Georgia – Jvari Monastery – Uplistsikhe

Off to DAY 2 – Still dead tired from our trip on our first day, we drag ourselves early in the morning to have breakfast. We initially plan to have breakfast back in Freedom Square and try a new restaurant. However, as what usually goes in our morning plans in most of our trips, we ended up waking up late. (I know! Haha!) Embarrassing as it may seem, we ended up having our breakfast at McDonalds! (Adventurous, right?! Lol) Kenneth doesn’t even want to take pictures there haha! In fairness to us, McDonald is just few blocks from our place (in front of Tsereteli Metro Station) and we have arranged Shoti to pick us there. SO…. It’s the best choice for us (good alibi huh?)

So, we are supposed to go to Kakheti. However, as early as it seems, Shoti was advised by his Kakheti friends that it was raining there, so we decided to have the Mtshketa tour instead. Our First stop is Jvari Monastery.

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Jvari Monastery
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Jvari Monastery

In my tourist eyes, Jvari monastery resembles the Gergeti Church – At the top of the hill with bird’s eye view of the town. Jvari monastery (translated as “Monastery of the Cross”) is an Orthodox Church, planted at the top of the hill at Mtskheta, Georgia. Also, it is a Unesco World Heritage Site.

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    Inside Jvari

The image from up here is spectacular as usual. It was VERRRRYYY windy and cold up there. It was so thoughtful for Shoti to let Kenneth borrow his jacket. #sweet

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Through wind and cold – we won’t stop on immortalizing this memory through photos 😀

(Unfortunately, most of Kenneth’s photos have his eyes closed. I am actually planning to have separate posts of our blooper photos.)

Next stop is Uplistsikhe (the Lord’s Fortress) – and I have to admit I still need to google the right word. Most commonly known with tourists as the Cave Town.

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Uplistsikhe is identified by archaeologists as one of the oldest urban settlements in Georgia. Strategically located in the heartland of ancient kingdom of Kartli (or Iberia as it was known to the Classical authors), it emerged as a major political and religious center of the country. The town’s age and importance led medieval Georgian written tradition to ascribe its foundation to the mythical Uplos, son of Mtskhetos, and grandson of Kartlos.

With the Christianization of Kartli early in the 4th century, Uplistsikhe seems to have declined in its importance and lost its position to the new centers of Christian culture – Mtskheta and, later Tbilisi. However, Uplistsikhe reemerged as a principal Georgian stronghold during the Muslim conquest of Tbilisi in the 8th and 9th century. The Mongol raids in the 14th century marked the ultimate eclipse of the town; it was virtually abandoned, and only occasionally used as a temporary shelter in times of foreign intrusions. – Wikipedia

As I soon realized, the place is (as usual) lying at the top of a hill. Quite windy and obviously cold. But compared to Gergeti and Jvari that I have a flat surface to walk to and a church that made me feel secured, the ground here is uneven – as expected. You can literally see that you are on top from where we are walking. But technically, the place is quite big that you don’t have to worry from falling. You can wander everywhere, there are no rules on how to roam around. I didn’t even see restricted signs.

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Carvings on the wall

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#superdry bag

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What I am sitting at was supposed to be a theater stage which also has a great view of the landscape below.

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On the way to exit, you have to pass through this tunnel. Luckily, we had the stairs all by ourselves and managed to take a tourist-free photo.

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It was a unique experience for me – to see caves and imagine it to be a theater thousands of years ago or what I can only see a hole but was supposed to be a wine cellar. It’s here where you can ponder how simple life was back then (and I am talking about ancient times) but still can feel how grandiose it was for them at that time. It was a city back then, so imagine that.

 

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