KAZBEGI is a National Park in Georgia located on the Northern slopes of the Caucasus mountains. Many tourists and visitors flock here to explore the medieval watchtowers and waterfalls. Trekking, ice climbing, bird watching and mountaineering are popular activities in Kazbegi. Sounds amazing, right? However if your time in Georgia is limited, you can always opt to do a day-trip from Tbilisi.
A day-trip from Tbilisi will not only allow you to enjoy Kazbegi’s beautiful landscapes and spectacular sceneries but you’ll also get to learn its history, myths and traditions. A visit to the picturesque Gergeti Trinity Church is a mixture of adventure and breathtaking sights. Along the way you’ll also have the chance to discover and explore places such as Ananuri and Gudauri and maybe even a short photo stop at Zhinvali Dam and Reservoir.
Zhinvali Dam and Reservoir
Ananuri Fortress Complex
Ananuri is a 13th century historic riverside castle. The complex is currently being considered for inclusion into the UNESCO World Heritage Site program.
The fortress consist of two castles joined by a crenellated curtain wall. The upper fortification with a large square tower, known as Sheupovari, is well preserved and is the location of the last defense of the Aragvi against the Shamshe. The lower fortification, with a round tower, is mostly in ruins.
Gudauri Ski Resort
Our recent visit in Guduari was summer. Basically there’s nothing much to do except for some extreme sports like paragliding. Since none of us were interested we just had our lunch there then continued our tour.
Gudauri covered with snow (March 2013)
Russia-Georgia Friendship Monument
The Russia–Georgia Friendship Monument or Treaty of Georgievsk Monument is a monument built in 1983 to celebrate the bicentennial of the Treaty of Georgievsk and the ongoing friendship between Soviet Georgia and Soviet Russia. Located on the Georgian Military Highway between the ski resort town of Gudauri and the Jvari pass, the monument is a large round stone and concrete structure overlooking the Devil’s Valley in the Caucasus mountains. Inside the monument is a large tile mural that spans the whole circumference of the structure and depicts scenes of Georgian and Russian history.
Gergeti Trinity Church – Stepantsminda
The picturesque church on top of this mountain was the highlight of the trip. However don’t be fooled by how beautiful it is because it can only be reached thru a steep 1 1/2 hour climb up the mountain, or around 30 minutes by jeep up a rough mountain trail.
The church as seen from Stepantsminda
14th century Holy Trinity Church
Town of Stepantsminda – as seen from Gergeti Trinity Church
Back in March 2013 – Derick and I first set foot in Georgia. Although it was the beginning of spring, it felt wintery still. The temperature in Tbilisi was chilly, around 5-10 degrees Celsius, and it’s even colder in the mountains. At that time we really wanted to visit Kazbegi. In fact, we booked a day-trip prior to our arrival in Georgia. That’s how eager we were to see the place. Unfortunately, when we reached Gudauri I felt very unsafe to continue our trip. The roads were so rough and it would be a difficult drive to reach Kazbegi. I don’t want to risk our safety. I convinced Derick to cancel our tour in Stepantsminda and return back to Tbilisi with a promise that we will go back some other time.
After 5 long years we were finally back in Georgia. This time our trip in Kazbegi was a success. Still, it was not easy. The roads were still terrible and the climb was rough. From the town center we transferred to another 4×4 vehicle and drove up a rough mountain trail for about 30 minutes. I was so scared. But, it was definitely worth the risk. As the saying goes: “Difficult roads often leads to beautiful views”. I’m glad we made it this time and ticked it off our list of places to see.