Mtskheta and Jvari Monastery
One of the oldest cities- Mtskheta and Jvari Monastery One of the oldest cities of Georgia and its former capital is the pilgrim tours centre. It is located at the confluence of the Mtkvari and Aragvi rivers. Mtskheta was a large fortified city, a significant economical and political centre of the Kingdom of Iberia. In the Svetitskhoveli cathedral Christ’s robe is believed to lie beneath the central nave, under a square pillar decorated with colourful if faded frescoes. The story goes that a Mtskheta Jew, Elioz, was in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus' crucifixion and returned with the robe to Mtskheta. His sister Sidonia took it from him and immediately died in a passion of faith. The robe was buried with her and as years passed, people forgot the exact site. Mtskheta -Mtskheta was the ancient capital of the Eastern Georgian Kingdom from the Third Century BCE to Fifth Century CE. It was also the location where Christianity was proclaimed as the kingdom’s official religion and continues to function as the headquarters of the Georgian Orthodox Church. There everything is full of oldness and it seems every stone has a story. The city and its surroundings are sacred places for natives. This is the place where christianity was declared as the country religion back in the 4th century with the help of saint Nino, who has become one of the most venerated saints of the Georgian Orthodox Church and her attribute, a grapevine cross, is a symbol of Georgian Christianity. According to legend, the city was founded by the ethnarch Mtskhetos. From the end of the IV century BC Mtskheta was the political center of the newly created Kartli (Iberian) kingdom. He is believed to be the person who is the ancestor of the first Georgian people. The city was the capital of Georgia until the 5th century. Can you imagine how many legends and mysteries are buried or saved in this small town? Mtskheta is often mentioned as the second Jerusalem, where there is Svetitskhoveli cathedral - one of the greatest churches in Georgia. The church was erected on the grave of St. Sidonia, in the place where the miraculous myrrh-streaming cedar grew healed people from disease. By the order of King Mirian, it was from this cedar that the wooden structure of the cathedral was constructed and from here it got its name Svetitskhoveli meaning “the life-giving pillar”. In memory of the sacred tree, now in the centre of the cathedral stands the “miraculous pillar”, surrounded by a stone canopy with frescoes and paintings. The architecture of cathedral amazes everyone with its greatness and beauty, it seams as if it holds the entire sky with its walls. It should be remarked that the cathedral is enlisted in the UNESCO world heritage. Outside of the walls of cathedral is old Mtskheta with its paved, little streets, with souvenir shops, dukhans, handmade craft shops and even wine ice cream neighborhood. Heavenly peaceful and far from city noise this small town will dazzle you by its charm and strolling along its streets will become your favorite hobby. It is impossible to leave Mtskheta without visiting Jvari Monastery. Built in the 6th century, this church is located on the unique spot where from splendid view is seen, the confluence of two rivers Aragvi and Mtkvari which if you believe me is one of the must see places in Georgia. Having visited Georgia and not to take a photo at this place is almost impossible. Mtskheta - it is a soul of Georgia which can make anyone in love with it