Tag: Mtskheta

More Magical Mtskheta

The Svetitskhoveli Cathedral dates from the 11th century. It was enormous for its time! My hotel is just opposite the cathedral, and it is my view during breakfast! The cathedral has an elongated cross plan and is decorated inside and out with stone carvings. According to the stories, the robe of Christ lies beneath the cathedral, it works many miracles. Vakhtang Gorgasali is buried here as well.

I made an effort to go to Mass on Sunday, and sat for an hour on a hard wooden bench. The Georgian chanting, of which I only understood Hallelujah and Amen, was very impressive. I crossed my legs at one stage and the woman next to me told me off! Apparently, leg crossing in church is not allowed! When the first tourist bus arrived I left! The nice part of Georgian Mass is that you can come and go as you please. I like that idea! Most people stand for the Mass, the only benches are around the edge of the church and are for the elderly, pregnant or disabled people. First time I am happy being ” elderly”!!!

The Samtavro church is also very famous. This is where the first Christian King Miriam and his wife, Queen Nana are buried! Photography is not allowed, although I sneaked one of the royal tombs. The church is part of a nunnery, but once it was part of the palace church of the Lords of Metskheta.

I visited the Jvari monastery , I took a taxi to the top and decided to walk back. According to the lonely planet this could be done! The path was steep and terrible over grown. After five minutes I decided this could not be done safely, so back up I climbed. Walking back to Mtskheta was quite a challenge along the main road. Dodging tourist buses, crazy drivers and bulls was interesting, however not really pleasant! In between I looked at amazing wild flowers on the edge of the road.

It was only seven kilometres, all down hill, so not too challenging. Just before I reached the highway a taxi stopped and took me the last two kilometres, which I would have been able to make easily, but there was a storm brewing, and people who know me well, know that I am shit scared of electrical storms. I managed to get back just in time, before all hell broke loose. There is not much more to do here except the archeological site on the other side of the river.

I wanted to walk along the river to this archeological site, however this was not possible. Such a shame, but it would have been another ten km along the road, a repeat of the downhill Jvari Monastery experience, I declined. It was hot and humid, and I ended up doing very little, visited a small monastery with amazing frescoes.

Did some washing, worked in my diary, googled flights from Armenia to Oman, and went to booking.com to look for reasonable accommodation in Batoumi, a seaside resort place. I just want to spend some days on a beach before visiting the mountains. All of this is time consuming, not really interesting, but necessary. Sometimes it is just lovely to have these days of relative quiet! Gives the body a change to recover! There are many more churches to see here as well, but one can even get saturated with looking at churches.

Next town, Gori, the birth place of Stalin. Will be interesting to say the least!

Marvellous Mtskheta

Tbilisi was just amazing. I have written about the capital of Georgia in my last blog. I had only planned eight nights there, nine days, it was not enough. I extended by three more nights, still not enough, but as time is slipping away from me, I decided to move on to the next town, Mtskheta. Most people, just go there on a day trip from Tbilisi. I like to spend some time in a town, to wander, dream and explore.

My last day in Tbilisi I treated myself to a sulphur bath after I visited the amazing sculpture by the Tbilisi sea. The sculpture is made by Zurab Tsereteli. I had seen the video of how it was made and put together, in the museum of modern art. I asked the girl where this was, as I really wanted to see it in real life! Awesome, just absolutely awesome. I can’t remember all the details of the sculpture, but I am sure people who are interested can just google the artist.

I had planned an early start to go to Mtskheta, but due to the lack of sleep, this didn’t happen! I itched so badly during the night, even three showers could not take the itch away! I wonder if it was sulphur bath? Or the scrub? May be the massage? I had quite an experience with a vertically challenged Babushka. Did she scrub me! It felt like my skin was coming of! Afterwards a massage, with hands like sledgehammers, beating upon my poor back! At one stage she pulled my head forwards, between her enormous mammary glands, nearly choking me to death! It was not pleasant to say the least! Moments like that I wish I could have a real proper massage , with my friend Jenny! Anyhow, the reason for the sleepless night is totally unimportant, I ended up with a very late start to the day.

I arrived in Mtskheta about one o’ clock. I had been unable to make a booking, so first things first! Coffee!! Next door to the cafe, was a small hotel. I knocked on the door, and yes, there was a room available. I booked three nights! When oh when will I learn to start with one or two and just add to it when needed?

Anyway, it is lovely but about one day too long. Mtskheta was the first capital of Georgia. It is also the spiritual heart of Georgia, since Christianity was established here in about 327. It holds a near mystical significance in Georgian culture. It was the capital of most of Eastern Georgia from about 3rd BC to the 5th century AD, when King Vakhtang Gorgasali switched his base to Tbilisi.

The Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is still the setting for important ceremonies of the Georgian Orthodox Church. The cathedral dates from the 11th century, early in the golden age of Georgian church architecture. According to tradition, Christ’s robe lies buried beneath the cathedral. It works many miracles, apparently. The word Svetitskhoveli means ” life giving column”. The King Vakhtang Gorgasali is buried here as well.

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