Oldest Capital – city to become museum
The cradle for spreading Christianity in Georgia and first capital Mtskheta is located at the tributary of rivers Mtkvari and Aragvi. The name is associated with its founder Mtskhetos who was the son of legendary ancestor of Georgian people Kartlos. Territory was populated in III-II millennium B.C. The history of civilization started from Mtskheta and this city was the center of Christian religion till XII century. The oldest monastery monuments and former settlements have been kept till now. City belongs to the region of Mtskheta-Mtianeti and connects the most beautiful high mountain region of Caucasus through military road.
Mtskheta is announced as city-museum and is included in the list of Word Cultural Inheritance of UNESCO.
Svetitskhoveli Cathedral (XI centry) – one of the four greatest Cathedrals (Oshki, Bagrati Temple, Alaverdi). It is the largest historic church complex in Georgia among those who survived. During centuries it represented religious center of Christian Georgia. The Robe of Jesus and the Coat of St. Elias Prophet are buried in Svetitskhoveli.
Jvari Monastery (VI century) – Monastery is located at the tributaries of rivers Mtkvari and Aragvi, on the top of rocky mountain. It is included in the list of World Cultural Inheritance Monuments. In 30ies of IV centuries as soon as Christianity was adopted, King Mirian III erected wooden cross on this place, which later except Georgians was worshipped by the Christians from Caucasus that’s why further the Monastery built on this place was named Jvari Monastery.
Samtavro (XI century) – Episcopic Temple in Mtskheta. From this place St. Nino from Cappadocia preached Georgian nation Christianity. The convent was constructed in 1820 instead of a small ancient wooden church of the 4 th century erected by tsar Mirian. Its dome and some of the parts were reconstructed after the earthquake in the 13 th – 14 th centuries with addition of the sanctuary screen. The three-storied bell tower was built in the 15 th – 16 th centuries. The frescos there are dated the 16 th – the 17 th centuries. In the 17 th century the convent was renovated for the last time.
Shio Mgvime (VI century) – One of the most noticeable monasteries of Georgia of Early Feudal Era. It was founded by one of the Asureli Father Shio. As sources tell his last years of life Shio had spent in dark and deep grotto, after death according to the will he was buried there (from this the name “Shio’s Grotto,” “Shiomgvime” comes). His grave in Shiogvime used to be considered as Saint Place.
Zedazeni Monastery (VI century) – the oldest monastery on the Mountain of Zedazeni. The name of the Mountain Zedazeni was given from the name Zadeni – Idol erected here once. According to historic data yet in the beginning of II century (109) fortress stood on Zedazeni.