Mtskheta

Mtskheta (მცხეთა), 15 km north of Tbilisi, was the capital of the ancient eastern Georgian kingdom of Iberia from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD. It is of extraordinary importance to the Georgian people and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was here that Georgia adopted Christianity in AD 334 and it remains the headquarters of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Mtskheta is of primary interest to anyone interested in Georgian history or Orthodox Christianity.

View of Mtskheta with the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral
Gamsakhurdia street
Svetitskhoveli Cathedral interiors
Jvari Monastery

Get in

Mtskheta lies at the junction of the Georgian Military Highway and the main road that connects Gori with Tbilisi.

By train

Mtskheta lies on the Tbilisi-Kutaisi railway and thus any trains connecting these cities will pass Mtskheta.

By taxi

You can take a taxi from Tbilisi or book a guided tour. To make sure you can get back to Tbilisi without problems get a phone number of a cab company before heading to Mtskheta, they will send someone to pick you up for the way back.

By minibus

Marshrutkas run regularly every day of the week between Tbilisi's Didube market and the main street in Mtskheta. From the Didube metro station, you walk out and around the one-story shops that are ahead and to the right. In that lot, there is a 'cash desk' where you can buy a ticket for the marshrutka. The cost to Mtskheta is 1 GEL per person. You will need to pay attention for when you're near the historic center of Mtskheta because the marshrutkas continue to the Mtskheta bus station which is a few kilometers north of Mtskheta's cathedral. Note that there are fewer marshrutka drivers operating on Sundays and that this mode of transportation therefore becomes less dependable and more crowded.

Get around

Mtskheta is small enough that it is possible to see the entire town on foot. The one exception to this rule is Jvari monastery, which is far from the town center and located on top of a mountain. As there is no public transport to Jvari, it may be best to hire a cab in town.

See

Around town

Do

Events

Buy

There are some traders and a small shop in front of the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral where you can buy souvenirs and drinks.

Eat

There are several cafes in Mtskheta, but one deserves special recognition: Cafe Guga. It has indoor and outdoor seating—the outdoor seating is especially nice in warm weather as each party will have their own private dining "hut." The Georgian cuisine available is outstanding and costs far less than a comparable meal in Tbilisi. It's almost worth it to come from Tbilisi to Mtskheta just for dinner here!

Drink

Those who want to visit discos and nightclubs must drive to Tbilisi.

Sleep

Mtskheta is an easy and exceptionally rewarding place to visit. The accommodation here is cheaper and generally better than the budget accommodation on offer in Tbilisi, and the easy mini bus connection to Didube metro station, makes it a good alternative place to stay.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, September 19, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.