Why Everyone Must Visit Georgia? The Country It Is, Not The US State!


Travelling to Georgia from Dubai has now become a mainstream destination.  Aside from it is just a short flight journey, they offer visa on arrival for UAE residents ( and free bottle of red wine in immigration too). Probably the most affordable trip we ever had. It is a gem indeed that is waiting for you to discover. July and August are summer months while September and October are tourist seasons, at this time water in the Black Sea is still warn and in the mountains the weather allows you to ski until first quarter of the following year.

This is the FREE wine handed to me in passport control arrival
Those hanging sausage-like rolls are called Churchkhela, it's a traditional Georgian solidified Georgian grape juice made with almonds.
I don't expect much about going here at first. But I gotta admit, this country blew my mind, I feel like being transported to different century of civilization.

This is just one of bewitching appeal of labyrinth narrow streets in Tbilisi. Mostly in slopes, so expect climbing the hill walk experience.

The people are so welcoming and for all time do their best to assist us in any way they can.  To be honest I'm always lost in translation but I'm not , it's a truest form of human connection. ( yes! there's more sign language done and pointing menus)

Fresh berries, nuts and traditional Georgian sweet vendor in Fortress at the lake in Ananuri on our  way to Kazbegi mountains.
They are blessed with natural resources and provisions, beautiful mountains, natural flowing mineral water. fruits and vegetation, cattle, swine and birds, you name it, they've got it all.  Georgian are the force to follow on how to preserve and respect nature.

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/08/13/travel/reasons-to-visit-georgia/

Where exactly is Georgia? Nope not the state in USA it's the country!

Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan.


1. It's a food and beer haven

It's mostly about food when I travel and In Georgia everything is cheap. 10 dollars goes a long..... way!  I thought beers are half the price compared to other countries. Khachapuri is not just another bread, it is a glorious pizza like food with lots of varieties to choose from, It is just one of the famous food where Georgian cuisine is primed. Garlic chicken, beef and pork dishes are all sensational, they've got distinct unique spice blend tradition that is still in use.

"Khachapuri" is a traditional bread filled with cheese, also in egg. While those little pao pockets are called "Khinkali" filled with spicy minced meat, usually beef and pork.
European style dishes are also common in restaurants in Chardeni street to cater tourists


Average pint beer price is about 2$ USD 
Chateau Mukhrani wine tour is highly recommended to all wine enthusiasts, discover the Georgian Royal family and legends that includes wine tasting at the end of the tour. 30$ USD per person, 

Pork dishes are common in Georgia

A full meal with 3 main dishes and  beer like this is about 35$ USD

Ordered standard shawarma, it's more than 1 foot long for 3$ USD. They've got big and large too...

2. Tbilisi City has a lot to offer

The city might be small but it has a lot of tourist attractions and ancient heritage to discover. Taxis and metro are the easiest way to get around. If you don't mind walking, there's a free tour everyday from 6pm by explore outdoor, you can read all the details HERE.

View from the top on the way to Mother of Georgia statue riding through cable car. Bridge of Peace, President's Palace, Sameba - Holy Trinity Church and the new Tbilsi Theater are the dominant infrastructure perfectly nestled with the old city.
3. The mountains and nature

Georgia is a mountainous country, going out of Tbilisi and enjoy magnificent breathtaking scenic locations should not be missed. Getting tickets of Kazbegi tour, we pass through turquoise lake view from Ananuri 16th century fortress, then ski resort of Gudauri. (good to know and will try to ski during winter months) Weather is equally good in summer too.

Mount Kazbek is one of the major mountains of the Caucasus located on the border of Kazbegi District of Georgia and North Ossetia.
Mountain cliff view along the military highway in Georgia on the way to Kazbegi mountains
Edge of the cliff view from top of Gergeti Trinity church overlooking the village at an elevation of 2170 meters, under Mt. Kazbegi.
We pass to this Waterfall of Mineral Water in Mtiuleti and savor it's freshness 

4. Religious people

Their government provides complete freedom of religion of belief.  Everyone is so religious and it draws attention to my own faith. 

Christianity is not a state religion, but its special status is recognize by the Concordat of 2002. Apart from the Georgian Orthodox Church, Christianity in Georgia is represented by followers of the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church, and a Georgian Catholic Church which is mostly follows the Latin Rite.
In Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, the second largest church in the country, located in Mtskheta, the former capital of Georgia.
In Mtskheta tour at Svetitskhoveli Cathedral built in 4th century AD where Sidonia is buried with  Jesus Christ's robe is preserved. 


5. Churches 


Constructed between 1995 to 2004, the Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi also known as Sameba is the main Cathedral of Georgian Orthodox in the country.  We stayed (Mirobelle Hotel) just right across this magnificent religious infrastructure.

6. The vineyards

Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions in the world. Chateau Mukhrani is just one of the vineyards, with lots of dry wines varieties to choose, there's a Georgian wine that pairs well with every palate. We came right in time to see the grapes before the harvest next month. (September)

Grapes ready for harvest next month at Chateau Mukhrani vineyards
Chateau Mukhrani was founded 1878 by the Prince of Mukhrani, heir of the royal family of Georgia. Abandoned during former Soviet Union and completely renewed by Marussia Beverages and Georgian shareholders in 2003.  Aside from wines, they also produce Chacha, it's a pomace brandy also famously known as the Georgian grape vodka. It is clear and super strong up to 60% alcohol content.
7. Taxi drivers

My hope to find honest taxi driver came true in Tbilisi! They are the number 1 nicest taxi drivers in the world. We were not charged more than 1$ USD within the city even all taxis does not have a meter.

Elder taxi drivers are more honest than the younger ones. My wife was about to have my picture taken here and suddenly this fella wants in. 

8. Restaurants and nightlife

In Tbilisi, you can find restaurants, bars and clubs for people with completely different lifestyle. Organique Josper Bar is just one of them. As you guess, yes they are serving local organic beef and produce choices on their menu.


This way leads to Chardeni restaurants and bar. It comes alive during night time. 
Gorgasali Square also known as Meidan Square view at night with Narikala Fortress on top of the hill
Where to Stay in Tbilisi or Other places in Georgia

We stayed at Mirobelle Hotel, it's just across the magnificent Sameba, Holy Trinity Church and a block walk to the President's Palace.  It's about 15 to 20 minutes leisure walk going down to the city proper but we love it here, rooms are clean and very descent. Lika made it even more special, she took care of our reservation, arranged our airport pick-up, checked us in smoothly, fix our gadget chargers and give us recommendation on how to navigate the city. She did all hotel departments work, we should clone this gal and deploy to all hotels! 

There's a lot of accommodation to choose though, you can search HERE,  I recommend Mirobelle too or choose properties that are close to freedom square, make sure you check the map.  For solo travelers, backpackers hostel or lodge are all over the city, there's a lot of medium scale for family and groups as well. Five star hotels are quite not situated in the city center except for Mercure which is along sulfur bath district area.  Airbnb rooms and apartments are also good option. 


Breakfast at Mirobelle hotel. Freshly baked Georgian bread with selection of ham was my morning fix.

What to Do in Tbilisi

Don't be just a tourist and don't limit yourself to basic things to do in Tbilisi - Sulfur baths -Chardeni Street - Narikala Fortress - Rustaveli Avenue - Freedom Square - Museums. Explore small streets of the old Tbilisi, chill in one of cafes near Turtle Lake, enjoy a walk in Mtatsminda park going through Funicular train. You can also check out what's on the exhibition center and talk to locals.




What to See in Georgia

We bought tickets in a local sightseeing tour when we arrive, rates are in local currency and much lower than have it arranged by a travel agency in your country of origin. Red Line sightseeing tour in Chardeni Street got it all covered.  Don't book a package tour, it's more expensive.  Just buy return flights and head to any local tour company in Tbilisi upon arrival. 



Here are major attractions that you need to see.. 

One of the oldest cities in Georgia and it also one the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Being the birthplace of Christianity, it is the holy city of the country.

This small town of 2,146 population is popular for their wine production, traditional carpets and Georgian traditional food Mcvadi. 

The Bodbe Monastery is nested among tall Cypress trees on a steep hillside overlooking the Alazani Valley, where it commands views of the Greater Caucasus mountains.

This village in Kakheti, Georgia is noted for the estate and its historic winery which once belonged to the 19th-century aristocratic poet Alexander Chavchavadze (1786-1846). It is situated in the district of Telavi, 79 km east of Tbilisi.

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.

A small town in the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region of northern-eartern Georgia. It is known for its scenic location in the Greater Caucasus mountains, and is a center for trekkers and mountain climbing.  Local attractions include the Kazbegi Museum and Ethnographic Museum in town, and the Gergeti Trinity Church outside of town, as well as Mount Kazbegi itself and the alpine meadows and forests of the surrounding Kazbegi Nature Reserve.

This place was an important military stronghold in the Middle Ages and maintains a strategic importance due to its location on the Principal highway connecting eastern and western parts of Georgia. Gori is also known as the birthplace of the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, ballistic missile designer Alexander Nadiradze and philosopher Merab Mamardashvili.

Built on a high rocky left bank of the Mtkvari River, it contains various structures dating from the Early Iron Age to the late Middle Ages, and is notable for the unique combination of various styles of rock-cut cultures from Anatolia and Iran, as well as the co-existence of pagan and Christian architecture.

Is a rock-hewn Georgian Orthodox monastery complex located in the Kakheti region of the country. It includes hundreds of cells, churches, chapels, refectories and living quarters hollowed out of the rock face.

This is a place of cave monastery site  in southern part of the country, excavated from the slopes od the Erusheti Mountain on the left bank of the Mtkvari River. The caves stretch along the cliff for some five hundred metres and in up to nineteen tiers.

Rabati Castle is a medieval castle complex in Akhaltsikhe, Georgia.  Built in the 13th century, initially was called the Lomisa Castle until it was conquered by Ottomans.

This is the resort town of Georgia famous for its mineral water industry, the Romanov summer palace in Likanim and the Wolrd Wide Fund for Nature-site Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park.

This is the second largest city and is the legislative capital of Georgia.  The low-lying outskirts have a largely agricultural landscape.  The city centre has many gardens, its streets are lined with high leafy trees. In the springtime, when the snow starts to melt in the nearby mountains, the storming Rioni River in the middle of the city is heard far beyond its banks.

Known as the seaside city on the Black Sea coast and capital of Adjara, an autonomous republic in southwest Georgia.  Since 2010, the face of the city has been transformed by the construction of new high-rise landmark buildings and the renovation of the old town.

Our short visit to Georgia was an amazing journey.  As they become one of the popular destination in the region, I hope they will stay humble and will not take advantage to tourists.
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