Tbilisi, Georgia: the Risen City! 4/4
Day 3: Mtshketa, Gori and the Goodbye!
I woke up feeling a bit blue since it’s our last touring day! Tomorrow we will hardly pack and leave to the airport! Why the vacation always ends before it even starts?
Today we will visit Mtshketa, the ancient capital and religious center of Georgia. Mtshketa is 3000 years old. We will see its historical places: Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Then we will visit Gori City. Today is Monday, August 28th 2017.
And here we are at Jvari Monastery. It’s from the 6th century and among the 3 UNESCO World Heritage sites as mentioned before.
Jvari monastery means “The Monastery of the Cross” it explains the ancient legend that says that in the early 4th century Saint Nino of Kappadokia put the Sacred Cross symbolizing the acceptance of Christianity by Georgia. Later over the cross the Temple of the Sacred Cross was built.
In Mtshketa , there is also the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, which means the “Cathedral of the Living Pillar”. The present structure was completed in the 11th century but the site itself is from 4th century and one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. It is currently the second largest church building in Georgia, after the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is where the Robe of Christ is buried. According to Georgian hagiography, in the 1st century AD a Georgian Jew from Mtskheta named Elias was in Jerusalem when Jesus was crucified and he bought Jesus’s Robe from a Roman soldier at Golgotha and brought it back to Georgia. Returning to his native city, he was met by his sister Sidonia who upon touching the robe immediately died from the emotions engendered by the sacred object. The robe could not be removed from her grasp, so she was buried with it. The place where Sidonia is buried with Christ’s robe is preserved in the Cathedral. Later, from her grave grew an enormous cedar tree. Ordering the cedar chopped down to build the church, St. Nino had seven columns made from it for the church’s foundation. The seventh column, however, had magical properties and rose by itself into the air. It returned to earth after St. Nino prayed the whole night. It was further said that from the magical seventh column a sacred liquid flowed that cured people of all diseases. Reason why it called the Cathedral of the Living Pillar.
The Georgian churches are without pews, people pray while standing or kneeling and as Ana explained it’s a kind of mortification, self-denial and not enjoying comfort during worshiping God.
After Svetitshkoveli, Ana took us to the Mtshketa city’ shops so we can bring some Souvenirs and of course wine. We didn’t stop nagging about souvenirs; I guess she wanted to throw us in the valley at the some point 🙂
It was a nice walk in the beautiful streets, were shops are everywhere. We brought many lovely things and Saperavi wine of course.
Now we will drive to Gori. It’s about 1 hour’ drive.
Gori city is a beautiful town, seems more like a village, it’s also Joseph Stalin home town, the dictator of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) from 1929 to 1953. We visited the Museum of Joseph Stalin, his house and everything, even though I’m not a fan but we’re there and we must check history while we can. Gori is calmer than Tbilisi.
We still have one place to visit before the lunch, the Stone City: Uplistsikhe which means the Lord’s fortress, an ancient town built in rock, dating from II ML BC to the middle ages. Uplistsikhe reemerged as a principal Georgian stronghold during the Muslim conquest of Tbilisi in the 8th and 9th century and at a later stage it was occasionally used as a temporary shelter in times of foreign intrusions. There is a 9th/10th century three-nave basilica there.
Lunchtime! It happened that both me and my friend love food, we love to see many kind of food on the table as well! We have this in common so probably Ana and Soso thought we’re Shaggy and Scooby; we ate a lot! I mean when I see my chubby cheeks in the photos I remember why I started diet and exercise 😀
Today, we ordered some meat; we had lot of cheese so far!
You can find lot of stray dogs in Georgia, but most of them are sterilized.
After Gori, we said Goodbye and it’s always hard to say goodbye! The vacation was great and we wished we could spend more time in Georgia!
I loved Georgians; I found they are peaceful and nice in general. So when I heard some Lebanese girl speaking with her friend in the hotel garden in Arabic thinking no one will understand her and saying that Georgians are stupid people, I felt humiliated as if I was Georgian! And to prevent smashing her face, I left to my room. I mean I don’t want to be arrested in Georgia 🙂
The power of language, Multilingualism, how you have the power to understand and communicate in a second! Which reminds me also of a funny situation when me and my friend were speaking in Arabic in the car, we weren’t saying bad things but you can always switch language when you have a side conversation, Soso and Ana were speaking Georgian and we were speaking in Arabic and then you switch to English when we speak altogether and everybody understands! The power of communication!
We were saying how much we are enjoying & how comfortable it is having a car just for you, the guide is really great and how nice is the driver & he’s making an effort to speak & to learn! It’s amazing. Even though he has a totally different work and he does this as a hobby, he loves to meet new people & it was really remarkable to know that! But while speaking, we mentioned his name like 3 times, we forgot that the name doesn’t need translation! And then we looked at each other’s and started to laugh like crazy! It was really embarrassing! The guy didn’t say a word, not even looked in the mirror probably he thought we’re complaining about something or so. We are still laughing at this situation every time we recall this trip 😀
If you haven’t been to Georgia yet, you really should consider visiting and you can always chose the season convenient to your taste and preference.
This country has risen despite all wars and it’s really worth visiting, worth discovering each and every corner of it.
Each taste is divine and each moment is everlasting.
Hope you enjoyed the trip!
H.A – January 21st 2019
Categories: Travel & Tourism