1. Uplistsikhe: Ancient Cave Settlement & UNESCO Heritage Tour
Head to one of the oldest settlements of the Caucasus, Uplistsikhe. It is a city carved in rock, which was supposedly founded in the 1st millennium B.C. The name of the place literally translates as Lord’s Fortress, and it is a place which played one of the most important political and economic roles in the history of Georgia. Archaeologists have unearthed numerous temples and findings relating to a sun goddess, worshiped prior to the arrival of Christianity. You can explore the vicinity and find out how an ancient wine cellar was functioning, or how the ancient Georgians used to have complex irrigation systems. The complex counts around 150 cave rooms of different purposes. After exploring Uplistsikhe your journey will continue towards Mtskheta, which was once the capital of the old Georgian kingdom Iberia. Here Christianity became an official religion in 337. Mtskheta boasts two UNESCO cultural heritages: the Svetitskhevli Cathedral (built in the 11th century). and the Jvari Monastery (built in the 6th century). Afterwards, you will continue to the next destination, the monastery complex of Shio Mgvime. The place is steeped in the forest and is located in a beautiful and quiet limestone gorge. The name of the place is literally translated as "The cave of Shio". St. Shio, who was supposedly a founder of the monastery complex in the 6th century, was one of the 13 Assyrian Fathers. His grave is also located here and is considered to be a holy place. Upon request a short hiking (approximately 1.5 hours) to the small chapel up to the hill can be done, from where you will have wonderful view of the surrounded area.