11 Things You Can Only See in Georgia

With seaside, mountains, lakes, historic ruins and rich cultural heritage, there’s an abundance of incredible sights you can only see in Georgia.

Photograph by Eva Mencnerova, Shutterstock
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The Vardzia monastery is carved into a cave and dates back to the 12th century.
Photograph by Eva Mencnerova, Shutterstock

Here are 11 unique and unmissable sights to put on your list.

1. Katskhi Pillar

This 40m high natural limestone wonder is one of the most enduring images of Georgia. It overlooks the Katskhura river valley near the town of Chiatura and a monastery sits on top. Visitor's are not allowed to ascend but experts date the church buildings back to the 8th or 9th century.

Katskhi Pillar in Georgia’s Imereti Region is 40m high and overlooks the Katskhura river valley.

2. The Historical Monuments of Mtskheta

This mystical town is the spiritual heart of Georgia. The former capital, it’s an easy day trip from Tbilisi and its centre is a UNESCO heritage site that includes the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, the second largest church building in the country. This endangered monument was originally built in the 4th century, but has been rebuilt several times after damage by invading forces.

The 4th century mystical town of Mtskheta was once the capital of Georgia.

3. The view from the Jvari Monastery

The Jvari Monastery is an important building in its own right, but the view from it is quite spectacular. The complex of buildings was constructed over a variety of periods, and the architecture is visibly different from room to room. From the site, you can look out over Mtskheta and the Mtkvari River.

Georgia's Jvari Monastery has spectacular views of where the Aragvi and the Mtkvari meet.

4. Vardzia

This incredible place is a cave monastery that dates back to the 12th century. The 19 tiers of caves stretch along the cliffs for around 500m. On UNESCO’s tentative list to become a heritage site, it has been abandoned since the 16th century, but preserved for visitors, including the Church of Dormition, and various paintings depicting religious scenes.

Vardzia cave monastery is on UNESCO's list of possible next heritage sites.

5. Uplistsikhe

One of the oldest settlements in the whole of Georgia, this ancient town, built into the rocks in the east of the country is unmissable. It covers eight hectares, with caves, dwellings and interconnecting passages and narrow streets. Uncovered by archaeologists in 1957, what remains is less than half of the huge city that once housed 20,000 people.

The ancient city of Uplistsikhe is one of the oldest settlements in Georgia and once housed 20,000 people.

6. Udziro (Bottomless) Lake

One of the most beautiful views in Georgia, this incredible lake located in mountainous region of Racha, it takes two days to hike to and can only be visited in the summer months. What sets it apart is its stunning reflection of the mountains surrounding it.

Udziro earned its label of 'bottomless lake' thanks to its stunning reflection of the surrounding mountains.

7. Ananuri Fortified Castle Ensemble

One of the world’s great crossroads, Georgia has seen more than its fair share of invading forces, and Ananuri has been the site of numerous battles. The ensemble of castles and churches dates back to the 13th century and was in use until the 19th. Its mountain backdrop adds to the dramatic vista.

Stunning views of the Ananuri Fortress, which is situated on the shores of the Zhinvali Reservoir.

8. Paliashvili Opera House

Tbilisi is worth a visit for many reasons, but one of its great sights is the opera house, opened in 1851. It’s a stunning piece of architecture in its own right, and one of the oldest buildings of its kind in Eastern Europe. It recently benefitted from a six year renovation project at a cost of US$40m.

Paliashvili Opera House recently benefited from a $40 million renovation project.

9. Gadachrili Gora

This neolithic village is where it is believed the world’s first wine was produced. Pottery fragments have revealed wine residue dating back 8,000 years.

10. The Treaty of Georgievsk Monument

On the military road heading towards Stepantsminda is this monument built in 1983 to celebrate the bicentennial of the Treaty of Georgievsk between Georgia and Soviet Russia. Regardless of what you think of the art, there’s no doubt it’s an imposing, impressive structure

This imposing monument was built in 1983 to celebrate the bicentennial of the treaty between Georgia and Soviet Russia.

11.The Cable Cars of Chiatura

Back in the 1800s, Chiatura grew up as a Manganese mining town. Miners used cable cars to transport them around the uneven terrain, and incredibly, some are not only still in existence, but continue to be used by locals.

Incredibly, some of the 19th century mining cable cars of Chiatura are still used today.

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