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Samtskhe-Javakheti is one of the biggest areas of Georgia. Its entire area includes 6 421 sq/km and its capital and administrative center is the town Akhaltsikhe. The region is ethnically various with a mixture of Georgians, Armenians, Greeks, Ossetians, Russians and Ukrainians. Samtskhe-Javakheti is an ancient historic territory of Georgia and is thought to be the cradle of Georgian culture. The ancient Georgian tribes lived in this area. St. Nino of Capadoccia, the converter of Georgia to christianity, entered the country with a holy cross made of vine stems tied by her own hair via the foggy mountains of Javakheti. According to literary data and folk narration, it is the homeland of the most well-known Georgian poet – Shota Rustaveli – the place where the unique masterwork of Georgian culture were born. Samtskhe-Javakheti area includes a part of Meskheti, Javakheti and Tori.


The silently named southern flank of Georgia is a highly picturesque area whose cultural and natural attractions have unfortunately not prevented it from becoming one of the country’s most economically undeveloped areas. Its biggest sights are the exciting cave city of Vardzia constructed during the reign of Queen Tamar, an excellent ruler of 12th century Georgia. Vardzia is a place of wonders - cunningly carved caves connected by long tunnels, all graven by hand over 800 years ago, a natural cold-water source trickling from the rock-face, beautiful frescoes still as vivid as the day they were first painted... and another beauty is Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park. Also here are famous spa resort of Borjomi and the ski resort of Bakuriani. Sceneries are very diversed, from the alpine forests and meadows around Borjomi and Bakuriani to the bare volcanic canyons of the Vardzia territory.

Akhaltsikhe is the oldest town first mentioned in the 12th c. Buildings here include a numerously changed for¬tress; former palace belonging to the rulers of Akhaltsikhe; a mosque constructed by the Ottomans in 1752; a palace-like structure, etc. The fortress is surrounded by old residential buildings, so-called hall type cameras and a bathhouse.

The Golden fortress was built in the middle of 13th and early 14th cc. is one of the biggest citadels in Georgia and suggests a scenic view from its highest towers.

Borjomi’s Mineral Water Park dates from 1850 and is a splendid place to walk. This was where the original water source was found. Mineral water flows from taps in a pavilion straight in front of the entry, and a modern cable car carries you above the park to a hilltop Ferris wheel.

Aspindza- Vardzia Historical and Architectural State Museum-Reserve.

Museum-reserve is the cave-town architectural complex, the essential part of it was constructed in the IIth c. in the period of Queen Tamar. The most important thing is the paint¬ing of Vardzia Virgin Mary's church, where besides the scenes of Christ's life are also pictures of George III and Queen Tamar and Christ's icon.


Historically known as Meshed, the area has played an important part in Georgian history. It was a part of Tao-Klarjeti, the collection of principality from which the Bagrationi ¬dynasty extended its power in the 9th and 10th centuries, leading to the union of most of Georgia under their rule in 1008. A cradle of Georgian culture, Tao-Klarjeti expanded well into what’s now northeast Turkey, where a lot of interesting Georgian temples and monasteries may still be seen. Tao-Klarjeti obeyed Ottoman from the 1550s to the 1870s. It was briefly part of autonomous Georgia after the Russian Revolution, but most of it was occupied by Turkey when the Red Army assaulted Georgia in 1921.

Javakheti is more exalted southeastern half of Samtskhe-Javakheti. Bordering Armenia, it has a big amount of Armenian population.

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