After getting appropriate information about beautiful sites hidden in the picturesque region Samtskhe-Javakheti we decided to make one-day trip to first of them – Abuli Fortress remains, located next to Gandzani Village, which could be reachable by car and from Tbilisi downtown it takes approximately 2,5 h for 155 km distance.
As the road trough the Tskhneti is still closed, there are any other solution: firstly to take Tbilisi – Marneuli Road, but then to turn to Akhaltsikhe Road at Koda Village. Road is in very good condition, so it will be no troubles.
On the way you can enjoy beautiful landscapes sinking in green grass palettes and fresh blossom of June.
After you get to Gandzani Village you have to be quite careful to find right path. At first we crossed the only one bridge over small river and then took the road to the left. There were one small turn next to small church, which we have accidentally skipped.
Okay, now we are in a right way and after a short time we will leave our car and start to walk uphill to discover something beautiful. It is approximately 2 km long distance each way, walking time was 50 minutes each way, elevation difference up to 300 m and difficulty level is quite low, so this trip could be made even with children and seniors. There was very windy and full of pieces of rock, so appropriate trekking shoes and wind proof dresses are required.
After a short time we start to see shapes of our target.
Of course, mountain are always beautiful and the higher was elevation, the more beautiful were sights.
By approaching we started to recognise more and more details of this ancient fortress.
By the way the history of this place is very controversial at least because no single artefact (i.e. utensils, tools, graves) has been found. Also the purpose of this fortress located at 2600 m a.s.e. is quite unimaginable even taking into account its location on the top of the mountain.
The structure is really huge and surprisingly in a very good condition. From the fortress you even could see Paravani Lake and some far away located villages.
To get to the fortress I choose to reach it from right side (Opt. 1 in the map), but the way back was from the back of fortress and along the left side of it (Opt. 2), so we saw this monument from all sides.
After farewell saying to this beautiful place we started our walk downwards.
Images by Aleksandrs Znovs ©
Actually I cannot say I was very satisfied with trekking trip we made last Saturday to Abudelauri lakes, but our friend have had birthday and my participation was just a respect. May be the trip was too long for me and difficulty-satisfaction-beautifulness ratio was too low for me, but okay, I did it and in company with my beloved friends it looks much better than if I would go alone.
So, Abudelauri lakes located in Khevsureti Region up to 116 km away from Tbilisi and the nearest inhabited place is Roshka Village. You can make one day trip if you leave Tbilisi in early morning. Required car is 4×4 vehicle because of bad road condition. Difficulty level of this track is medium to high, but if you are going to get to Zeta Camp (Juta Village) you have to be more experienced and expect 2-day trip with overnight in the tent in cold mountains.
There were 3 lakes with different water color – green, blue and white. Despite many beautiful descriptions in the web, only the blue lake looks interesting for me, green lake is not green, but dirty-brownish, but white lake I even didn’t visit, because of it was too much for my 120 kg to get there after 8,5 km of elevation (one way of course). When I saw images of white lake shown by my friends I understood it was right decision at all not to go there, hahah.
To be honest, it is enough to get to green and then to blue lake (there are next to each other) and take a big rest. A bit further from blue lake it is another, more comfortable trail back. I like it better, because it is not necessary to to pass very cold mountain river and it is almost no elevation parts of trail, so you can get back much more quickly.
I find almost all other places in Georgia I visited before more beautiful and interesting to see, but if you wish something new for your workout or you have already been in all other possible places in this beautiful country, this is the way you go. By the way, IMHO Chaukhi Mountain looks much more beautiful from other side, if you take a trip to it from Juta.
Images by Aleksandrs Znovs ©
Map credit: openstreetmap.org
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 ©