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Exploring Georgia | Part 1

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After crossing the border into Georgia, we were immediately greeted with clear blue skies, plenty of lovely sunshine, rolling green hills and the friendly smile of our guide who was there to pick us up. We knew that this would be a country that we would easily fall in love with. Everything felt so colourful, cheerful and lively! So, here are our recommendation on things to do in Georgia!

Explore beautiful Tbilisi, capital of Georgia

Set aside at least 1-2 days to explore the labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys in this charming city. Climb up to the top of the Narikala fortress for an awesome bird eye view of the entire city, reward your body with a relaxing traditional hamam and massage, chill at a bar by the river and watch the world go by. Colourful houses perched on a hill, uneven cobbled passages, a fusion between the ancient and contemporary, a wide array of delicious Georgian cuisine, what’s there not to love about Georgia?

Can you spot the blue ‘Bridge of Peace” right in the middle of the photo below?

Just for fun: This famous Peace Bridge has also been labeled by the locals as the "Sanitary Napkin” bridge as it apparently looks like it according to them. What do you think?

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The infamous "Bridge of Peace”

Tsminda Sameba Cathedral

Tsminda Sameba Cathedral, the main Holy Trinity Cathedral of Georgia, is also the largest church in Georgia and the third tallest orthodox cathedral in the world with its incredible height of 13m!

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The magnificent gold roofed Tsminda Sameba Cathedral nestled right in the middle of Tbilisi.

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Can you spot the Tsminda Sameba Cathedral? Look how huge it is!

Please your tastebuds with the delicious "must-try” Acharuli Khachapuri

A unique boat shaped Georgian bread filled with cheese in the centre and a runny egg on the top of it.

How to eat it? Simply tear off a piece of warm, crispy portion of the bread and then drench it with the runny yolk and cheese and enjoy as the flavours burst in your mouth! This cost us around 8GEL ($3.70) and the portion was huge! Enough for 2 persons to share.

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Savour your dinner while enjoying a performance of the famous traditional Georgian folk dance

This was also another main highlight of our trip to Georgia! The performances were highly entertaining and the dancers were so skilled and there was this male dancer who was en pointe almost throughout the entire dance! Ouch!

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The food here was also worth mentioning, it was delicious! Unfortunately we can’t recall the name of the restaurant ???? But there are many of such restaurants that offer good food and Georgian dance performances too! Shouldn’t be too difficult to find one.

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Tip: Do remember to call in advance to make a booking as apparently such restaurants are very popular even among the locals!

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It was full house that night we went!

Be awed by the remarkable David Gareja cave monastery

This amazing 6th century David Gareja Monastery was definitely one of our highlights of Georgia. The monastery itself was very beautiful, but the hike up to top of the hill behind the monastery was even more fascinating! Most online sources did not mention about this trek, we only found out after we got here.

Tip: Be prepared to spend at least 2 hours if you’re planning to do the hike like us. And the hike was definitely worth it, if you have the time, do it! ????

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See those caves? Those caves were where the monks used to live back in the 6th century when the monastery was built.

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Inside the main church, bright vibrant coloured paintings of the Gospel

At the top of the hill after 1 hour of trek, you will see a series of caves varying in sizes along the trail. There were so many spectacular frescoes on the inside the cave walls but unfortunately, there has been a lot of vandalism on them.

Tip: From the back of the monastery, there’s a relatively clear path that will lead you to a railway track. From there, just follow the track and it will bring right up to the top where there’s a small church. From there, choose the path from the right to bring you back down to the monastery.

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Beautifully painted frescos found inside the caves

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On the other side of the hill lies beautiful Azerbaijan! The view was incredible!

Visit the picturesque Signagi and the Bodbe Monastery

This incredibly photogenic 18th century city, Signagi, was very famous for their grapes and wine. This place is almost like a semi-desert and it was one of the hottest places in Georgia.

Just for fun: Signagi was also affectionally known as the "City of Love” by the locals. The legend behind this was that there used to be a couple who fell in love but their parents forbade their relationship. This couple escaped to Signagi which means ‘refuge” where they could hide behind the walls of the city.

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Breathtaking view of the photogenic Signagi village against the stunning mountainous backdrop

The Bodbe Monastery

This monastery now functions as a nunnery and also a famous pilgrimage site where devotees pay their respects to St. Nino whose tomb was buried right here inside of the monastery. St. Nino was said to be the person who preached Christianity in Georgia.

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Inside the main church of the Bodbe Monastery

Marvel at the majestic Cross Church

The church where the first cross was placed in Georgia back in the 4th century, hence its name. Look at the line up of cars in front of the church! It was very packed on the day that we went as it was a Sunday and the weekly service was on going. Our guide shared with us that the service usually last from morning to afternoon!

Tip: Avoid visiting churches on Sunday if you do not wish to interrupt the service or if you’re driving there on your own, parking’s going to be a huge problem. But otherwise, it was also quite interesting to witness an actual service.

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The majestic Cross Church of Georgia

Svetitskhoveli Cathedral of the 12 Apostles

This cathedral is the second largest in Georgia and also the place where the Christ’s mantle was buried.

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The frescos inside of the church were gorgeous! There was a weekly service going on when we were there.

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The interior of the main church where there was a weekly church service happening.

Ananuri Castle and Fortress

Another must-see of Georgia, the sublime castle complex surrounded by a 16th century fortress with 2 churches inside. As you can see from the photo below, the fortress has been very well preserved with its walls and watchtower intact.

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The magnificent castle surrounded by its fortress walls

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View from the watch tower

We also did head up north to Kazbegi but unfortunately the weather wasn’t on our side. It was snowy and extremely foggy when we were driving towards Kazbegi. Hence we didn’t manage to trek up to the main highlight of Kazbegi – Tsminda Sameba monastery

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