Exploring Kartli: Birtvisi, Bolnisi, Marneuli

Exploring Kartli: Birtvisi, Bolnisi, Marneuli

In the end of March 2015 a small seven nation army (The Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Poland, India, Thailand and Ukraine) decided to go explore Kartli, the region around Tbilisi, if it would be more clear for you. And here are some tips for a nice weekend trip!

With our Delica (the number of rental you can ask in PM) we went to Birtvisi canyon first. You follow the road to Tbisi (not Tbilisi!), then look for a shield with BIRTVISI, and then park and walk around 4 km to reach the canyon. There is also an easier way: follow the same road up to a small lake, then turn to Amlevi road, park and find the stairs. They will lead you to one of the passes to canyon and fortress.

As the snow will finally melt, it will be much easier to hike there. This time we just check out the place 🙂

And then proceeded to Marneuli, where local Azeri community celebrated Novruz, the spring fest. The road from Tbilisi to Marneuli would take 1.5 – 2 hours, but our way from Birtvisi took us just 35 minutes.

The whole celebration sounded like mixture of Georgian and Azeri languages and cultures. I still believe that the majority lives there peacefully, and this mixture is not the reason for misunderstandings. I do like to think so.

After a nice lunch in one of the road cafes we finally to the last point of our day-trip: Bolnisi, where the oldest Georgian basilica is located. The first examples of Georgian writing have been found there, and also the shape of cross, which I carry, comes from there.

But being almost there, we have suddenly noticed a church on the top of the hill, which was not indicated at the map. So the idea was to climb to it immediately.

It was worth it: such breathtaking views were opening in front of us! After our ascend we understood that the church was in the construction process yet, and there was a quite loud dog barking… Still, we decided to come closer.

The church is being built by Father Amiran, a very enthusiastic priest, and his helpers. If you read my Imereti post, you might remember, that I have already met another very positive priest named Amiran there, so for me it is a very good name 🙂

In this church I was even allowed to ring a bell (BOOOOMMM!))

It will sanctified on the 12th of July, as the Orthodox Peter and Paul’s Day is being celebrated. Father Amiran asked me to inform you that everyone is welcome!

We also came to Bolnisi Sioni, but there was a funeral service inside, so we couldn’t enter and show you the examples of ancient Georgian writing.

The nature is just awesome there, so if you are wondering where to go from from Tbilisi, don’t hesitate to check out these places. It is close, accessible and very beautiful. Walking routes are not super challenging, so you can also improve your health and picnic after 😉

And here are the cats from Peter and Paul’s Church. I think they would be glad, if you come visit them 🙂

Stay tuned, the new trips are coming!

About Dariko

Born in Ukraine, now Tbilisi-based. Love seeing new places.