Driving distance: 286 km (4hr 55 min)
After breakfast check out and leave Tbilisi. Today we have a long transfer to the West Georgian region of Imereti. Break the way and explore the Kartli region. Take the western highway to the town Gori, prominent as the birthplace of Olympic wrestlers and Soviet dictator of 20th c Joseph Stalin. His house-museum consists of three parts: 19th c memorial brick house, an exhibition building of the mid-Soviet era with a tower, and Stalin’s personal coach with furniture and interior. We have a guided excursion here for about 45 minutes.
After visiting Gori, continue the tour to Uplistsikhe Caves. The site is located 14 km away from Gori and represents the oldest cave complex in Georgia, dating back to the 1st millennium BC. Excursion in Uplistsikhe Caves will take approximately an hour.
Afterward, we drive to the Imereti region via the main highway through Rikoti Pass. Make a couple of stops to see traditional bakeries and pottery production along the way.
Drive to Gelati Monastery and Academy complex. Gelati Monastery is the architectural masterpiece of the “Golden Age” of Georgia. Distinguished for its harmony with its natural setting and a well-thought-out overall planning concept, the complex compounds central cathedral dedicated to the Virgin Mary, St. George and St. Nicolas churches, Bell tower and spring, academy building, medieval observatory, and the tomb of the most prominent king of Georgia – David IV the Builder, the founder this complex in the 12th c. Here you can see the well-preserved mosaic decoration and more than 40 portraits of kings, queens, and high clerics, and the earliest depiction of the seven Ecumenical Councils.
In the evening we arrive in Kutaisi.
*Optional: On the way visit Motsameta monastery surrounded by rocky mountains and Colchis woods. Entrance is free of charge.
Take an easy walk from the central district to the park and Bagrati Cathedral. Built on the hill of the city center, the Cathedral is considered a symbol of Kutaisi.
Overnight in Kutaisi.