Day 1: Kutaisi
Arrival to Kutaisi Hotel, Dinner, Overnight.
Day 2: Kutaisi
Breakfast. Excursion in the ancient city Kutaisi, that is more than 3 thousand years old. Visit Gelati monastery and academy, established by the great Georgian king – David IV the Builder. Gelati Monastery has preserved a great variety of murals dating back to XII-XVIII centuries. Therefore, the most wonderful in the architecture of Gelati complex is its frescoes and mosaics. They travel us in ancient past and remind of their creators. Next, excursion to the Cathedral of Bagrati that was erected in Kutaisi during the reign of Bagrat III. It was named after the first king of united Georgia. As a main place of the kingdom, it was consecrated in 1003. Both Gelati monastery with Academy and Bagrati Cathedral are included into the list of World Heritage sites of UNESCO. Then, visit “monastery for the accomplishment of desires” – Motsameta. Monastery overlooks the Rioni river surrounded by rugged coastline vegetation. The legend says that Georgian dukes David and Constantine Mkheidze were executed by Muslims for their devotion to Christianity and the monastery is constructed at the place of their martyrdom. Dukes David and Constantine are canonized; their relics are stored in a large rectangular ark on a dais in the small hall of the monastery. People believe that if you wish something, crawl under the ark three times and venerate holy relics, your wish will come true. Excursion in the Prometheus castor cave. According to the legend, Prometheus was chained on the rock because he gave fire to humanity. The cave is located 5 km northwest of the city of Tskhaltubo. It was discovered in the early 80’s of the twentieth century. It is one of the most attractive caves, thanks to its underwater rivers and landscapes. Almost all underwater karst forms: stalactites, stalagmites, and others. Overnight.
Day 3: Kutaisi – Zugdidi – Mestia
Breakfast. Departure to Zugdidi. The treasure of Zugdidi is graceful patrimonial palace of Dadiani princes, with the nicest park. Currently, it is a museum with magnificent historic collection, including the death mask of Napoleon Bonaparte. The oldest aristocratic family of Dadiani is known for its relation with Napoleon Bonaparte. One of the most precious Christian relics — Cincture of the Virgin Mary is kept in Vlakerna church. It belonged to Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ. On the way to Mestia, we can enjoy the fantastic views of four waterfalls and three mountain peaks of the Caucasus — Ushba, Mazera, Shkhelda. Hotel accommodation in Mestia. Late dinner. Overnight.
Day 4: Mestia
In the night from 6 th to 7 th of January you can visit the Christmas service in the church.
You can take part in the traditional Christmas procession “Alilo” / “Hallelujah” / , which consists of 15-century history. All participants are dressed in white robes and symbolize themselves shepherds who chants notify all passers of the Native of the Savior. Members of the clergy lead the procession bearing icons, crosses and banners, while the laity follow behind them either on foot, or in bull-drawn carts. Children play one of the leading roles in this Christmas procession. Donations gathered at the procession will be given to children’s homes and shelters for the poor.
Festive Christmas dinner. On Christmas night they light up candles in every Georgian house. Candles are specifically being put in the window, so that the light was visible to anyone who passes by the house. This tradition is observed in memory of the ancient biblical events, when Joseph and Mary were looking for shelter for the birth of their son. Georgian Christmas has exclusive culinary traditions. On this holiday women bake kvertsi — a delicious Christmas cake. Overnight.
Day 5-6: Mestia
Breakfast. Winter activities. Dinner. Overnight.
Mestia – West-central part of Caucasus, is located 1450 m. above the sea level. It is surrounded by subalpine pine and chestnut forest on the slopes of magnificent mountains. Hatsvali – new ski resort near the town Mestia. It is located in the heart of the highest region – Svaneti – 1500 m. above the sea level. New cable cars and the yoke Poma were installed in 2012. The trails are Illuminated for the night skiing offering café-restaurants on the top and bottom station. Modern Hatsvali Cable car has four chairs and the trail is more than 1400 m. long and there are 2 yokes from 300 m. up to 600 m. above the sea level for the beginners and children. In Mestia ski season starts in November and ends in the beginning of April thanks to the high location.
Day 7: Mestia – Kutaisi
Breakfast. Departure from Mestia. Transfer to Kutaisi. Hotel accommodation. Dinner. Overnight.
Day 8: Kutaisi
Breakfast. Transfer to the airport for your fly to back home.
Duration of the tour 8 days
Accommodation in 3-4-5* hotels, standard rooms with breakfast
Excursions according to the program with the English speaking guide
Transport according to the program
New Year’s banquet
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