Mtskheta. Religious and touristic destination

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Mtskheta, one of the oldest cities of the country of Georgia (in Kartli province of Eastern Georgia), is located approximately 20 kilometers north of Tbilisi at the confluence of the Aragvi and Kura rivers. The city (19,500 inhabitants) is now the administrative centre of the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region. Due to its historical significance and numerous ancient monuments, the “Historical Monuments of Mtskheta” became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

History

Remains of towns at this location have been dated to earlier than the year 1000 BC, and Mtskheta was capital of the early Georgian Kingdom of Iberia during the 3rd century BC – 5th century AD. It was a site of early Christian activity, and the location where Christianity was proclaimed the state religion of Kartli in 337. Mtskheta still remains the headquarters of the Georgian Orthodox Church.

King Dachi I Ujarmeli (beginning of the 6th century AD), who was the successor of Vakhtang I Gorgasali, moved the capital from Mtskheta to the more easily defensible Tbilisi according to the will left by his father. However, Mtskheta continued to serve as the coronation and burial place for most kings of Georgia until the end of the kingdom in the 19th century.

The old city lies at the confluence of the rivers Mtkvari and Aragvi. The rare blend of cultural values had ruled in this part of the world since the Bronze Age until prosperous Christian era over the unique eclectic lifestyle creating the mood of the town which is as old as the history of Georgia. Mtskheta is the most religious city of Georgia as it has been the shrine of pagan idols since times immemorial and it is where Christianity in Georgia takes its origin.

Must to visit:

Svetitskhoveli cathedral, Mtskheta small museum (With very expressive and friendly guides. Ticket allow you also to entrance ancient burial place), Samtavro monastery, Jvary monastery (some minutes by car out of the town. From here you will get beautiful view ower Mtskheta town).

Text source: Wikipedia
Pictures by Aleksandrs Znovs © 

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