Narikala Fortess in old Tbilisi

Posted By : Georgian Tour/ 6

Narikala fortess-  also called the Mother Fortress of Tbilisi, Narikala is an ancient symbol of Tbilisi’s defence. The fortress was established in the 4th century, around the period when the city itself was founded. It was then known as Shuris-tsikhe (Invidious Fort). The name Narikala is said to derive from a Persian word for citadel, but another theory says was the name that Mongols used, meaning “little fortress”. It was expanded considerably by the Arabs during the 7th and 8th centuries. The Arabs built the Emir’s palace within its walls. King David further extended the Builder the fortress in th 11th century. Most of the existing fortifications date from the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1827 it was damaged by an earthquake and was not resorted. St. Nikolos church, inside the fortress walls, dates from the 12th century. It was renovated in 1996. Narikala offers you some of the best panoramas of the city.

We’d also advise you to take a walk along the Narikala Tourist route, a 1500 metre trail that runs from the top of the ridge near the Mother Georgia statue, around the fortress and down into Old Town to near the entrance to the Botanical Gardens. It offers stunning views at every turn and is a particular delight at night when the city lights shine below.

 

source: www.inyourpocket.com

Taste Of Georgia: Ajara, Samegrelo, Svaneti

Posted By : Georgian Tour/ 64

Going to Georgia, travelers usually prepare themselves to enjoy khachapuri, lobio, khinkali and, of course, a variety of meat barbecues, which are called “mtsvadi” in Georgian. Advanced experts in Georgian cuisine leave some free space in the stomach for pkhali, eggplants in walnut sauce, chakhokhbili and kharcho. However, our compact country has such a rich variety of regional dishes, that even if you decide to try one new for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you will need more than several weeks to explore the whole treasury.

Let’s take a little journey through the regions of Georgia and see what they can offer!

Starting with the West Coast… Well, Ajarian cuisine can really be described as “cheese rolling in butter”. Locals prepare very tasty and high-calorie meals. One of them is sinori, gentle rolls made of thin dough baked with matsoni/yoghurt and butter. Sinori can be eaten for breakfast – especially if you days is promising to be busy – or for a heavy family dinner.

Another calorie bomb from Ajara is called borano. It is made of Adjarian cheese melted in butter. Be prepared: it will be difficult to leave the table after you are finished!

Samegrelo, another Western Black Sea region of Georgia, is famous for the fact that its inhabitants prefer very spicy food. Megrelian adjika sauce is so sharp that Chuck Norris himself would probably cry, having tried it. If we talk about dishes, the most significant for the region are gebzhalia and elarji. Elarji is polenta brewed from corn flour  with suluguni cheese inside. This heavy delicious dish should served hot!

Gebzhalia is a starter, delicate rolls with fresh cheese and mint in matsoni/yogurt sauce. It just melts inside your mouth, and is contrasting to those extremely spicy dishes and sauces that are served after.

From Samegrelo it is logical to climb higher into the mountains – to Upper Svaneti. This fabulously beautiful region with harsh living conditions is famous first of all for its special seasoning – Svan salt. Common salt is mixed with local spices in a special wooden mortar, and thus turns into slightly moist flavorful spice that can be used with salads, as well as with meat and fish.

Typical Svanetian pastry is kubdari, a tortilla stuffed with meat. In such difficult living conditions as there, meat filling is an excellent source of calories, and tortilla format is a convenient option for takeaway eating. The shepherds take kubdari as they travel to pastures, and eat them during a long time there.

Another traditional Svan pastry is chishdvari (down the mountains, in the rest of Georgia it is called “chvishtari”). It is made from corn flour, and keeps a piece of suluguni cheese inside. Chishdvari is especially tasty, as it’s taken just from a pan, and you eat it looking at the highest peaks of Georgia – let’s say, Shkhara – and breathe fresh air at an altitude of over 2,000 meters.

The first part of our culinary journey through the regions of Georgia is about to end now. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of interesting stuff for you! Stay tuned with Georgia and Travel!

 

Source: Georgia.travel

Mtirala: Georgian nature at its purest

Posted By : Georgian Tour/ 40

It is pure, unblemished nature…

Yet the Mtirala National Park can be found just 40 kilometres from Batumi, the capital city of Georgia’s autonomous republic of Adjara.

“We’re lucky to have the sunshine: this Adjarian national park, Mtirala, is considered Georgia’s rainiest spot of land,” said Euronews reporter Denis Loctier, as he explored the region.

In this high humidity, the air is fresh and fragrant with blooming flowers and herbs.

It’s a protected site for the region’s flora and fauna, including rare and endangered endemic species.

“Mtirala translates as ‘a weeping mountain’. This place is often clouded in mist and drizzle. That’s where the name comes from,” explained park guide, Zia Kontselidze.

At 1,500 metres above sea level, Mtirala’s trails are perfect for hiking, bird watching and adventure tours.

 

Source: Euronews.com

Evidence of ancient wine found in Georgia a vintage quaffed some 6,000 years BC

Posted By : Georgian Tour/ 51

Archaeologists are hard at work sifting through the dirt at a dig in Imiri, south-eastern Georgia.

The scientists believe that the site contains artefacts that could once and for all prove that Georgia is the oldest wine producing country in the world.

Eight thousand years ago, during the neolithic era, farming and agriculture were flourishing in the three villages that now make up the Shulaveri – Shumitepe Cultural ruins in Marneuli Valley.

And one of the products being grown and harvested proved to be grapes to make wine.

Stephen Batiuk is from the University of Toronto: “What is significant about this site is that it produced some of the earliest examples of domesticated grapes, which we believe were involved in the earliest production of wine. We know that a wine vessel was discovered in Shulaveri, which also provides evidence of early wine production. But here (Imiri site) wine could be produced even earlier taking wine production in Georgia all the way back to 6,000 BC.”

David Lordkipanidze, is director of Georgia’s National Museum:
“The aim of this project is to look at the history of agriculture. It’s not just only the question of the earliest wine and we have found here traces of very old wine making, but as well to look at the domestication of the weeds, of the different agricultural products, which shows that Caucasus and Georgia were part of this big geographical territory, the so called Fertile Crescent, where the earliest agriculture was appearing and first civilisations were spreading.”

The Fertile Crescent is a swathe of land stretching from upper Egypt to Mesopotamia, modern day Iraq, Kuwait and northeast Syria.

 

Source: Euronews.com

Georgian Adventures: Okatse Canyon

Posted By : Georgian Tour/ 52

Georgian adventures continue at the Okatse Canyon near the village of Gordi in the country’s west.

“This area close to Kutaisi is famous for its deep canyons, forest lakes and other fascinating natural attractions,” said Euronews reporter Denis Loctier, trying out a new footpath with vertiginous views.

The 800 metre footpath is visited by 150,000 tourists a year and there are plans to boost the experience further by making its floor transparent!

“The thrill of walking over the canyon attracts many visitors,” Okatse Canyon Director Zaza Gagua told us.

“This is the only place in Georgia where you can really feel this, so it’s not often that people are so frightened that they turn back!”

And if you’re a true adrenaline junkie, you can test yourself by rappelling down Kinchkha, one of Georgia’s tallest waterfalls, with its refreshing cascade of clear mountain water.

 

source: Euronews.com

10 Reasons why you should visit Georgia

Posted By : Georgian Tour/ 46
Cradle of Wine – It has been archaeologically proven that the roots of Georgian viticulture are between 9000 and 7000 BC.

A unique Alphabet – There are just 14 independent alphabets in the world and Georgian is one of them.

UNESCO heritage sites – Our current UNESCO heritage sites include the ancient capital city of Mtskheta, the massive cathedral complexes of Bagrati and Gelati, and the mountain region of Svaneti.

Europe’s highest settlement in Georgia – Ushguli is recognized as the highest settlement in Europe, set the altitudes between 2086 and 2200 meters above sea level.

First European civilization – Recent excavations of Dmanisi have revealed and extraordinary record of the earliest homonid dispersal beyond Africa (1,75 million years ago)

Flora and Fauna – Georgia is one of the most ecologically diverse countries in the world, with climatic zones ranging from  subtropical to high alpine to semi- desert. Bears, lynxes and even leopards can be found in Georgia’s dense forests of Caucasian fir-the tallest trees in Europe.

Endless tourism possibilities – From adventure tourism to discovering the art of wine making, Georgia has something to delight every visitor.

Summer sea and winter ski resorts – In Georgia, you can swim in the sea as late as November. After that, why not head to the mountains, where there is guaranteed snow until late April, making Georgia a top destination for skiers and snowboarders.

Mountains and trekking – Access to peaks like Mount Shkhara (5201 Meters) and mount Ushba (4710 meters) and opportunities to stay with Svan families in villages make trekking in this region an outdoor and cultural adventure.

Rapid development – The New York Times ranked Georgia 6-th among 52 best countries for the tourism destination. Tbilisi has become one of the safest capitals in the Western World comparable to Lisbon or Vienna.

 

Georgian Adventures: Pedal power in Batumi

Posted By : Georgian Tour/ 53

n this episode of Georgian adventures, we jump on one of the hire bikes in Batumi, the booming capital of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara.

“Batumi is one of Georgia’s largest cities and its best known Black Sea resort,” said our reporter Denis Loctier as he peddled along the promenade.

“This coastline boulevard is Batumi’s most famous attraction!”

What originated in the late 19th century as a seaside boardwalk is now a lush seven-kilometre park promenade with dancing fountains, modern sculptures, beach bars and cafés. It is a great place for a leisurely stroll and, even better, for a scenic two-wheel ride.

Pedal-friendly whatever the weather, Batumi is stunning for bike-lovers when the sun shines!

“A bicycle is a very convenient way to see the main attractions of Batumi,” said local student and cycling enthusiast Maia Japaridze.

“It’s not a very big city. You could walk across it in a day and if you get a bike you can get around Batumi very quickly.”

The city is lined with bicycle lanes, offering picturesque views and a refreshing breeze to those who prefer their seaside vacation in the saddle!

 

Source: Euronews.com

Prometheus, Sataplia and Kumistavi: Aladdin’s caves in Georgia

Posted By : Georgian Tour/ 45

Kumistavi caves near Kutaisi in western Georgia is the biggest and most amazing network of caverns in the country.

The little sister of this huge complex is Sataplia cave. Nearby, there are dinosaurs’ footprints!

But the main jewel is the Prometheus cave, with its breathtaking views of stalactites, stalagmites and underground rivers.

“We are in a spectacular spot here, at the heart of a labyrinth of caverns branching out for dozens of kilometres underground,” said ‘Postcards’ reporter Claudio Rosmino.

“Just think, some of these rocks have taken up to 60 million years to form!”

Today, visitors to the Prometheus Cave Centre can enjoy a magnificent 1.2 km walk, but those who discovered this place, in 1984, reached it through a very narrow passage.

“We were literally in the mud up to our ears! When we arrived in this huge hall, this amazing underground system, we were bursting with happiness,” remembered speleologist Amiran Jamrishvili.

“We could not wait to go out and share this with all the other speleologists!”

And no visit would be complete without a boat trip on an underground river in which the traveller can emerge from the magical cave – back into the outside world.

 

Source:Euronews.com

Bagrati Cathedral: a landmark of Georgian architecture

Posted By : Georgian Tour/ 39

In this episode of ‘Postcards’, we discover Bagrati Cathedral, the symbol of the city of Kutaisi, nearly 250 kilometres west of Tbilisi.

It was built under the first Kingdom of Georgia, a period of political and economic strength for the country.

“The cathedral is one of the main tourist attractions of the city,” said ‘Postcards’ reporter Claudio Rosmino.

“It is named after King Bagrat III, who commissioned its construction in the early years of the 11th century. Since then, it has become a landmark of Georgian architecture.”

The cathedral suffered heavy damage throughout the centuries and was gradually renovated from 1952 to 2012.

“Bagrati Cathedral is in a 3,500-year-old city, one of the oldest in the world,” explained Sulkhan Kuprashvili, a professor of history from Kutaisi State University.

“The construction of this church started a golden age for Georgia. For centuries, Bagrati has remained a symbol of the country with its high standards of education and culture.”

Bagrati Cathedral is now of only limited use for services of worship.

 

Source: Euronews.com

Khinkali: Georgian dumplings like a work of art!

Posted By : Georgian Tour/ 42

o holiday in Georgia is complete without trying khinkali, one of the most traditional dishes in the country.

With the help of a specialist chef, ‘Taste’ reporter Claudio Rosmino discovered its history, how to prepare it and the special technique to enjoy what is basically a big, tasty dumpling, filled with meat.

Khinkali was traditionally the food of shepherds in the mountains but then it became popular nationwide.

Usually, you eat it in specialised restaurants, like the one visited in Tbilisi by ‘Taste’.

Reporter Claudio met Malkhaz Tsikolia, the head of the kitchen at the ‘Tsiskvili restaurant’, and asked him about where khinkali comes from.

“Khinkali is a Georgian dish produced many years ago in the mountain regions,” the chef explained.

“It quickly became the favourite dish of the whole country and nowadays people from many other nations visit Georgia to taste real khinkali.”

So how is Khinkali cooked and what ingredients is it made of?

“First we make the dough,” said Malkhaz.

“Then we insert minced beef and pork and some spicies. You seal the dough with the meat inside. You put it in boiling water and in seven minutes it is ready.”

Khinkali is something of a work of art because of its fascinating shape. A delicate touch is required in its preparation. Not everyone has got it – as Claudio discovered when he tried!

There are several varieties of khinkali, with pork, beef or lamb, but there are also vegetarian versions with cheese or mushrooms.

While the cooking is quite fast, preparing the ingredients requires several distinct stages.

In the kitchen, everyone must be coordinated, like in an orchestra, in order to produce hundreds of these traditional Georgian dumplings per day.

And when it comes to eating, the challenge is not to spill any of the tasty juice. The aim is to have as little juice as possible fall onto the plate. And for that you really need to master a special method, which chef Malkhaz demonstrated for Euronews.

“First of all, you take a bite,” he said.

“Then you drink the juice – and it’s really very good!”

 

Source: Euronews.com