Mtskheta-Mtianeti Region

Mtskheta-Mtianeti is the most recent administrative unit in Georgia, which makes it quite special. It unites part of the historical Kartli region and a considerable territory of Georgia′s eastern mountainous land. Today Mtskheta-Mtianeti is a blend of different Georgian ethnographic cultures, traditions and customs, providing a striking contrast: If you follow the road from ShidaKartli Lowlands to the north, in half an hour you will see the Gergeti Holy Trinity church, standing at 2200 meters above sea level. Returning back, you will witness how the roiling rivers flowing from high peaks become calmer, as if respecting lowlands that the history saw saturated with sites of bloody battles. Indeed, these places have seen a lot and many time as did the people living here have to seek refuge in the breathtaking mountains of Khevi, Mutso and Shatili.

In short, there is some connection, some kind of unity between the fragments of the past and the modern life, its natural diversity, traditions and the people′s character. This is exactly why our cameras tried to capture a large variety of peculiarities that are nevertheless tied together by one chain.

The region of Mtskheta-Mtianeti includes the historical and geographical provinces of ShidaKartli, Ertso-Tianeti, Pshavi, Khevsureti, Mtiuleti, Gudamakari and a part of Ksani Gorge. To the north, the region is bordered by autonomous republics of the Russian Federation – North Ossetia, Ingushetia and Chechya; to the east it is bordered by Kakheti, to the south by KvemoKartli and to the west – by ShidaKartli.

The main landmark of the region is, without doubt, the snow-covered Caucasus range, with 3500 and 5000 meter high peaks and passes, as well as beautiful ravines, lakes and alpine fields. Khevi and Khevsureti are particularly beautiful in this respect. Their steep cliffs go down to the Aragvi plain, creating an amazing landscape. There′s another place of unbelievable beauty – Jvari Pass, which is located on the Georgian Military Road and is one of many passes of Caucasus range.

The region is rich in water resources. The drainage network is created by rivers Mtkvari, Aragvi, Ksani, Tergi and their tributaries. Natural lakes and reservoirs should also be noted: Bazaleti Lake, Lisi Lake, Jvari Lake, ZhinvaliReservoire, Abudelauri Lakes…

There are numerous natural, architectural and cultural monuments in Mtskheta-Mtianeti; among the most notable are the sity-museum of Mtskheta itself, the monasteries of Ananuri, Zedazeni, Largvisi and Shiomgvime, as well as Shatili, Gergeti Trinity Church, etc.

The center of this region is Mtskheta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mtskheta-Mtianeti region is very interesting from the touristic point of view. Its history, culture, museums, churches and monasteries possess huge potential for the development of cultural and pilgrimage tourism. The main cultural monuments of this region are: Svetitskhoveli Cathedral – one of the holiest places of the Orthodox Christian world, as well as Jvari Monastery, Bodorni church, Shatili, Mutso, Chargali, the ancient town of Zlaleti, Ochani Fortress, Gergeti Church, Sioni, Sno Fortress, Dariali Fortress, the ancient town of Dzalisi, etc.

Mtskheta-Mtianeti Cuisine

Tratitional Tushetian dishes are: Khinkali, Gourdila (dough boiled in water), Kaghi (smoked meat), Kaurma, Kotori (very thin Khachapuri with cottage cheese stuffing). Pride of Tushetian cuisine is Guda cheese, which is made both from sheep and cow milk. This sort of cheese stand out thanks to its specific smell and yellowish color. Traditionally, in Pshav-Khevsureti, like Tusheti, they make Khinkaliwith mashed potatoes, cottage cheese or meat stuffing.

One more traditional dish of this hillside region is Khacho-Erbo, which is made of cottage cheese dried in a special box – Dzobani. Khavtisi is made of butter, flour and sugar. It is often used as stuffing for Kada. Here, they drink homemade beer and vodka – Zhipitauri.

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