Old world wine as it is known, comes from the classic wine making regions in Europe. Naturally the growers from these regions – France, Germany, Austria, Italy and Spain have pride in their history. However the introduction of Georgian wines have disrupted this order and forced European wines to compete if they are to succeed in the world. What appears to be a simple drink, wine actually has deeply rooted and complex cultural ties, leading manufacturers to work and market within the confines of this intricate industry. Archaeological discoveries show that Georgian wine in fact, has one of the oldest history in the world and its original way of manufacturing survived till nowadays. the new Georgia is now home to vineyards and wineries that are gaining equal prestige as those in the past. InTbilisi and Mtskheta you will have opportunity to taste all of these unique sorts of wines and estimate georgian cuisine from all its regions.
places to visit:
Mtatsminda – a historical epicenter of the city, a small mountain where you get an excellent panoramic view.
Narikala fortress (4th century A.D) – The most popular and the oldest landmark of Tbilisi. City dwellers call it “the soul and heart of the city”.
Tbilisi Sulphur baths (17th and 19th centuries) – The history of the Sulphur baths in Tbilisi is related to the formation of the city itself.The oldest one is the Irakli bath; its ownership was disputed between the members of the royal family and the Georgian princes in the 16th century.
Metekhi church (13 th centuries) – One of the most popular monuments in Tbilisi. Under the arches of the Metekhi temple the first Georgian martyr, the Queen Shushanika Ranskiya, was buried. She was killed in the 5th century A.D. by her fire-worshipper husband.
Sioni Cathedral (5 – 7 th centuries) – Sioni Cathedral is the main religious landmark of not only Tbilisi but also the entire Georgia.Today there is the residence of the Catholicos – Patriarch of All Georgia.
Anchischati basilica (6th century) – The rectangular shaped basilica built under the influence of the ancient Palestinian architecture. Located in the heart of the old part of the city.
Tbilisi Sameba Cathedral (Holy Trinity Cathedral of Tbilisi) – Monumental cathedral in the center of Tbilisi was opened rather recently, in 2004. This is the grandest cathedral of Georgia.
Cathedral of Saint George (Kashveti 20 th century) – This is rather a young landmark of the Georgian capital. Kashveti church was built in 1910 but interesting fact is that it is the exact copy of the Samtavisi church (11th century).
Dzhvari (6th century) – is the most ancient cult monument constructed in the beginning of Georgian Christianity in the 6th century (585- 604 ). The name Dzhvari means “cross” in Georgian language.
Svetitskhoveli (11 th century) – Not far from Dzhvari there is another cult monument of Christian Georgia – one of the major Orthodox Georgian temples – Svetitskhoveli Cathedral.
Samtavro Convent – In Mtskheta there is an active Samtavro convent (11 th century) in which King Mirian and his wife Nana, the first to accept Christianity from St. Nino in 337, are buried.
Shio-Mgvime Monastery (6 th century) – 10 km to the west from Mtskheta in the village of Dzegvi there is an active operating Shio-Mgvime monastery.The monastery is literally merged with the sandy coloring of the hillsides.
Dishes to taste:
Cheese and mint – Small bits of moist cheese served with chopped mint
Qababi (kebabs) – Grilled minced meat sprinkled with sumac and onion slices, wrapped in a thin lavash-like bread.
Mchadi – Georgian corn bread so dense you’d think it was a paperweight. Eaten with lobio.
Lobiani – Khachapuri-like bread stuffed with bean paste. Just slightly healthier than the original cheese khachapuri.
Dolmas – Steamed, roasted, or boiled vegetables or leaves stuffed with minced meat, herbs and rice.
Chakapuli – Herbed lamb stew from Kakheti, normally eaten at holidays (e.g., Easter)
Mtsvadi (Shashlik) – Fire-roasted chunks of pork, salted. Cut some fresh onions and put in a metal bowl over a fire.
Kubdari – Khachapuri-like dough stuffed with small chunks of meat, spices and onions. A Svanetian specialty.
Chvishtari – Cheese corn bread (a Svanetian version of mchadi with cheese)
Satsivi – Poultry (chicken or turkey) served with a thinned paste of walnut, garlic and herbs. Considered a winter dish (“sivi” implies cold in Georgian) and eaten often around the Christmas holiday and the New Year.
Tkemali sauce – Taken in small doses alongside cheese, khachapuri, or meat, this sour plum sauce is said to be a cleanser. Whenever we had a meal with a family, out came the canning jar of tkemali sauce.
Adjika – Spicy Indian pickle-like paste.
Svaneti salt – A perfect complement to vegetables, cheese or salad. Made from various spices and herbs. You’ll think you’re inching closer to Persia or India when you smell it.
Tatara – Confection made from boiled, pressed grape extract. Think fruit roll-up without the added sugar.
Churchkhela – Brown rubbery truncheons made from strings of walnuts dipped in tatara and dried. Sometimes referred to as “Georgian Snickers.”
Mushmala – A juicy, persimmon-colored fruit about the size of a walnut. It’s dark, shiny seeds look like tiger-eye jewels or something you might play Mancala with.
Wines to taste:
Colikauri of party pitch – white semi dry wine
Chkhaveri – red semi sweet wine
Khvanchkara – sweet wine
Aludi – the ritual drink, is made from barley and wine
“Chinuri wine”- red semi sweet wine
“Goruli green” – white semi sweet wine
“Tavkveri”- red semi sweet wine
Kakhetian dry , semi-dry , sweet , semi- sweet, red , white , black and other pitcher wines
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