mtirala national park

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  • Mtirala National Park

Mtirala National Park Administration is located in historical Achara, Chaqvi X - 738085 Y - 4618178. Narrow ground road l5 km away the administration leads us to visitor center, which is located in village Chaqvistavi.

The territory of Mtirala is constructed by volcanic-sedimentary rocks of so-called ‘Naghvarevi Pack’, which are presented by alternation of sub-alkali and lime alkali basalts, trachiandesites, andesites, delenites, tuffites, marls and argillites. Mount Mtirala is located between the Black Sea and Achara mountain system on the watershed of Chakvistskali and Koraghitskali. These Mountains intercept the humid air from the Black Sea and determine Achara's very humid climate. Generally, Achara is rich in atmospheric pre­cipitation but the Mount Mtirala, height of which is 1381 m above sea level, is the most abundant with precipitation. Annual precipitation reaches to 4520 mm here, due to which the Mount Mtirala is considered as one of the wettest sites not only in Achara but in our country as well. The toponym ‘Mtirala’ (‘Weeping’) was given to this Mount just because of abundant precipitation.

There are two tourist trails in Mtirala National Park. These trails have been built with the support of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

1 day Trail Tsablnari (Chestnut forest) by foot 7 km grade easy

The trail is between 265 - 442 meters above sea level. It starts from the visitor center in Chakvistavi, which is located in the planned buffer zone. It is a walking path and has educational and entertainment purposes. It passes through two important sites, the waterfall and the lake. The underwood with cherry laurel, Colchic box trees and various types of ivies all contribute to the beauty of the pathway.

The trail runs along the beautiful gorge of the Chakvistskali River. 2 kilometers from the visitor center, there is a 15 m high waterfall covered in ivy and Colchic box trees. A designated camping area is located near the waterfall, in the midst of wild nature. A river flows between the rocks and forms into a whirlpool. The river has an abundance of trout. There are also designated picnic spots and fire pits near the river bank.

2 day Trail Tsivtskaro (cold spring)

Trip starts at the visitor center 260 meters above sea level and ends at 1,250 meters above sea level. Colchic broad-leaved mixed forest is the beginning of the trip and by the end of the forests are beech trees. Besides vegetation, visitors can find the tracks of creatures such as brown bears, roe deer, martens, the European Badger, Chamois and many other animals.

The route runs near natural springs, where there is a picnic area, restrooms, a tourist shelter that can accommodate 8 people and a designated fire pit.

On the second day of the tour, the trail runs along untouched beech groves, where visitors can also use springs and picnic spots that are located nearby. The route can be used for scientific observations of both flora and fauna, as the section has forests that are not allowed to be touched or altered in any way.

The flora of Mtirala is rich and diverse. In the territory of the National Park are widespread both, the forest vegetation represented by chestnut groves, beech groves and the mixed forest of Colchis type and evergreen shrubbery of Pontic rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum) characteristic for Kolkheti. Beech, lime, chestnut, alder and hornbeam can be found in the forest of Colchis type. The underbrush is covered with shrubbery of Pontic rhododendron, Cherry laurel (Laurocerasus officinalis), the Black Sea holly (Ilex colchica), Colchis box tree (Buxus colchica)several kinds of lianas.

Rare, endemic and Georgia’s Red List species to Achara-Lazeti such as Teaberry-likearbutus (Epigaea gaultheroides), Primrose (Primula megasaefolia) and Medvedev’s birch (Betula medwedewii) are widespread in the territory of Mtirala National Park.

The fauna of Mtirala is rich as well. Among amphibians Caucasian salamander, Banded newt, Caucasian toad, Common tree frog, Long-legged frog and Eurasian marsh frog can be found here.

Three species of lizard and several species of snakes, such as Grass Snake and Dice Snake, and Caucasian Viper inhabit here.

The Ornithofauna of the National Park is quite rich in birds of prey. Here are registered Booted Eagle (Hieraaetus pennantus), Common Buzzard(Buteo buteo), Goshawk(Accipiter gentilis), Sparrowhawk(Accipiter nisus),Eurasian hobby(Falco subbuteo),Common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), as well as the nocturnal birds of prey, such as Eurasian eagle owl (Bubo bubo) and Common scops owl (Otus scops). Among the other birds here nest hoopoe, woodpecker, raven, Blackbird, and Golden oriole.

Among small mammals the following inhabit the National Park: badger, weasel, Caucasian (Persian) squirrel, hare, Red fox, mole and wild cat. Among large mammals the Brown bear inhabit the Park. Lynx and wolf can be found here as well. Among ungulates the Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus)can be found in the forests and rarely – the Wild boar (Sus scrofa).

Ruins of fortresses and bridges of the Early and Late Middle Ages are found in the surroundings of Mount Mtirala (or Tsiskara). The most important monuments of those periods are the 13th century Skhalta church of hall type, Khikhani, Gonio and Petra castles. Territories near the Mtirala National Park, in Didi Achara, Dandaloand Maradidi still keep mosques – cult buildings of Moslem Georgians. The villages nearby Mtirala Park keep unique samples of ancient national wooden houses. Archeological excavations discovered even the oldest – the pre-Christian monuments. The ruins of iron mines and Colchis settlements of 3rd-2nd centuries B.C. have been investigated. And In the territory of Gonio castle, which in ancient Greek and Roman annals is known as Apsarunti, the hippodrome, store buildings and houses of the 2nd century B.C. were excavated.

The National Park has huge potential for development of bird-watching and ecotourism. Development of ethnographical tourism is possible in the nearby mountain villages as well.

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