Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti

Shamgona island

Location: begins from Rukhi and ends in the village of Khurcha where both branches of inguri river merge (Zugdidi municipality).

Access road: the islands begins on the left stream of the river Inguri, from the crossing bridge, on the eastern periphery of the village of Shamgona, to the west of the village of Kakhati; distance from Tbilisi – 350 km, from Zugdidi – 12 km.

A good example of this wonder of nature is a village of Shamgona in Zugdidi which has been developed on the silted river island. Todays Shamgona used to be covered with forest in times immemorial. There grew fruitless variety of wine – Shamgu which became extinct but its name has survived and branded the island.

 

Kuakantsalia

Location: Tsalehjikha municipality, 1800 meters above sea level.

Access road: natural monument can be approached from the village of Chkvareli in Tsalehjikha district, first with a car, then by horse or on foot; distance from Tbilisi – 360 km, from Tsalehjikha – 35 km.

Limestone boulder Kuakantsalia `sits` on the peak of the elevated site on the territory free of forests, and weighs approximately 10-12 tones. Its dimensions are 1,8x2x1,6 meters. Its surface was ground by water. This monument of nature stands out because if one lightly touches one of its ribs, a huge mass of the boulder starts swinging and utters a voice of a knock. It has four points of support, of which one is always in the air causing movement.

 

Intsra gorge

Location: Tsalehjikha municipality, southern periphery of the river karst massif, basin of river Morosha, 250 meters above sea level.

Access road: on the territory of the village of Chkvaleri flows river Intsra in the upper bodies of which there are interesting monuments of nature, using the walking trail, from the village up to the Intsra waterfall the distance runs to 3 km; distance from Tbilisi – 370 km, from Zugdidi – 40 km, from Tsalehjikha – 20 km, and from settlement Jvari – 8 km.

Tsalehjikha municipality is situated on the border of Samegrelo and Zemo Svaneti, in the gorge of rivers Enguri and Chahiststskali.

The source of river Instra is in Tsalehjikha municipality. In the deep gorge of the river there are numerous sites interesting for tourists, lake caves, waterfalls, underground river. Instra cave developed in the massive lime stones.

 

Hazodelavo cave

Location: Chkorotsku municipality, environs of the village of Akhuti; left slope of river Zani gorge; 290 m above sea level.

Access road: the biggest populated settlement near the natural monument is the township of Chkorotsku till village Akhuta is 12,5 km, and from there to the natural monument of Hazodelavo Cave is 6,8 km; distance from Tbilisi – 355 km, from Zugdidi – 75 km, from Senaki – 40 km.

Hazodelavo is one of the largest clustery karst caves in the Caucasus. The average width of the caves main room is 4 m, height – 3m, and total length amounts to 600 meters. Through this canyon flows cold, pure underground river in the depth sometimes running up to 7-8 metres.

 

Tobi waterfall

Location: Martvili municipality, community of the village of Gachedili, south-eastern part of Askhi limestone massif, source of the left tributary of river Abasha – Tobi, 700 m above sea level.

Access road: access to the waterfall and a cave from the village of Baldi by marked tourist walking path. Distance from Martvili to the village of Pirveli Balda – 9,4 km, from the village to Tobi Waterfall and Arsen Okojanashvili cave natural monument – 5,6 km, distance from Tbilisi – 295 km, from Zugdidi – 105 km, from Senaki – 65 km, from Martvili – 15 km.

Limestone cliff developed at the source of river Tobi is rich with waterfalls flowing from karst caves. Underground water conceives 4 lakes and creates Tobi cascade waterfall with the falling height of 234 m. unique Martvili cave consists of several `rooms` where one can see stalactites, stalagmites and columns. The cave has rather wide entrance; the cave involves several forks. Martvili cave is difficult to reach and it is not recommended to go there without special equipment.

 

Gochkadili canyon

Location: Martvili municipality, village of Gachedili, gorge of river Abasha; 210 meters above sea level

Access road: from the road Martvili-Didichkoni, there is a trail running to the entrance to Canyon, then a walking pathway; distance from Tbilisi – 280 km, from Zugdidi – 90 km, from Cenaki – 50 km, from Martvili – 6 km.

When one enters river gorge plunged in green, he/she finds himself/herself in quite different world. Water of the canyon is very cold in all seasons of the year and virtually does not get warmer. This sit was named `Gachedili`. On October 4, 2010, Gachedili (Martvili) was declared a protected territory.

 

Motena cave

Location: Martvili municipality, environs of the village Pirveli Baldi, 473 meters above sea level.

Access road: distance from village Pirveli Baldi till  natural monument is 0,7 km; distance from Tbilisi – 290 km; from Zugdidi – 100 km; from Cenaki – 60 km, and from Martvili – 10 km.

The root of the name of a mountain and village in Martvili municipality – Barda, is `bala`, which in Megrelian means `a hill`. Residents of the village were named `Bardelebi` and village – Barda.

The cave consists of two big `halls` connected with each other by a narrow passage. The length of te first `hall` is 30 m, height – 24-25 m. the total length of the cave runs to 75 m.

 

Tobavarchkhili lake

Location: Tsalenjikha municipality;  2650 m above sea level.

Access road: The length of a motor road from the village of Mukhuri is 25 km, after that runs mountain walking route passing stony and sludge rocks of Egrisi range. Path trail in the mountains sets out at Skuri resort and follows river Magana gorge; distance from Tbilisi – 400 km, from Zugdidi – 70 km, from Senaki – 90 km, from township Chkhorotsku – 55 km.

There are several lakes on the Egrisi range originated from glaciers. Among them lake didi  Tobavarchkhili is distinguished for its special beauty, space and location among glacier mountains (in Megrelian it is called `Silver Lake`) with mirror space of 0,21 sq. km and the deepest point – 35 m. water is fresh. From the lake flows out river Magana, having length of 34 km. there are six lakes of this name in the Alpine zone, to wit, around mounts of Tsahikibuli, Chitagvala, Lakurumashdudi, Dvira. Lakes under the brand of Tobavarchkhili are of glacier origin. That is why centuries ago local population branded Tobavarchkhili as a Holy Lake.

 

Mestiachala gorge

Location: Mestia municipality, Southern slope of the main range of Caucasus mountains in Svaneti.

Access road: from the settlement of Mestia a stone road follows river Mestiachala, thet appears a boulder, rolled here by the glacier wherefrom starts walking path route toward Chalaati glacier. It is difficult but possible to move in the direction of glacier Lekhziri with a necessary equipment for mountain climbers. Distance from Mestiachala boulder to Lekhziri is 6 km, and to Chalaati is 3 km; distance from Tbilisi is 500 km, from Zugdidi – 150 km.

Mestiachala gorge is located on the elevation of 1500 m above sea level, surrounded by mountains, Mestia is administrative and tourist center of Zemo Svaneti. River Mestiachalas length is 11 km, basin space- 152 sq. km.

 

Ushba waterfall

Location: Mestia municipality, Southern slope of the main Caucasus mountain range, environs of the Becho community; 2200 m above sea level.

Access road: there is a fork on the Zugdidi-Mestia road near village of Dolrasvipi, therefrom a rocky road runs across the gorge of river Dolra, passes the site of Shikhra, then, from the bridge across the gorge of river Dolra, starts the walking route toward the waterfall. Distance from the hamlet of Mazeri is 7 km, while from the waterfall to glasier Ushba leads a 2-km steep pathway; distance from Tbilisi – 490 km, from Zugdidi -140 km, from settlement of Mestia – 30 km.

Ushba waterfall, falls from the river stream arising from the glacier on the Ushba slope. Double-headed peak of Ushba, overlooking Ushba waterfall, is situated to South-East of Elbrus, on the small range of the main watershed line of Caucasus mountains. It has Southern and Northern peaks. Southern peak is the tallest (4700 m) while the Northern one is 10 m shorter.

Ushba peaks are noted for unforgettable beauty and inaccessibility, and attract thousands of climbers and tourists from all corners of the world.

 

Shkhara massif

Location: Mestia municipality, Svaneti segment of Caucasus Mountains, near the community of Ushguli, 5203 m above sea level.

Access road: starts from the village of Zhabiani, then a rocky road leads across river Inguri gorge and near the glacier starts walking trail route. Distance to Ushguli – 5 km. Ushguli connects through internal level of importance roads with Mestia and Lentekhi. Distance from Tbilisi – 550 km, from Zugdidi – 200 km, from Mestia – 60 km.

Among the summits in Shkhara massif, the tallest shot goes to Shkhara – 5203m, and in this respect it is behind only Mount Elbrus. Western Shkhara (5015 m), Eastern Shkhara and Southern Shkhara (4320 m) are also compared with Mount Elbrus.

Within the distance of 5 km from the glacier of Shkhara is located a historical settlement – the community of Ushguli consisting of 4 villages; Zhibiani, Chvibiani, Murkmeli and Chazhashi.  The  hamlet of Chazhashi hes been declared a museum. In the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, this complex unites 13 towers, 4 citadel – houses and 21 `machubi` the hamlet hosts also Ushguli archeological museum.