Military highway

Military Road - through wonderful ravines of Caucasus

Road, through which Georgia used to connect to North Caucasus passes through yet oldest and most beautiful high mountainous region. Here snowy mountains of Caucasus Range stand side by side to higher glaciers and passes. This wonderful province of Georgia is described by famous Georgian poets and writers as well as many foreign travelers. One of ski resort Gudauri is located in this region which hosts lots of guests during season. From the passes of Caucasus Range Jvari Pass constructed from volcanic rocks is distinguished for its beauty. Here Truso Ravine with lots of mineral waters, Khada Ravine with oldest villages spread over on vast height, Dariali Gorge named as the Gate of Caucasus cut in 1000 meter depth.  Main beauty and symbol of Dariali Ravine is Gergeti Trinity, where once St. Nino’s Cross was kept. The oldest Monastery built on the top of the mountain is the most beautiful sight on the background of the glacier of high apex. Glacier Mkinvarstveri, the same apex Kazbegi is 5047 meter height and for climbers is one of the attractive targets on Caucasus. Road comes out from Mtskheta (first capital of Georgia) and leads to this region is one of the most astonishing sightseeing with diverse natural and historic monuments.

The Georgian Military Road or Georgian Military Highway – is the historic name for a major route through the Caucasus from Georgia to Russia. Alternative routes across the mountains include the Ossetian Military Road and the Transkam.

History -People have used this route since antiquity – both Strabo (in his Geographica) and Pliny the Elder mention it. Russian troops first travelled it in 1769. Pavel Potemkin sent 800 men to improve the road so that by October 1783 he was able to drive to Tiflis in a carriage drawn by eight horses. The Georgian Military Road in its present form was begun by the Russian military in 1799, after the Georgians had abjured centuries of Persian suzerainty and became a Russian protectorate under the 1783 Treaty of Georgievsk. Russian control of the Georgian Military Highway in the center of the Caucasus divided the Caucasian War (1817-1864) into the Russo-Circassian War (1763-1864) in the west and the Murid War in the east.

After the Russian Empire officially annexed the Kingdom of Georgia in 1801, Tsar Alexander I ordered General Aleksey Petrovich Yermolov, the commander-in-chief of Russian forces in the Caucasus, to improve the road surface to facilitate troop movement and communications. When Yermolov announced the completion of work in 1817, the highway was heralded as the “Russian Simplon”. However, work continued until 1863. By this stage, it had cost £4,000,000 (a staggering sum in the 1860s) but according to Bryce in 1876 the work was of a high quality, with two or three lanes and “iron bridges over the torrents”, something he considered astonishing given that within Russia proper at this time decent roads were virtually non-existent.

The Georgian Military Road played an important role in the economic development of Transcaucasia and in the Russo-Circassian War.

What to visit

Gergeti trinity

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(XIV century) – temple built on 2200 meters from sea level is the most beautiful place to see on the background of Mkinvarstveri (Mkinvartsveri – apex on Caucasus). Trinity Temple used to always carry special meaning in spiritual life of Georgian nation. During long period here one of the holiest relics of Georgian Christians – Cross of St. Nino lies in here.

Gudauri

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snowboarding resort of modern standards. It is located at Main Range of Caucasus near Jvari Mountain Pass 2196 meter from sea level. It is ideal place in for those who are fond of winter extreme sport. The average height of the snow in winter reaches 1.5 meters on the mountain slope. The skiing season lasts from November to April. For professional skiers Gudauri slope has all fourth sport ski line: slalom, slalom-giant, super giant and high-speed gallop. The category of all ski line is approved by FIS.

Gudauri hosts guests even during summer season. In summer Gudauri is attractive for those who are fond of backpacking and water rafting. Backpacking with horses and taking walk in Truso and Khada Ravines take place, the water rafting takes place on the river of Aragvi. During both seasons guests are expected to make great choice of modern infrastructure hotels and hostels in Gudauri.

Ananuri fortress

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(XVI-XVIII centuries) – fortress near village of Ananuri. Ananuri Complex is one of the most important monuments of late feudal era of Georgia. It unites idol, military and secular monuments. This is one of best-kept and protected oldest monument among lots of historic monuments in Georgia.