I have been planned a trip to Racha – the mountainous region of Georgia – for longer time. For years I have heard so much how beautiful this region is and now I get there for two days, what, of course, is too short to explore all the beauty and to get real feeling.
In a first day we have decided to visit a remote place somewhere on the top of mountain – Mravaldzali.
The road to this beautiful village starts from Ambrolauri-Oni road at Mukhli Village. Actually there are two roads, but this one is much better. Tourists must note, that for this road is highly recommended to take 4×4 vehicle, which, by the way, has been friendly provided (as this tour also has been managed) by VayTravel – the small local tour company owned by my friend Maria. I could recommend her as trusted companion and service provider, good guide and simply caring person. For more information and contacts please visit her website here.
The other one condition for visiting this place is dry weather conditions – if it is raining or snowing it is better to choose other destination. In winter time this village is not reachable.
Mukhli-Mravaldzali road is only 12 km long, but it takes 1-1,5 h to reach the endpoint. On the go you will pass silent and quite beautiful Samtisi, Kvemo Bari and Zemo Bari villages.
Approaching Mravaldzali you will notice yellowish-white church, which was built in the first part of XI century, then was drastically rebuilt in 1984 and almost fully destroyed by earthquake in 1991. In 2007 government has managed the renovation. This is the only one church in Georgia, which has heads of bull and cow on its facade.
In Mravaldzali village you will see many houses, which are in quite good condition. Here are only 4-5 permanent inhabitants, other owners are visiting their houses only during summertime.
From village is a beautiful panoramic views to Great Caucasus mountains and, if you reach the top of the hill over the church, you can get 360 degrees view.
Approximately 3 km from Mravaldzali Village is Cholevi Lake. People say it has the form of heart, but I cannot say it is something extremely beautiful. You can easily reach it by feet. It is nothing more, than you can see from the village, but for picnic is a good place. From the path you can catch amazing view to this stunning village – Mravaldzali.
Images by Aleksandrs Znovs ©
So, it is a small side-destination to Kazbegi area and you can visit this spectacular place in one-day-trip. The way is the same as to Stepantsminda, but you have to turn to Sno Village just some miles before. Passing Sno, driver takes you to the Juta Village. Here you continue your trip by feet up to the hill till Zeta Camp, managed by US Aid. After resting a bit, path will take you to very beautiful area, with green grass and small mountain river surrounded by gorgeous mountains. The destination of the trip was a plateau with a small lake beneath the very beautiful cliff. It is best place to rest and take picnic. This is average difficulty trekking path, so it is suitable even for seniors and children, but please note that on the way you have to cross a short mountain river, so anti-slide boots or second pair of shoes is required. Of course, it is possible to cross the river without shoes and with help of your companions it will be quite easy.
If you are more advanced trekker, you can combine this trip with visiting of Abudelauri Lakes next to Roshka Village with start point from Juta or Roshka.
I have to mention that during my trip almost no wast has been seen, because the path, as I already told, along with Zeta Camp managed by US Aid project.
Pictures by Aleksandrs Znovs ©