Here you’ll find travel reports about Samtskhe-Javakheti. Discover travel destinations in Georgia of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

8 travelers at this place:

  • Day61

    Autumn scenery in Caucasus Mountains

    October 29, 2017 in Georgia

    After a few "what the hell are we doing here?"-moments, we found cycling through this gorgeous landscape to be worth any effort, with all the colors, valleys, creeks and waterfalls, the snow, sun and clouds, the coldness and warmth. We definitely want to come back one day to hike to the more remote Adjarian villages hidden in the mountains.

    It's been easy to find great camp spots next to a river, especially the beautiful Kura river makes you thinking about pitching the tent every few kilometers.

    Back on asphalt after more than 50km on difficult terrain, we came to appreciate smooth roads like never before.

    Another anecdote: Silke needs to speed up buying groceries if she doesn't want Hauke to cycle slalom behind - in Borjomi (which is actually famous for its healthy waters), there was enough time to get invited for three shots of vodka and some sausages, Gagimardschos!
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  • Day49


    July 20, 2017 in Georgia

    GUEST BLOG - Hannah

    As you'll have read in Tom's post, I followed in his footsteps by getting gastro. Although unlike him, I didn't choose a day when I could lie in a bed and wish death upon myself. Oh no, instead I chose to do it the day we drove and drove and drove down some terrible, terrible roads. I don't have (m)any photos from that day except the videos Tom has already shared. But I will say, don't fear... the roads have got worse since then as well.

    The day after the first epic drive, we headed to Vardzia down yet another glorified sheep path that clung to the sides of a mountain and zig zagged so tightly that the GPS couldn't decide what part of the road we were on. Vardzia is a cave monastery full of ascetic monk cells but also remaining frescoes and the remnants of fuller living quarters. It was largely abandoned after the Ottoman takeover in the sixteenth century but in the past 10 years it has started to operate as a monastery again, though we didn't see any monks.

    From there we went on to Kutaisi where we visited tge pillar of Kutaisi where a monk lives on offerings at the top of a large rock column. Very odd but somehow fitting and reminded me of the Indian gurus and religious hermits.

    We lucked upon another hostel that made us dinner from their home grown produce which was one of my favourite meals of the trip so far - not that I could eat much!
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  • Day23

    To Vardzia, a cave city

    September 10, 2017 in Georgia

    There was beautiful scenery again on the way to Khertvisi. We drove along a river in a valley surrounded by lush greenery beside it and then up into dry mountains.

    We stopped at Khertvisi Fortress. Meaning connect.
    Two rivers meet river Paravani and Mtkvari . It was built in the 10c. It was an important fortress with many soilders. It also included a church. It has a watch tower with round corners and another one with 5 corners in Georgia there aren't any others like that.

    Vardzia - meaning I am here uncle

    Vardzia is a cave city. It looks amazing a rabbit warren of tunnels built into the mountain. Eagles flying overhead and hundreds of sparrows flying around.

    Kng George III started to build it in the second half of the 12c ad. His daughter King Tamari finished building it. There are no natural caves, they were all dug out. Originally it was for fortification and there were 3000 caves which were destroyed because of earthquakes. Now there are 500. There were 4 ways of getting water ceramic pipes from the upper mountain, there was a spring at the church, there were holes where they collected rain water or lastly go down in a tunnel to the river. For food they had cattle. When there were 3000 caves they had 50000 people living here.

    There is a church in the middle of the complex of caves, and a library. There were 13 floors with a secret tunnel started from the top all the way to thr bottom.

    At times it was a monetary, there are still monks living here. Upper vardzia I think there were nuns.

    The rooms have channels carved out around the sides, this was for storage.

    At the begining of 13c the king had a battle with her ex-husband.

    To get down from the top we went through the tunnels, going through big caverns and rooms. They must have been very short as the tunnels were very low and some very steep steps.

    We had lunch by the stream with lots of wasps.

    Old city meant lion.
    It was started to be built on the 9c. The fortress was renovated 6 years ago, and they have included some strange buildings including some Russian summer house and Asian garden!! It doesn't seem to suit it!!

    The fortress had secret tunnels down to the river, I am starting to think most of them did. It was occupied by the Ottomans for 200 years and a mosque was built in fortress.

    If people didn't want to convert to Muslim they converted to Roman Catholics as they were protected by Roma but they had to pay higher taxes.

    There area is know for its religious tolerance. The mosque which had Christian elements built in 18c and church in complex.

    They say the word wine comes from Georgia, hervieno.

    Hotel Lomsia
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  • Day24

    Stalin and the Caucuses

    September 11, 2017 in Georgia

    Along the river just neat Borjomi they hold an international white water rafting competition. As we passed by there were lots of little tents pitched by the river as the competition is soon.

    Education was important in the history of Georgia however during the centuries when invasions where high, there was little focus on it. During Soviet union times, education was important.

    As we drove passed Osiurai there are hundreds of hammocks and swinging chairs for sale.

    Police here seem to drive with their flashing lights on all the time. And just sit stationary in a lane on the road, not sure if that's very safe.

    We first visited Uplistsikhe which is another cave city. Ot means 'God fortress' well the leader of the strongest tribe, so leader fortress. There is evidence that it was inhabited as far back as the 3 millennium bc. The majoroty of the caves were caved during classical antiquity times. At the summit of the complex is Uplistsi church, built in the 10c. It was originally painted but Russians white washed it.

    Originally there were about 500 caves, now there are about 200 caves as they were destroyed in 1920.
    It was used for different purposes, fortress, religion etc. At one time it was the centre of fire worship. After Georgia became Christian a church was built in 6c ad.

    It had 3 parts, the head of the tribe lived in the central part.

    Some caves have a second back room, which was used for storage. There is even a theatre from 2c bc. And a hall of Tamari, though she never lived here, at one stage the side rooms of the hall were used as a bakery and winery. And a secret tunnel to the river.

    Pagan elements we still know to be used here until 18c.

    Medieval times they weren't as particular when carving out the caves and you can still see the tool marks.

    Possessing the fortress meant possessing the heart of the Caucasuses so it was the site of many battles. It was also on the silk road and the main route between the Caspian Sea and Black Sea. You can still see the dents from carts, they came in via one tunnel.
    It was a beautiful site, though would have great go have seen it when it was still all caves, would have been amazing.


    Stalin was born in Gori and lived there until he was 15. Stalin was actually just a nickname which he used from 1913, meaning man of steal, he though had many nicknames. At 8 he joined a boys ecalstic school. At 18 he became a member of the social democratic party.

    It was an interesting museum, with this scary lady taking us on a flying tour. They had hos furniture from one of his offices in the Kermlen and one of his train carriages, he even had air-conditioning and a bath in his carriage!! He never flew anywhere.

    On the way to Gudauri we stop at Ananuri a complex with churches. More churches!!

    When Russia took South Osseita they used and took the road from Gudauri with a major part of it running beside a large reservoir, Zhinvali. It's known as the Georgian Military Highway. Not sure if I would call it a highway, it's one lane each way, narrow and starts go climbing into the Caucasuses so becomes windy and steep. The scenery is beautiful green hills and amazing rock formations. Actually on the way up the bus overheats so we need to stop for a while but was a great opportunity for photos.

    Also along the way there are housing dotted along the mountains with big hay stays along the hills. Often there are suspension bridges across the river to reach the houses. I would imagine in winter they would be isolated.

    Marco Polo
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  • Day12

    Akhaltskhe & die Türken

    September 4, 2017 in Georgia

    Heute früh also wieder einmal im ein vollgepacktes Marshrutka und los ging die wilde Fahrt. Abreise aus der Hauptstadt. Manche Fahrer versuchen wirklich scheinbar in der Zeit zurück zu reisen. Blöd nur dass sie einen Sprinter steuern und keinen DeLorean!

    Die Reise ging nun westwärts in eine kleine Stadt mit Namen Akhaltskhe, gesprochen A-chal-tsi-che. Bis vor wenigen Jahren in post-soviet Tristesse verfallen, versucht die Regierung hier durch jede Menge Bau Projekte neuen Schwung zu bringen. Allen voran hat man das ansässige Castle bzw. eher Festung vor wenigen Jahren absolut auf Vordermann gebracht.

    Rabati, die neue Burg auf georgisch, thront über der Stadt und dem Fluss. Super interessant, dass es sehr türkisch aussieht. Mit Moscheendach und vielen Ornamenten. Dies hat einen guten Grund: die Region war 200 Jahre unter türkischer Herrschaft (und liegt auch heute nur 20km von der Grenze entfernt!) ! Allerdings ist sie bis heute Ort vieler Religionen die sich seit Jahrhunderten im Einklang befinden, es gibt Gebetsstätten von fünf Religionen hier!

    Die Moschee in der Mitte von Rabati wurde über die Jahre drei mal von Islam zu orthodoxer Kirche und zurück geändert, sodass heute Halbmond UND Kreuz vertreten sind. Allerdings ist es heute ein leer stehender Bau.

    Mit eines der schönsten und interessantesten Castles das ich je gesehen habe!
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  • Day12

    Vardzia: Eine Stadt im Fels

    September 4, 2017 in Georgia

    Besser bekannt ist Akhaltskhe als Absprungbasis für Touren ins anliegende rauhe Canyon artige Umland. Hier ist es so abgelegen dass es selbst kaum Marshrutka gibt. Also einen Taxifahrer engagiert. Für 70 Lari (ca. 25€) waren wir uns einig dass er mich vier Stunden herum fährt. Los ging es also an beeindruckenden Felslandschaften vorbei in Richtung Vardzia.

    Und ich muss sagen, ich war schwer beeindruckt! Königin Tamar baute hier im 12./13. Jahrhundert eine Felsstadt und etablierte dort eine Kloster Gemeinde. Zu Ihrer Hochzeit lebten auf 13 Etagen in über 400 Räumen hier über 2.000 Mönche.

    Ein Erdbeben und einige Perser Angriffe sorgten dafür dass viele der Frontmauern der Höhlen zerstört sind. Aber seit Fall des Soviet Regimes Leben wieder Mönche hier und auch die Instandsetzung nimmt Formen an! :) Alleine die Fresken der riesigen innen gelegenen Kirche... Der Wahnsinn!

    Für fünf Lari Eintritt durfte ich jedenfalls lange durch die Höhlen klettern, was bei nahe 40 Grad eine extrem Schweiß treibende Angelegenheit war ;)
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  • Day12

    Sapara oben auf den Bergen

    September 4, 2017 in Georgia

    Letzter Stop auf der Rundfahrten war Sapara. Wie so oft haben auch hier die Georgier einen traumhaften Platz für den Bau eines Klosters gewählt. Datiert auf das ca. 9. Jahrhundert war Sapara lange Zeit der Sitz der regierenden Familie. Die Festung oberhalb des Klosters zeugt davon.

    Größte der vielen Kirchen und Kapellen ist St. Saba. Unglaubliche Fresken zieren die Wände und das war wohl die erste Kirche dieser Welt in der ich war, wo sich jeder vor Ehrfurcht an das Stille Gebot gehalten hat!Read more

  • Day8

    Zmena za zmenou

    May 7, 2017 in Georgia

    Druhá noc medzi horami bola príjemnejšia. Jednak sme spali v nižšej polohe, a teda bolo teplejšie, zem bola rovnejšia, takže sme sa v stanoch nešmýkali pri každom pohybe, no a ... neboli tam lajná.

    Nedočkavo sme vyzerali prvé slnečné lúče, aby sme si vysušili stany po nočnej prehánke. V horách sa na predpoveď počasia nedá spoľahnúť. Nakoniec sme to všetko stihli a presne sme sa stretli s našim hostiteľom Kokom, ktorý nás mal odviesť z Mestie do prímorského Batumi. Na jeho jazdu sme si už zvykli, je jasné, že vie čo robí.

    Po ceste sme ale zmenili plány, lebo pri mori vraj má pršať. Koka tak musel zmeniť tiež svoje plány. Neskôr ale ide vyzdvihnúť 10 Číňanov, ktorých vraj v pohode napchá na 7 miest vo svojej dodávke.

    Prestupovali sme v už pre nás známom Kutaisi na "stanici mini busov" hneď vedľa Mc Donald's.

    Rusky hovoriaci postarší pán nám predviedol ako naozaj vyzerá gruzínska jazda. Tepomer som už radšej ani nepozeral.

    Dorazili sme do mesta Borjomi, ktoré sa nachádza hneď pri jednom z národných parkov.

    Veľa sme však nevyhrali, lebo sa tu akurát spustila búrka. A pršať má najbližšie tri dni 😎
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  • Day9


    May 8, 2017 in Georgia

    Príjemné ráno v našom pohodovom apartmániku. Večer sa nám podarilo oprať veci z predošlých dní a aj seba, čo všetci ocenili.

    Navštívili sme centrum národného parku, aby sme si vybavili povolenie a zistili informácie, čo sa vlastne dá robiť. Žiaľ, mnoho značených trás je z nejasného dôvodu zatvorených. Zostala nám teda jedna, a tú z časových dôvodov už dnes nestíhame. Necháme si ju teda na nasledujúce dva dni. Uvidíme, či sa niečo dovtedy zmení :)

    Čo ale dnes? Počasie neodzrkadľuje včerajšiu a ani dnešnú predpoveď, je vcelku slnečno a horúco.

    Relax, oddych, varenie.

    Zrúcanina a kúpanie.

    Rozhovory s arménskym sprievodcom. Dohadujeme sa, že o dva roky krajinu navštívime, aby sme mohli ,okrem iného, vyjsť na štvortisícový vrch Aragac a okúpať sa v jazere Sevan.

    Avšak dnes - siesta.
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  • Day12

    Acha, Atscha, Alka.. čo?

    May 11, 2017 in Georgia

    Kam to vlastne ideme? Hodnú chvíľu to nikto nevedel vysloviť. Niektorí sa o to radšej ani nepokúšali. Akhaltsikhe. Gruzinsky napísané to radšej ani nechcete vidieť.

    Došli sme akurát v začiatku niekoľko hodinového dažďa. Popri ubytovávaní sme opäť oprášili ruštinu. Určite bude treba vo výučbe pokračovať, zíde sa.

    Večerný program sme vyriešili chachou od Baby Jagy. Tak sme pomenovali babku, ktorá nám ju predala preto, lebo na druhý nákup nahodila 100% prirážku.

    Ráno sa vyčasilo a po daždi ani stopy. Slnečno a priam horúco. Kto by to bol povedal, mne sa už druhý krát zošúpal nos a mám cyklistické opálenie.

    Je tu krásne.

    Sme 20km od tureckých hraníc v objatí zelených kopcov, niektoré sú stále pokryté snehom. Údolie pretína rieka popri ktorej sa nachádza niekoľko zrúcanín dávnych pevností. A my sme navštívili nedávno zrekonštruovanú, najväčšiu - Rabati.

    Terasy, záhrady, bazény, veže. Ako stvorené pre parkour. Sme trochu radi, že sezóna ešte riadne nezačala, mali sme veľa príležitostí fotiť bez iných turistov. Dnes tu je inak opäť sviatok, múzeum bolo teda zatvorené. Expozícia trochu chýbala, tak sme náš smäd po informáciách uhasili pivom načapovaným do PET fľaše.

    Ľudia sú k nám veľmi milí. Keď treba, pomôžu ako len vedia.

    Naozaj sa tu treba vrátiť. Skalné mesto Vardzia žiaľ nestíhame. Naše kroky akurát smerujú do hlavného mesta Tbilisi. Prvý krát ideme verejnou dopravou, minibusom, ktorý tu volajú Marshrutka.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Samtskhe-Javakheti, Samzche-Dschawachetien, Самцхе-Џьавахеҭи, Samtsxe-Cavaxeti diyarı, Самцхэ-Джавахеты, Самцхе-Джавахети, Samtsche-Djavachethi, Samtskhé, Samcche-Džavachetie, Samçxe-Cavaxeti, Samcĥe-Javaĥeti, Región de Samtsje-Yavajeti, Samtshe-Džavahhethi, سامتسخه-جاواختی, Samtskhe-Džavakheti, Samtskhé-Djavakhétie, סאמצחה-גאוואחתי, Szamche-Dzsavaheti, Սամցխե-Ջավախք, სამცხე-ჯავახეთის მხარე, 삼츠헤자바헤티 주, Samcchė-Džavachetija, Самцхе-Џавахетија, Samtsche-Dzjavacheti, Samcche-Dżawachetia, Samtsche-Dzjavachetien, Samtshe-Cavaheti, Самцхе-Джавахеті, سامتسخے-جاواختی, სამცხე-ჯავახეთიშ აკანი, 薩姆茨赫-扎瓦赫季州

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