- All Year Round | Mon, Thu & Sat.
- Live English-speaking guide.
- Note: Tours may depart with a bilingual Russian/English speaking guide.
schedule Departure Time:
- 08:30 (Arrive For 08:15).
place Departure Points:
- 44 Kote Abkhazi Street.
- 1/3 Pushkin Street, Freedom Square.
- 24 Shota Rustaveli Avenue.
- Approximately 13 Hours.
- Attraction Entry Fees.
About The Vardzia, Rabati & Borjomi Day Tour:
Meet your tour guide and fellow travellers and embark on an epic journey towards Georgia's southern border with Turkey. Here, carved into a sheer rock face high above the Mtkvari River, is the medieval monastery of Vardzia. Outwardly primitive yet breathtaking in scale, it could easily be mistaken as the site of a much earlier human settlement. In reality, construction began during the 12th century reign of King George III, a period of Georgian expansion into areas captured from the declining Seljuk Empire.
This warring coupled with decades of internal political strife may account for Vardzia's unorthodox design. The complex is arranged into 19 tiers each with dozens of rooms and interconnecting passageways. Many of the rooms had typical day-to-day functions, while others including the Church of the Dormition centred around the site's main religious purpose.
During your visit you'll discover beautiful secco artworks depicting the life of Christ and important figures such as Giorgi III and Queen Tamar. More mundane though just as fascinating are the array of bedrooms, wine cellars, cisterns and apothecaries. Although largely abandoned in the mid-16th century, some monks have recently returned to Vardzia to preserve the monastery's religious and cultural heritage.
Next you'll travel to Rabati Castle, a magnificent fortress in the middle of Akhaltsikhe city. Originally a 9th century Georgian stronghold, Rabati later fell under the control of the Ottomans, who shored up the defences and established a mosque in 1752. As part of a drive to attract more tourists the castle underwent extensive renovations in 2011/12. These restoration works also succeeded in preserving the unique Islamic-Christian character of the site.
Lastly, you'll arrive in the quaint resort town of Borjomi. Nestled at the foot of Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park, Borjomi is renowned for its naturally carbonated mineral water springs, which are a major source of local income. Whilst here you'll also be shown Likani Villa, once the summer palace of Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich of Russia, now an official residence of the President of Georgia.