its fate was closely linked to the fate of the capital and Georgia as a whole. The monument of King Vakhtang Gorgasali was erected in front of the church in the twentieth century. Then we will cross, newly built pedestrian glass and steel bridge with bow design, Peace Bridge and pass the building of the Patriarchate of Georgia and walk to Anchiskhati - oldest church building in Tbilisi (6th century). The church received its present name in the 17 th century when the icon of the Vernicle Image of the Savior from Anchi cathedral was moved there. Icon is one of the greatest relics of Georgia - Currently preserved in the Georgian Art Museum in Tbilisi. Nearby there is Rezo Gabriadze Marionette Theater which has a leaning tower - famous photo place for tourists.
Our next destination (depending on the circumstances: nunnery schedule or church service if it's in the morning we may attend the service or just visit the nunnery in the morning instead of evening, or may not be allowed to visit it at all) will be the sanctuary of St. Thekla in the village of Bevreti near the capital where the water of the river Digomi flows into the mountainous gorge surrounded by beautiful forests. This place is full of spirituality and the nuns there are very hospitable. In the Garden we will visit the Church of Virgin Mary and small church of St. Nicholas, which is a copy of the church Kvetera, built in the 10th century. Here we will see the lifestyle of nuns and their daily lives. There are daily services in the monastery that we can attend if possible.
Overnight in Tbilisi
Our first destination will be Holy Trinity Cathedral, which is the largest orthodox church in the country. Then we will drive to chronicle Georgia, which is a 16 pillar monument overlooking the Tbilisi reservoir. Each pillar tells us individual stories from the Bible or country’s history.
Then we will visit the old capital of Georgia, the holy city of Mtskheta. Our first first stop will be to the UNESCO protected Jvari Monastery from the 6th century. The name of the church means the cross because as soon as Georgia became Christian, King Mirian erected a high wooden cross in this place. The temple is the oldest example of cross type architecture. Jvari is also very popular because of its magnificent view of the two rivers merging with each other.
Then we will drive to the center of the town and visit Svetitskhoveli Cathedral - The most important monument of Georgian culture and architecturally distinguished by its artistic dignity. As the scriptures tell us, the Holy Robe of Christ is buried here.
Svetitskhoveli was the religious center of Georgia. Coronation of Georgian kings and baptism of Georgian princes took place in Svetitskhoveli. The temple is painted with beautiful frescoes and icons.
After that we will drive to Shiomghvime Monastery Complex- built in the 6th century by Shio, one of the Assyrian fathers, who spent the last two years of his life in a dark cave in the monastery and was buried there. Assyrian fathers were saints who came to Georgia from modern day Syria to strengthen cristianity and built 12 most notable monasteries in the vicinity of zorroastrian places of worship. The oldest building is the Church of St. John the Baptist, part of which is carved into the rock. Near the monastery, there are more than a hundred caves, which were the settlements of monks. After this stunning monument we will visit Kaloubani Church of St. George on the top of a mountain. In addition to its paintings, we will also enjoy wonderful views. A tree next to the church that looks as if it is part of the whole architecture and adds more calmness to the temple.
Then we will visit Zedazeni Monastery. The monastic life on this place was founded by the Assyrian father Ioane Zedazneli in the 6th century. Near the Monastery we will find the ruins of a fortress. At the end of the day we will return to the capital – Tbilisi.
Overnight in Tbilisi.
Kanda Assyrian fathers monastery – Ananuri – Gergeti trinity - Dariali monastery
The monastery named after the thirteen Assyrian fathers of Kanda is the only one where the liturgy is performed by father Seraphim whose singing in Georgian-Aramaic languages became famous in the whole orthodox world. In the morning we will visit this amazing place where we can attend the liturgy (if available)and be a part of this holy service.
Next we will make our way to Kazbegi via a military highway. Our first stop will be Ananuri Fortress – a castle and a seat of the Eristavis (Dukes) of Aragvi. The architectural treasure of the feudal times in Georgia is located next to the Jinvali Reservoir. Complex includes three churches: Church of the Mother of God, Church of the Deity and “Mkurnali'' Church.
After this sightseeing, we will reach the Friendship Monument located near Gudauri resort and Jvari Pass (2379m). Also called as Gudauri panorama, It depicts scenes from the history of Georgia and neighboring Russia. This place is distinguished by a panorama of the Caucasus mountains. Fresh air, enormous round stone arch, huge mountains - all of this will make you wonder if we really are on planet Earth. After this amazing experience, we can continue our journey to Kazbegi, where we may need to change cars to reach Gergeti Trinity Church. The temple is on the top of the mountain (2170 meters above sea level), from where the view of the whole region and there is iconic Mt Kazbek (5.047m) peak -3rd highest mountain in Georgia behind. Gergeti is also special by the fact that it is the only domed temple in the mountains of Eastern Georgia.
On this day our last destination will be Dariali Monastery Complex which is located near the Georgia-Russia border and represents the guard of Georgia. The construction of the monastery started in 2005 at the initiative of the Patriarch of Georgia. Here we will see the life of monks and we will have the opportunity to taste Georgian wine made by them.
Overnight in Stepantsminda
Patriarchs residence in Sno village – Truso valley monasteries or Lomisa monastery hike – Tbilisi
On this day we will follow the roads in the mountains of Georgia. We will visit the residence of the Patriarch of Georgia in Sno - a small beautiful village. There is a small church in the courtyard of the residence. Fresh air and beauty of the nature around will amaze us.
Then we will drive to Truso Valley - The heart of the Georgian mountains. Mineral springs, amazing landscapes, giant mountains - all in one valley. If we say that there is freedom in the mountains, we will find it in the valley of Truso. Here we will visit the nunnery which includes 17th century towers and 19th century basilica.
Alternatively, we can hike to Lomisa Church - The oldest shrine, Church of St. George is located on the mountain slopes. (Distance – 9km, Elevation Gain/Loss - 860m, 5-6 hours hike) The complex includes three buildings - a church, a bell tower and crypts. From this place you can see the breathtaking mountain landscape. Hike is not easy, however, if a group can hike, it can be a spiritual experience as this route is often done by Georgian pilgrims on Lomisoba holiday (around May-June). People put chains over their shoulders here following the pagan traditions which are mixed now with Christianity.
Overnight in Tbilisi.
Kozifa – Mukhileti – Sarkineti - Mzovreti - Akhaltsikhe
After breakfast we will drive to beautiful Dzama Valley immersed in a green nature. Our first stop will be at the monastery complex of Kozifa which was founded in the 8th century, named after St. George Kozifeli monastery near Jerusalem. The complex includes 5 churches which are not built at the same time but are attached to each other and forms a complex where monastic life dates back to the 6th centuries.Here we can see the crypt of monks whose bones were saved here for centuries.
After this sightseeing we will visit the complex of the Church of Virgin Mary in Mukhileti, which dates back to the 14th century. The complex includes the Church and the remains of other buildings which are badly damaged. The church located in the middle of the beautiful nature is relatively well preserved. This place can be an example of a very ordinary non-touristic monastery which may not have many visitors, is located in beautiful nature and may need support from visitors more than other monasteries.
Sarkineti Monastery, which will be our next destination, is a rock-cut church named after Shio Mghvimeli.
Then we will visit Mzovreti Fortress which guards the beautiful nature of Dzama Valley. Complex includes a church and castle-hall. The fortress of Zovreti was named as a monastery of the Assyrian Fathers. The church was built in the 17th century. While visiting this amazing complex you will travel in Georgian history.
If there is still time left, and in case the church can be still open we can also visit Samtsevrisi nunnery. Here is the new but one of the best frescoes performed by one of the best church artists in Georgia.
At the end of the day we will drive to Akhaltsikhe.
Overnight in Akhaltsikhe.
Sapara – Vardzia cave town – Upper Vardzia Nunnery – Saro Nunnery
In the morning we will drive to Sapara Monastery. The monastery, hidden in the woods, overlooks the beautiful valley. The complex includes several monuments. The Church of Virgin Mary is the oldest building , dating back to the 10th century. The interior of the Sapara is a continuation of the old traditions but also has many new details.
Our next stop will be the most important monument of Georgian history - Vardzia Cave town. In the Cave town we can find the main church, bell tower, cave dwellings, chapels, pharmacy, and wine cellars - dated to the Bronze Age. There are 15 churches in the Vardzia complex. The most important of them is the Church of the Assumption. There is a wonderful wall painting depicting George III and King Tamar. This is the earliest of King Tamar's only four surviving portraits. Near this sightseeing Upper Vardzia monastery is located, where the nuns live by the rules and prayers established by the Holy Fathers. The monastery is located in beautiful nature and fascinates all visitors with its coziness.
Then we will drive to Saro Archangel Church which was built in the 7th century. There is a beautiful view from the temple’s location. There is also a megalithic complex here and it was supposed to be used as a place of worship or star observation even before Christianity. According to those who follow Asian religions this place has high meditative energy. Finally we will drive to Akhaltsikhe.
Overnight in Akhaltsikhe.
St. Seraphim Saroveli monastery or Gujriskhevi chapel – Tabakini – Gelati Monastery - Kutaisi
After breakfast we will drive into the beautiful forests to visit St. Seraphim Saroveli monastery in Borjomi. Reverend Father, St. Seraphim - is one of the greatest holy figures in the Russian Church. He lived in the 19th century. Twelve times the Holy Mother of God appeared to him. In the complex we will see a sacred stone which is similar to the stone on which Father Seraphim Sarov knelt and prayed in the forest. Visitors can kneel and pray on this stone. Alternatively we can hike to Gujriskhevi chapel ruins near Tadzirisi village. After half our time we will reach the chapel which is a basilica of 9th-10th centuries. The interior of the church is dark due to the very narrow windows. We will be amazed by the beautiful forest and cool pleasant river gorge. There you can climb on the huge rock and enjoy the views of nature.
Then we will cross the pass to Western Georgia and drive at the foot of the mountain, in the gorge of the river Ajamuri, to visit the monastery of St. George of Tabakini. The monastery is located far from populated areas, but locals still manage to walk to the temple. In the complex we will visit the 7th century temple, the house of the monks with a yard and the temple of the twelve apostles built in this yard. There is a dog-breeder "Tabakini" nearby where monks have Caucasian type Georgian Shepherd dogs.
Our next destination will be Kutaisi where we will visit Gelati Monastery – one of the most important monuments of Georgian culture, which was founded by David the Builder in 1106. Most of the kings of Georgia are buried here. The complex, located in a beautiful place, was not only a monastery, but also an academy of culture and education. Gelati is a treasure of Georgian art – frescoes and decorations of the facades amazes every viewer.
Overnight in Kutaisi.
Martvili monastery – Martvili Canyon or Salkhino – Zugdidi Blachernae (Vlaherna) Chapel – Dadiani palace – Tsaishi cathedral – Zugdidi
In the morning we will go to the Samegrelo region. Our first stop will be Martvili Monastery which was founded in the 6th century. According to legend, here the pagans sacrificed their idol - big oak to the infants of their mothers. Andrew the First-Called miraculously cut down this oak. Martvili Monastery was a cultural and educational center where famous scribes worked. Then we have two alternatives. First one is to visit Martvili Canyon where you can enjoy the boat ride in the beautiful green gorge or we can go to Salkhino Dadiani Palace (the residence of Archbishop Martvili). The yard of the palace is large, cozy, and pleasant. Near the palace they produce Ojaleshi wine. Then we will go to the region center – Zugdidi where we will visit Zugdidi Cathedral. The construction of the church is associated with the icon of the Blachernae(Vlaherna) saint Mary, which was the main ancestral shrine of Dadiani, so it was treated with great care and attention. On every July 2, the robe of the Virgin Mary is brought to the temple, where believers are given the opportunity to worship Christian holiness. Traditionally, Zugdidi has a lot of guests on this day.
One of the main sightseeings of Zugdidi is the museum complex of the Dadiani Palace. Many important exhibits are preserved in the Dadiani Palace. Here we will find rare specimens of goldsmithing, christian relics, including the robe of the Virgin Mary. The garden of the palace is amazing where we can take a walk and take beautiful photos.
On this day our last destination will be Tsaishi cathedral. The domed temple was built in the 13th century. Cathedral was a center of education with a school near the church. Nearby there is a natural hot spring.
Overnight in Zugdidi.
Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary – Batumi Boulevard – Fish Market – Batumi
In the morning we will drive to the western edge of Georgia and visit Batumi city. Our first destination will be Neo-Gothic style Cathedral Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary which was built in the 20th century. The temple has a big architectural value. During the Soviet era, the church was used for various purposes, the church housed an archive and later a high-voltage laboratory.Then we will walk on the seaside boulevard in Batumi. We see the remarkable sights: the Alphabet Tower on which all Georgian letters are depicted, the statue of Alice and Nino - lovers from the famous Caucasian bestseller novel embracing each other. We will go to the fish market where we buy freshly caught sea bass fish and have it fried for us.
Overnight in Batumi.
Shemokmedi Monastery – Achi Monastery – Erketi nunnery – Tbilisi
In the morning we will drive towards the Guria region. Our first stop will be Shemokmedi monastery. The monastery consists of three monuments: the Church of the Savior of the 13th-14th centuries, the domed church of the 16th century - "Zarzma'' and the bell tower. The Church was built as a burial ground for the Gurian dukes, the Gurians. Precious icons and ecclesiastical items were preserved in the monastery. One of them was the Icon of Zarzma dating to 886 year, now preserved in the Museum of Art. Then we will visit Achi Monastery built in the 8th century. Monastery is hidden in the diverse nature of Guria, a beautiful refreshing river gorge. It is one of the most important monuments in Guria. The church is named after St. George because of the fresco of St. George with the defeated dragon. There is a cross and a vine ornament carved at the entrance of the Church.Next sightseeing is located in one of the most beautiful villages in Guria. Erketi Monastery dates back to the 7th century. The door of the IX century frescoes, as well as the ancient Gospel and the icon of the Archangel are preserved in the church. Nuns here are very hospitable. We can spend time with them and participate in some activity - help them in something. After that we will have a long drive to Tbilisi.
Overnight in Tbilisi.
St. John Baptist cave monastery in the desert – David Gareja Monastery Complex – Ninotsminda nunnery – Sighnaghi
In the morning we will drive to eastern Georgia. Our first destination will be David Gareja Monastic Caves Complex where we will visit Natlismtsemeli Monastery built in the 6th century. The monastery is founded in a rock massif where the stele, one of the most exquisite and highly artistic stone pillars in Georgia, is found with Asomtavruli inscription (currently kept in the National Museum). Here we can eat with monks and ask questions about their life and spirituality.It is one of the most magical places on earth where you can feel the spirit. Then we will move to the main complex of Davit Gareja.
Complex stretches for 25 kilometers on the semi-desert slopes of Gareja Mountain and still amazes visitors today with its high artistic value of construction art and painting.
Then we will visit Ninotsminda Complex. According to the legend, St. Nino (the woman who brought Christianity to Georgia) rested in this place and this temple was built in her honor. The main building was built in the 6th century. The monastery had a rich library from where some manuscripts have survived to our time. Currently there is monastic life in the temple. That's why while visiting the church we will meet nuns.
The day will finish in Sighnaghi town which is full of beautiful streets, old-style architecture and interesting sightseeings.
Overnight in Sighnaghi.
Bodbe Nino’s spring – Lunch in Winery – Gremi Castle – Alaverdi church – Tbilisi
In the morning we will drive to Bodbe to visit the monastery where the Georgian enlightener Saint Nino rests. That is why Bodbe Monastery occupies a special place in the spiritual life of Georgia. The tomb was so respected that the Mongols, who razed the whole country to the ground, left only the Bodbe temple unharmed. The monastery garden is very beautiful. Nearby there is the water source of St. Nino. This source has healing features. The water is very cold, but Christians who believe in the power of this natural source, go there.Then we will visit the winery for lunch. We will taste delicious Georgian dishes. Explore traditional winery and taste Georgian wine and vodka.
The next stop will be Gremi Castle which was built in the 16th century. One of the unique features of Georgian churches is that they blend into them. Gremi is one of the great examples of that. Then we will visit Alaverdi – Cathedral built in the 6th century. The complex, which is surrounded by a fence, combines buildings of different times. Alaverdi was one of the most famous shrines in medieval Georgia, and its holiday Alaverdoba was very popular. Monastery was the largest church in Georgia before the Trinity Cathedral was built in Tbilisi. Alaverdi is also distinguished by the fact that many kings of Kakheti are buried here.
After visiting these sights we will drive to Tbilisi.