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A holy place for each Georgian is the former capital of Georgia, Mtskheta, located 20 km from the present capital, Tbilisi. So many saints and interesting places like in Mtskheta, can’t be found in any other corner of Georgia. It was a reason that the ancient city was called “second Jerusalem”. And absolutely deservedly, as that was the place where St. Nina, one of the most honored shrines of Georgia, brought good news. Heaton-Lord –is the main Christian shrine, which is located in Mtskheta. Exactly here is preserved the main Christian cathedral of Georgia- Svetitskhoveli. This is the reason that Mtskheta is one of the holiest Christian cities. Here regularly come a huge amount of Christians on a pilgrimage, and not only from Caucasus, but from around the world.

In addition to numerous historical buildings, there is a fantastic nature in Mtskheta. Only mountains are around, and between them- there are few mountain lakes, across mountains flow little mountain rivers. And Mtskheta is merged by Georgian rivers – Aragvi and Kura. Today, near Jvari monastery is built a small observation deck, where people can admire by the wonder of Georgian nature!


The pride of Mtskheta is Jvari monastery – one of the most ancient Georgian monasteries. It was built in the VI century, when the Georgian people were in the process of adoption of Christianity. The name “Jvari” from the Georgian language is translated as a “cross”. Also, this monastery is famous for that was the place for the action of immortal poem by Mikhail Lermontov – “Novice”. Similarly to Jvari, Svetitskhoveli is also a big reason for pride and the main sight of the town, as it is one of the oldest Christian cathedral in Georgia. The name “Svetitskhoveli” from the old Georgian language is translated as “life-giving pillar”. Pilgrimage services are still conducted here.

Samtavro Monastery is one of the oldest convents in Georgia where ministry is still conducted. It was built in the XI century, and at the same place the remains of the Georgian King Mirian and his wife Nana were buried. King Mirian is the first head of Georgia, who adopted Christianity in 337.

To date, the ancient city of Mtskheta is one of the few historical sights in Georgia, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage of Georgia.


According to legends, which are very famous in the Georgian national folklore, in the ancient times the settlement of Mtskheta was founded by the king Mtsehotos. According to the same legend, the king Mtsehotos is the son of the first king of Kartli. The name of the settlement comes from the name of this immortal king – Mtsehotos.

But there is no need to put too much trust to a legend, what does official history say? First mention of the historic capital of Georgia – Mtskheta, began in the second half of I millennium BC. That is at the moment when in a modern Georgia the first state association – Iberia appeared. The city was often attacked by aggressive campaigns. Mtskheta was always tried to be captured by the Romans, Persians, Greeks, and many others.

Mtskheta was the capital of Georgia a little less than a thousand years, and at the end of V century BC, the king Gorgasali turned Tbilisi into the capital. But Mtskheta was not forgotten. This city, full of Christian churches and treasures, became the religious capital of Georgia. For a long time there was a residence of Georgian Catholicos – the heads of the Georgian Christian Church.

Today, along with Tbilisi and Pitsunda, Mtskheta is recognized by Chair of Catholicos.

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