Mtskheta-Mtianeti is one of the most scenic regions in Georgia like a perfectly composed painting brought vividly to life. It is mainly an agricultural region but also contains Georgia's main skiing resort, Gudauri.
The city of Mtskheta is the administrative capital of the region and was once the ancient capital of the country.
The picturesque settlement of Mtskheta is one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in the world. It was capital of most of eastern Georgia between the 3rd century BC and the 5th century AD, when that role was moved to Tbilisi.
However, Mtskheta has remained a spiritual capital for the country. The numerous culturally significant monuments scattered around Mtskheta form a UNESCO World Heritage site and are a reminder of its past glories.
Geography and climate
This geographically diverse region represents a luscious slice of Georgia. It extends from the 3500-5000m high snowy peaks and glaciers of the Greater Caucasus through knife edge ravines and secluded lakes, south to lush river valleys and lowland plains.
The city of Mtskheta is in an attractive setting in the south of the region, at the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari Rivers where they have carved a passage through steep hills.
The climate varies considerably from north to south but generally, winters in the region are cold and marked with a lot of snow. Summers in the lowlands are relatively warm while mountainous northern areas stay cool all year round.
What to see and do
Mtskheta-Mtianeti is the perfect place for adventure seekers. Popular activities in the region include paragliding, ski-touring, snowmobile sightseeing tours, trekking and hiking, bird-watching, horse riding, mountain biking, white water rafting, fishing, mountaineering, rock climbing, camping and more.
Gudauri is Georgia’s main snow resort and a premier outdoors playground with over 50 kilometres of prepared runs. The resort offers four types of runs: slalom, giant slalom, super giant and downhill racing, with something for every skier from beginner to professional. Great snow coverage means the season runs from December to mid-April. Drop into the Khada Hut for a delicious meal and a welcome rest in the friendly atmosphere.
This region is also the spiritual heart of the country and home to two of Georgia’s greatest churches, Svetitskhoveli and Jvari. The Jvari Monastery stands solitary and sublime atop a hill overlooking Mtskheta. Here, the missionary St Nino herself erected a cross ("jvari" in Georgian) in the 4th century to mark the coming of Christianity to Georgia.
Svetitskhoveli is the royal cathedral of Georgia, used for centuries for the coronation and burial of Georgian monarchs. Nearby, in a narrow limestone canyon is the Shio-mgvime Monastic complex . It was founded by one of the 6th century Syrian Fathers who lived here as a religious recluse in a dark cave for 20 years, praying and devoting himself to God.