Discover Samtskhe-Javakheti
14 August, 2018
Discover Samtskhe-Javakheti
The administrative centre of Samtskhe-Javakheti (Georgia’s southwestern region) is Akhaltsikhe. The city is separated into two parts: the old and the new city by the river Potskhovi. The region is one of the most interesting and beautiful touristic venues in Georgia.

Rabati Castle – the fortress is located in the old part of Akhaltsikhe. It was built in the 9th century
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and originally called Lomisa. Later on it was rebuilt by the Ottomans. The Turks used to use the fortress as a defensive edifice. In 2011-2012, the castle was renovated and it became one of the most attractive touristic sites in Georgia. The fortress is surrounded by various labyrinths, churches of different denomination, an amphitheater, citadel, wedding house, cafes and restaurants.
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Rabati castle, Photo courtesy: www.whereis.ge

Samtskhe-Javakheti Museum – the museum was established as an archive museum and then became a museum of local history at the beginning of the 20th century. The museum houses materials of cultural and historical heritage of the region such as ancient manuscripts, epigraphic and ethnographic material, photo documents, Jewellery and woven carpets.
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Samtskhe-Javakheti Museum, Photo courtesy: www.museum.ge

Vardzia – is a cave monastery in Samtskhe-Javakheti. Queen Tamar ordered the construction of Vardzia in the twelfth century. It contained apartments dug out of the rock and outside terraces for cultivation. An irrigation system was designed particularly for this. One of the central places in the cave system is the Church of Dormition with distinguished medieval mural painting. Since 1985 the site has formed part of the Vardzia Historical–Architectural Museum-Reserve, which includes forty-six architectural sites, twelve archaeological sites, and twenty-one sites of monumental art. Some monks presently live in the monastery. Tourists usually call the site the fortress of the Lord of the Rings.
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Vardzia, Photo courtesy: www.travelingeorgia.ge

Sapara Monastery - It is assumed to have been constructed in the 9th century. In the 13th-14th centuries, the monastery became residence for the noblemen Jakeli to comply with the order of Mongols. The complex of churches is located in the wooden area and contains different buildings. The most striking is the Church of St. Saba, built in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. This hall church is dedicated to the Assumption of the Mother of God. There is a head of a bull on the top left side of the entrance. Legend has it that at the time of the building of the church a bull helped to fetch stones from the mountain to the site. Just as the work finished the bull was killed and eaten by a bear. The builder commemorated the bull by placing its sculpture at the entrance.
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Sapara Monastery, Photo courtesy: www.bestavashvili2.wordpress.com

Paravani Lake is a volcanic river in Georgia located at 2073 metres above sea level in Samtskhe-Javakheti. The lake is surrounded by villages. It is frozen during wintertime. In addition to the small rivers of Shaori, Sabadostskali, and Rodionovskis Tskali, the lake receives its water from snow, rain, and underground springs. Paravani lake is a must see lake in the region.
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Paravani Lake, Photo courtesy: www.sknews.ge

First photo courtesy: www.turebi.ge

Related stories:

Euronews advises tourists to visit medieval Vardzia cave complex in Georgia

Dumplings with yogurt and onions from Samtskhe-Javakheti Region 

Virtual Museum to open in Tbilisi

A spectacular view: Medieval Rabati Castle as seen from above
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