Gori
Culture & History

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Tbilisi: Mtskheta, Jvari, Gori and Uplistsikhe Day Tour

1. Tbilisi: Mtskheta, Jvari, Gori and Uplistsikhe Day Tour

Explore one of the most mysterious regions of Georgia – Kartli and hear a lot about the country's history. First, visit memorable Uplistsikhe cave-town and dive into the antique life of Georgia. Then, find out more interesting facts in Gori, the hometown of the most famous Georgian, Stalin, and see the unique old capital of Georgia – Mtskheta, where you visit two UNESCO heritage sites Jvari Monastery and Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. Your first stop is Uplistsikhe, an antique rock-hewn town in eastern Georgia. It contains multiple structures dating from the Early Iron Age to the Late Middle Ages. It is notable for the unique mixture of various rock-cut cultures from Anatolia and Iran's pagan and Christian architecture coexistence. After exploring Uplistsikhe, you have a chance to have lunch in the region and try delicious local food. After lunch, you have two options, have free time and explore Gori, the hometown of Stalin, or visit Stalin Museum, which is a museum dedicated to the life of Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, who was born in Gori. The Museum retains its Soviet-era characteristics, Stalin's Original house, and Stalin's railway carriage. The next stop is Jvari Monastery. The name of this monastery is translated as the "Monastery of the Cross." Jvari Monastery is the 6th-century Georgian Orthodox monastery near Mtskheta. Along with other historic structures of Mtskheta, it is listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO. Jvari Monastery stands on the rocky mountain top at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers, overlooking the town of Mtskheta, which was formerly the capital of the kingdom of Iberia. The last site on tour is Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta. UNESCO recognizes Mtskheta as a World Heritage site due to its historical significance and several cultural monuments. It was the capital of the early Georgian Kingdom of Iberia from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD. Svetitskhoveli is known as the burial site of Christ's robe and has been one of the principal Georgian Orthodox churches and is among the region's most venerated places of worship.

Kartli: Uplistsikhe, Gori, and Mtskheta Private Tour

2. Kartli: Uplistsikhe, Gori, and Mtskheta Private Tour

Explore Kartli, one of the most mysterious regions of Georgia. Visit the cave town of Uplistsikhe, Stalin's hometown of Gori, and the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Mtskheta. Start at Uplistsikhe, an antique rock-hewn town in eastern Georgia. View its unique mixture of cut-out cultures from Anatolia and Iran's pagan and Christian architecture, then pause for a spot of local lunch (own expense). Next, visit, Gori, the hometown of Stalin. Explore the town or visit the Stalin Museum, which includes the dictator's old house and railway carriage. Follow that with a trip to Jvari Monastery. Admire this 6th-century Orthodox structure which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy the view from the rocky mountain top down onto the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers. Conclude your tour at the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta, another World Heritage Site. Spend some time at a location known as the burial site of Christ's robe, and which is among the region's most venerated places of worship.

Georgia: Day-Trip to Mtskheta, Stalin Museum & Uplistsikhe

3. Georgia: Day-Trip to Mtskheta, Stalin Museum & Uplistsikhe

Start your tour at your accomodation in Tbilisi where your driver/guide will be waiting to meet you. After a short meet and greet you will set-off to your first location, starting your sightseeing adventure for the day! After a short and scenic drive your first stop will be Jvari Church (6th -7th cc), the most important religious center and an architectural masterpiece of medieval Georgia. Enjoy the breathtaking view from the church that towers over the city of Mtskheta. Continue on to Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, known as the burial site of Christ's robe and the second largest church building in the country. The Cathedral has long been the principal Georgian church and remains one of the most venerated places of worship to this day. Take an excursion to Uplistsikhe Cave Town, an ancient cave town and one of the oldest urban settlements in Georgia. The town represents a complex of various structures dating from the 12th-century. BC to the 17th-century. AD. Finish your tour at the Stalin Museum in Gori, dedicated to the life of Joseph Stalin. This museum is the perfect location for any Stalin or politic enthusiasts. End your day in comfort with a relaxing car ride back to your accomodation in Tbilisi. 

Tbilisi: Private Uplistsikhe and Borjomi Hot Pools Day-Trip

4. Tbilisi: Private Uplistsikhe and Borjomi Hot Pools Day-Trip

Enjoy a day trip to the most scenic sight of central and southern Georgia, visiting a local family in their countryside house for a traditional dinner. After the pick-up from your hotel at 9:00AM, you will soon reach the ancient cave town of Uplistsikhe. Here you can walk through the ruins and beautiful rock formations and see the remains of formal ancient glory of what used to be once the center of Pagan culture. Right next to Uplistsikhe lies Gori, the town known as the birth place of Stalin, where you can still see the house where he grew up. After about 1.5 hours, you will reach the cozy resort town of Borjomi, surrounded by the largest national park of Georgia. You can wander through the beautiful central park, taste the legendary mineral water of Borjomi directly from the springs and take a bath in the open air thermal pools in the middle of the forest. You can reach the pools by hiking through the forest or taking a ride with a local car operating this route (at own expense). After the outdoor fun you are invited to be the guest of a Georgian family who lives in a nearby village, where a delicious traditional dinner is waiting for you.

Tbilisi: Uplistsikhe Cave City and Borjomi National Park

5. Tbilisi: Uplistsikhe Cave City and Borjomi National Park

You will be picked up from your hotel at 9:00AM, before driving approximately 1.5 hours to reach your first destination of Uplistsikhe. Literally meaning "Fortress of God", this is an ancient rock-hewn town which played a significant role in Georgian history over a period of approximately 3,000 years. Archaeological excavations have revealed extraordinary artifacts here dating from the late Bronze Age all the way up to the late Middle Ages. There is the Uplistsikhe cave-town fortress, situated on a rocky massif 15 kilometers eastward from the town of Gori on the left bank of the river Mtkvari. The fortress is mentioned in chronicles from the earliest times, with its history beginning in the 1st-2nd millennium B.C. Uplistsikhe was an important religious, political and cultural center in the Hellenistic and the late Antique periods (4th century B.C.–4th century A.D.). Once inside the museum, your local guide will provide you with detailed information about this cave city. Once done in Uplistsikhe, your tour continues to Borjomi National Park, a distance of approximately 1.5-hours. The beautiful resort town of Borjomi contains the world-famous mineral springs and a beautiful park. In the park you will have the opportunity to taste legendary and world famous Borjomi mineral water fresh from the spring. Your day trip will then conclude with return to your hotel at approximately 7:00PM.

Mtskheta, Gori, and Upliscikhe Private Tour

6. Mtskheta, Gori, and Upliscikhe Private Tour

Escape the crowds and visit the oldest city of Georgia, Mtskheta, which used to be the capital in the early Georgian Kingdom of Iberia from the 3rd-century BC to the 5th-century BC. Enjoy panoramic aerial views of the mountains around the Jvari Monastery, which was Georgian Orthodox in the 6th-century. The name translates as the Monastery of the Cross. It represents the peak of architectural typology as a true masterpiece of the early Medi period. It overlooks the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers from the top of the hill.  Journey back to the early centuries at the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral and Samtavro Church. Svetitskhoveli Cathedral was built in the 11th-century but the site itself is even older, dating back to the early 4th-century. It differs in artistic value and the special role that it has played in history. The monument has an elongated cross which appears to touch the sky. It was the main pilgrimage place on the Silk Road, the burial place of the Christ"s Robe, and the tomb of Georgian Kings. The cathedral is the second largest church building in Georgia and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Samtavro monastery complex was built in the 11th-century. It contains the graves of queen Nana and Mirian III King of Iberia, who established Christianity as an official religion in Georgia. The famous Georgian monk Gabrieli is also buried inside the Samtavro church. Complete your tour of Mtskheta with a Georgian wine degustation. In Gori-Uplistsikhe, visit several sites from different periods of Georgian history, including Uplistsikhe cave town, Joseph Stalin’s home museum, and Gori fortress. Uplistsikhe, translated to Fortress of the Lord, is a cave town fortress situated on a rocky massif on the bank of the river Mtkvari. Dating back to the first and second millennium BC, Uplistsikhe was an important religious, political, and cultural center in the Hellenistic and the late Antique periods. Take a walk among the ancient streets, rock-carved theatre, royal halls, pharmacy, pagan temples, and Christian churches, while the remains of granaries and large clay wine vessels give clues as to the daily life of the inhabitants.  Continue to the Joseph Stalin Museum in Gori. Stalin was originally Georgian and the secretary general of the Communist Party during the second world war. He is one of the most influential dictators of modern times. The museum features Stalin’s home, a hut where he was born, his armour plated railway carriage, and a statue that controversially stood in the main square of Gori until 2010. In addition, see many items owned by Stalin, including some of his office furniture, his personal belongings, and gifts given to him over the years. Gori Fortress is a medi citadel in Georgia. It stands above the city of Gori on a rocky hill. Archaeological evidence shows that the area was already inhabited in the final centuries BC. The fortress controlled major strategic and economic routes and accommodated a large garrison.

Tbilisi: Guided Mtskheta, Gori, and Uplistsikhe Tour

7. Tbilisi: Guided Mtskheta, Gori, and Uplistsikhe Tour

Your tour will begin in the morning as you are picked up from your hotel, after which you will begin with a drive through the fertile lands of the Kartli region. Your first stop is the 6th-century Jvari Monastery, which is located 19 kilometers away from Tbilisi. Here you will receive an introductory story of the area, whilst enjoying the wonderful panorama of the conjunction of the two rivers Aragvi and Mtkvari, the Armazi Mountains, and the city of Mtskheta. You will then drive 88 kilometers west of Tbilisi to Gori, a city in the Kartli province. Gori was an important military stronghold in the Middle Ages, and at the foot of a sand-stone hill stands the Medieval Gori Fortress Tskhra-kara. You will do a short walk around the area, before then continuing to the Stalin Museum. Excursions in Joseph Stalin's museum will take about 30 minutes, with the museum consisting of 3 sites. Following your museum tour, you will drive to the ancient temple town of Uplistsikhe. Translated as the “Fortress of the Lord“ and dating back to the 6th century B.C., this town is mentioned in the "Chronicles of the 1st Century A.D". Here the echoing halls, long meandering corridor-streets, chambers of pagan worship, and even the remains of the oldest theater in Georgia are all carved into the rocky plateau and waiting to be explored. You will then drive back to Tbilisi passing through the ancient capital Mtskheta, which presents a living museum including the UNESCO Heritage Listed Site of the Svetitskhoveli Cathedral, as well as other architectural landmarks. You can take a walk through the historical part of town, and enjoy a relaxing evening tasting local sweets at the souvenir shopping rows.

Mtskheta, Gori and Uplistsikhe Full-Day Tour

8. Mtskheta, Gori and Uplistsikhe Full-Day Tour

You will be picked up from your hotel at 10:00 AM and will travel to Mtskheta, the previous capital of Georgia. Mtskheta is an ancient town of extraordinary importance to the Georgian nation and is located about 20 km out of Tbilisi. It was the capital of the eastern Georgian kingdom of Iberia from the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD. It was also the site of Georgia's adoption of Christianity in 334 and remains the headquarters of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Mtskheta is of primary interest to any travelers interested in Georgian history or Orthodox Christianity. During the tour, you will see Svetitskhoveli Orthodox cathedral, located in the historic town and built in the 11th century. Walk in the old city, and visit Djvari monastery, built in the 6th century. You have the opportunity to take photos with a very beautiful view of Mtskheta.  At 1:30 PM, you will visit Gori town where the Joseph Stalin Museum is located. Joseph Stalin’s Museum was established in 1951 as a local history museum but clearly intended to become a memorial to Stalin, who died in 1953. The main building of the complex is a large palace in Stalinist Gothic style. The exhibition is divided into six halls in roughly chronological order and contains many items actually or allegedly owned by Stalin. There is also much illustration by way of documentation, photographs, paintings and newspaper articles.  At 4:00 PM, visit Uplistsikhe town, an ancient rock-hewn town in eastern Georgia, some 62 miles west of Tbilisi. Uplistsikhe is identified by archaeologists as one of the oldest urban settlements in Georgia. The central part of Upliscikhe is the largest and contains a bulk of the Uplistsikhe rock-cut structures. Narrow alleys and sometimes staircases radiate from the central street to the different structures. End your day trip with a return to your hotel at 7:30 PM. 

Mtskheta, Gori and Uplistsikhe Cave Town Day Tour

9. Mtskheta, Gori and Uplistsikhe Cave Town Day Tour

During this tour, you will visit the ancient capital city of Georgia – the city of Mtskheta, which is just less than 12 miles (20 km) from Tbilisi. Here you will see two wonderful UNESCO heritage sites. The first being the 7th-century Jvari Monastery, where you will see a beautiful view of two rivers Mtkvari and Aragvi meeting. The second monument is the 11th-century Svetisckhoveli Cathedral which is an architectural masterpiece of Georgian Renaissance. You will then set off for the West of the country to the city of Gori – “the apple capital city” of Georgia. The city is famous for its fertility and moreover is famous as the motherland of Joseph Stalin (Jugashvili). Here you can visit the house-museum of the famous generalissimo before heading to your next stop. After a 20 minute drive, you will arrive at the ancient cave city Uplistsikhe which was founded around the first millennium B.C. Here you will be able to explore the caves and see how peoples used to live from its establishment and the centuries which it was inhabited. Another 15 minutes away you will find the beautiful 7th-century church, Ateni Sioni, which is famous for its unique frescoes.  After you can have lunch and enjoy a wine tasting at one of the best wineries of central Georgia which you can choose. You can visit Iago's Winery, a small but comfortable wine boutique that is famous for its rate wines and perfect atmosphere. Your other option is Nika Vacheishvili winery which has beautiful views of the mountains of Central Georgia.

Uplistsikhe and Stalin's Museum in Gori: Full-Day Tour

10. Uplistsikhe and Stalin's Museum in Gori: Full-Day Tour

Spend a day exploring some of the most fascinating attractions in Georgia, starting with the ancient town of Uplistsikhe, considered one of the oldest urban settlements in all of George and dating back to 200 B.C. The ancient rock-hewn town, on the list for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage program, contains a bulk of rock-cut structures and is connected to the southern part via a narrow rock-cut pass and a tunnel. Narrow alleys and sometimes staircases radiate from the central "street" to its various structures, making it a fascinating place to explore. After exploring Uplistsikhe, continue the tour to Joseph Stalin's Museum in Gori, established as a local history museum but clearly intended to become a memorial to Stalin. The main building of the complex is a large palace in Stalinist Gothic style. Enshrined within a Greco-Italianate pavilion is a small wooden hut, in which Stalin was born in 1878 and spent his first four years.

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What people are saying about Gori

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 110 reviews

Fantastic day trip, Lasha was a brilliant guide, very knowledgeable and interesting, I learnt a lot about Georgian history the sites we visited. Lasha clearly has a ton of experience as a guide and we were also lucky to have some lovely fellow passengers on our tour. Highly recommend. Thanks May for the great communication throughout, it really feels like we're in safe hands while you're managing things :)

Very interesting and complete excursion. Delicious homestay meal with Georgian dancing to boot. The sites are in beautiful locations. A special thought to Katherine, our guide. She is excellent and does everything for our well being. Many thanks to her. Excursion recommended.

Both our guide Lika and our driver Georgia were wonderful. Lika was knowledgeable, kind and very flexible with our itinerary. Well worth the surcharge to get a private tour.

An excellent excursion for history lovers, plus stunningly beautiful places! Special thanks to the guide Niko!

Excellent experience , beautiful views. Must do tour ! Our guide Mr. Metro was awesome 10/10. Loved it