It’s our first full day of touring and we are off to the ancient capital city of Mtskheta. Enroute we drive to the top of a hill overlooking the ancient sacred capital and climb up to the church of Jvari perched on a cliff.
Below us is the old capital town at the confluence of two rivers.. The old town has undergone a tremendous transformation due to the government’s initiative for upgrading various tourist regions for visitors.
They have done an admirable job and these areas are quite interesting. There are new shops, restaurants, craftsmen demonstrating traditional ways of baking bread. After our visit to the sacred cathedral Sveti-Tskhoveli, the first Christian church to be built in Georgia. It’s reputed to be the place of Georgia’s conversion to Christianity in 337CE.
After lunch in one of the new restaurants near to the cathedral we return to Tbilisi to visit the main cathedral Sioni. This exquisite church contains the famed sacred cross of St. Nino. It also serves as the seat of the Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church. It was quite a hike up the steps but the view was well worth the exertion. Plus it’s important to work up an appetite for these monsterous meals!!
After a bit of a rest…right!….we head out to the Black Lion Restaurant located in a rustic cellar in the city. Many of the old houses had these cellars in the olden days when there was no refrigeration to keep their foods cool and to keep them from spoiling. Dinner was delightful and not quite as heavy as lunch. Of the various dishes the main entrée was a delicious Georgian trout.
After dinner it was back to the hotel to repack for our first foray into the fabled GEORGIAN WINE COUNTRY.