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The south Georgian area of Kvemo Kartli is one of Georgia’s treasury place that lacks attention. Although most of the region is just a short ride from Tbilisi, and is full of natural beauty and antique memorials, many travelers ignore it for more outstanding parts of Georgia. This is wrong, as the area is a charming mix of nationalities, climates and topographies. The plains south of Tbilisi are abundant by agriculture, and are homeland to many Azerbaijan communities.

The capital of the area is Rustavi, an industrial Soviet town that has been a victim of different attacks many times.


Town is worth visiting by those who are interested in Soviet architecture, as it has an ‘old’ centre made in Stalinist style, and a later addition constructed under Brezhnev and fully modernist. Most travelers, however, will want to head for the regions many antique memorials, including Bolnisi Sioni, the ancient main church in Georgia. Built in 480, this clumsy basilica made of distinguishing blue-green tuff includes the oldest Georgian inscription so far discovered in the country, and it’s enormous size and rigor make it a wonderful monument from what are often described as the ‘dark ages’. Further to the south west, about a two hour ride from Tbilisi, is the charming archaeological area of Dmanisi. As well as being perceptible as the oldest hominid site outside Africa, the medieval remains of Dmanisi town are also very expressive. The ruins of the royal castle, constructed – inevitably – on a rock, still include its original bathhouses, and old churches and escape tunnels complete the scene of a heavily protected medieval town. The complex is set on a natural cliff spur, overlooking lush wooded lowlands that call out for picnicking. Nature amateurs, veteran hikers, and adventurers, meanwhile, should fall into the natural labyrinth of the Birtvisi canyons. This massive complex of camstone crevasses and coombs are one of the most exciting – and most fun – hiking destinations in Georgia. Just an hour from Tbilisi, the hidden lowlands of Birtvisi contain secret palaces, springs and waterfalls, all set in the most wonderful camstone massif.

Betania is Georgian Orthodox church formed in 12-13th centuries. The monastery is located in Didgori municipality, right side of Vere river, 15 km away from Tbilisi. It is a great piece of architecture of the “Golden Age” of the Kingdom of Georgia and is perceptible for its wall paintings which include a group portrait of the modern Georgian monarchs.

There is enough to research here to keep you busy for weeks, but it might be worth taking a guide, and the place really is a maze.


Kvemo Kartli is the most interesting place for exploring the stone age. The whole Georgian stone age is here – both Dmanisi settlement and Trialet barrows etc. Georgian culture is germinated here.

Historically this region was called Trialeti, anyway, its northern half.

Before the Arab attack, Kvemo Kartli was between Georgia and Armenia and was poorly mastering by both parts. At that time Trialet mountains almost always belonged to Georgia, and South region – to Armenia. In VIII century after Marwan the Deaf attack, Tbilisi Emirate was formed, which from the beginning took the entire territory of modern Kvemo- Kartli.

In 1921 the Bolsheviks occupied Shulaveri, announced Soviet power there and Soviet-Georgian war began, which also took place on the territory of Kvemo Kartli. 11th army attacked through Rustavi to Tbilisi, where the battle for Tbilisi took place. It was probably the last large-scale historical event in Kvemo Kartli.

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