CENTRE – AKHALTSIKHE
AREA – 6413 SQ.KM.
POPULATION – 208000

Samtskhe-Javakheti is a historical region located in the south of Georgia. It includes historical and geographical provinces: Samtskhe, Javakheti and Tori. This province is a historical Meskheti, the largest part of which is a part of Turkey. In historical chronicles, this region was called Zemo (Upper) Kartli. Samtskhe-Javakheti is a mountainous and rocky area with large and rapid rivers (Jorokhi, Mtkvari). The winter is cold here and the summer is hot.This land is the cradle of the royal dynasty of Bagration, the birthplace of the genius Shota Rustaveli. Here is the unique cave city Vardzia, the Safara monastery and many other archaeological monuments with mysterious stories.

ZARZMA MONASTERY
210 km from Tbilisi
10th C
The Zarzma monk monastery is located in the historical Samtskhe. The monastery first was founded in the IX century by the Klarjeti monk, Serapion Zarzmeli. The church of Serapion's time does not exist anymore.
The current complex of Zarzma was built in the beginning of the 14th century by the sovereign of Samtskhe, Beka Jakeli (1285-1309). Zarzma is reach with fresco painting. Belfry of Zarzma is one of the biggest belfries in Georgia.

SAPARA CROSS-DOMED CHURCH
235 Km from Tbilisi
13 th - 14 th CC
Sapara – a medieval Georgian monastery located in 12 km to the south-east from the town of Akhaltsikhe. The first records of Sapara date back to the X century and in the 13th-14th centuries the monastery included 12 churches and chapels.
In the 16th century, during the sway of the Ottomans, monks left the monastery. The monastery life was renewed in Sapara in 1988.

KHERTVISI FORTRESS
270 km from tbilisi
11 C
Khertvisi is a medieval fortress on the border of Samtskhe and Javakheti, It is located at the mouth of the rives Paravani and Mtkvari, on the high rocky mountain. Khertvisi fortress is mentioned in sources from the 11th century.

VAHANIS KVABEBI MONASTERY
280 km from Tbilisi
8th-16th CC
Vahani Kvabebi monastery complex carved in the rock (VIII-XVI cc.) is located in Javakheti, 27 km from Aspindza, on the right bank of river Mtkvari. In the center of the complex stands the church of St. George. Boilers cells which carved in IX-XI centuries. Vahani Kvabebi consist of 200 caves built into the rocky cliffs (cell, tombs, shelters, farms, 6 churches) and are located on 16 floors.In 1551 and in 1576 the monastery underwent assaults of the Persians and the Ottomans. After that the monastery ceased its operation.

AKHALTSIKHE – RABAT FORTRESS
230 km from tbilisi
14-20 CC
Akhaltsikhe is one of the oldest towns of Georgia (old name – Lomisa). In historical sources it is mentioned from XII century. Historical part of the town is called Rabat. The fortress of Sergi Jakeli, church of St. Marina, palace of Pashas of Akhaltsikhe, Ottoman mosque (1752), Karavan-sarai and bathhouse is located on the territory of Rabat. On the territory of Rabat in Akhaltsikhe today operates a local history museum.

VARDZIA ROCK-CUT COMPLEX
290 Km from Tbilisi
13 th - 14 th CC
Monastery complex carved in the rock (1156-1203) stands in Javakheti, on the left bank of river Mtkvari. Vardzia monastery has the width of of 0,5 km and is arranged on 13 floors. Overall, it consists of 420 utility rooms. Totally there are 12 chapels in the monastery. Vardzia is rich with fresco paintings. In 1938 Vardzia received a status of a culture preserve. In the beginning of the 21st century monastery activity was restored in Vardzia.

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