Tbilisi (Georgian: თბილისი, [tbiˈliːsi] (help ·info), literally "Warm Spring") is the capital and the largest city of Georgia, lying on the banks of the Mt'k'vari (Kura) River. The name is derived from an early Georgian form T'pilisi and it was officially known as Tiflis (ტფილისი) until 1936. The city covers an area of 726 km² (280.3 square miles) and has 1,480,000 inhabitants.
Founded in the 5th century AD by Vakhtang Gorgasali, the Georgian King of Kartli (Iberia), and made into a capital in the 6th century, Tbilisi is a significant industrial, social, and cultural center. The city is also emerging as an important transit route for global energy and trade projects. Located strategically at the crossroads between Europe and Asia and lying along the historic Silk Road routes, Tbilisi has often been the point of contention between various rivaling powers and empires. The history of the city can be seen by its architecture, where the Haussmannized Rustaveli Avenue and downtown are blended with the narrower streets of the medieval Narikala district.
The demographics of the city is diverse and historically it has been home to peoples from different cultures, religions and ethnicities. Despite being overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian, Tbilisi is one of the few places in the world (Sarajevo and Paramaribo being another) where a synagogue and a mosque are located next to each other, in the ancient Bath district several hundred meters from the Metekhi Church. In recent times, Tbilisi has become known for the peaceful Rose Revolution, which took place around Freedom Square and nearby locations after the contested parliamentary elections of 2003 led to the resignation of the Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze.
Tbilisi has one international airport. Notable tourist destinations include Tbilisi Sameba Cathedral, Freedom Square, Sioni Cathedral, Metekhi, Narikala, Parliament of Georgia, Rustaveli Avenue, Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre, Anchiskhati Basilica, Mtatsminda (Holy Mountain), Kashveti Church along with the National and Historic Museums of Georgia and numbers of art galleries. Tbilisi is the home of famous artists. The city life was immortalized in their art by Niko Pirosmani and Lado Gudiashvili.
Visit of the Old Capital Mtskheta Mtskheta (Georgian: მცხეთა), one of the oldest cities of the country of Georgia (in Kartli province of Eastern Georgia), is located approximately 20 kilometers north of Tbilisi at the confluence of the Aragvi and Kura rivers. The city (population 19,423 as of January 1, 2008) is now the administrative centre of the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region. Due to its historical significance and numerous ancient monuments, the "Historical Monuments of Mtskheta" became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.
Sveti Skhoveli, the cathedral of Mtskheta, which was the capital of Georgian from the 8th to the 14th century. Nino, a woman from Cappadocia, brought Christianity to Mtskheta in the 4th century, and the kings made it their state religion in 337, the oldest Christian kingdom in the East. On the foundations of Nino's church Sveti Skhoveli was built in the 11th century. During the following centuries it was enlarged and altered - as one can see from this picture.
This beautiful cross, chased in gold sheet and mounted on a wooden frame, which is believed to have been made from Nino's first cross, graces the altar of the church. At its feet are the burial vaults of the kings of Georgia down to Wakhtang XIII its last king, who ceded Georgia to Russia in 1801.
Visit of the Jvari Church
Jvari or Jvari Monastery (Georgian: ჯვარი, ჯვრის მონასტერი) is a Georgian Orthodox monastery of the 6th century near Mtskheta (World Heritage site), Mtskheta-Mtianeti region, eastern Georgia. The name is translated as the Monastery of the Cross. vari Monastery stands on the rocky mountaintop at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, overlooking the village of Mtskheta, which was formerly the capital of the Kingdom of Iberia.
According to traditional accounts, on this location in the early 4th century Saint Nino, a female evangelist credited with converting King Mirian III of Iberia to Christianity, erected a large wooden cross on the site of a pagan temple. The cross was reportedly able to work miracles and therefore drew pilgrims from all over Caucasus. A small church was erected over the remnants of the wooden cross in c.545 named the “Small Church of Jvari”.
The present building, or “Great Church of Jvari”, was built between 586 and 605 by Erismtavari Stepanoz I. The importance of Jvari complex increased over time and attracted many pilgrims. In the late Middle Ages, the complex was fortified by a stone wall and gate, remnants of which still survive. During the Soviet period, the structure was largely ignored, with access rendered difficult by tight security at a nearby military base. After the independence of Georgia, the building was restored to active religious use. Jvari was listed together with other monuments of Mtskheta in 1996 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
However, over the centuries the structures suffered damage from rain and wind erosion and inadequate maintenance, and Jvari was listed by the World Monuments Fund as one of the 100 most endangered sites in the world in 2004. After considerable restoration work, it was removed from the list in 2007.
Visit of the Ananuri Architectural Complex Ananuri (Georgian: ანანური ) is a castle complex on the Aragvi River in Georgia, about 45 miles from Tbilisi.
Ananuri was a castle and seat of the eristavis (Dukes) of Aragvi, a feudal dynasty which ruled the area from the 13th century. The castle was the scene of numerous battles.
In 1739, Ananuri was attacked by forces from a rival duchy, commanded by Shanshe of Ksani and was set on fire. The Aragvi clan was massacred. However, four years later, the local peasants revolted against rule by the Shamshe, killing the usurpers and inviting King Teimuraz II to rule directly over them. However, in 1746, King Teimuraz was forced to suppress another peasant uprising, with the help of King Erekle II of Kakheti. The fortress remained in use until the beginning of the 19th century. In 2007, the complex has been on the tentative list for inclusion into the UNESCO World Heritage Site program.
Visit of Mukhrani Wine Cellar More information: http://www.mukhrani.com/
The vineyards occupy 23 parcels, amounting up to 100 hectares near the Chateau itself. Here vine has been cultivated for centuries. Famous Mukhrani vineyards, cherished by a moderate sun, have been planted with different varieties, like : Reds - Saperavi, Cabernet, Tavkveri, Shavcapito, Petit Verdot, Nero d'Avola, Syrah, Whites - Chardonnay, Rkatsiteli, Sauvignon Blanc.
The specific geological and climatic features of this terroir coupled with a skillful and patient selection of the varieties, offer unique conditions for creating red and white wines of exceptional quality of the Chateau Mukhrani as well as those of the Mukhrani Estate. An extremely severe final selection leads to a production limited to 25000 bottles for 2007 vintage. Relatively younger and eager Mukhrani Estate wines for 2007 vintage are limited to 75 000 bottles.
(Source : http://en.wikipedia.org, http://www.mukhrani.com/)