Easter in Georgia
This special tour invites you to discover Georgia during Easter, one of the biggest Christian holidays. The trip starting from the first day of Passion Week, the week before Easter, will take you through all the religious or popular rituals traditionally performed in families or churches in Georgia. You will have the chance to visit Georgia’s must-sees related to Christianity in Georgia and special Georgian gastronomy through several culinary workshops and tastings of variety of wines.
Arrival - Tbilisi
The region with the history since the 1st millennium BC till XX C
Early departure for Gori – the central part of Georgia, we discover an abandoned rock-hewn town Uplistsikhe (about 1h30) near Gori, dug into the rocks dates back to the 2nd century, is overlooking to the river Mtkvari.
Continue to Borjomi, remarkable with its natural mineral springs, visit Borjomi park, take taste Borjomi sour water. Visit Green Monastery in Borjomi. Arrival in Vardzia.
Discover the region of fortresses
Departure for Vardzia Cave Town, located in Javakheti region at the left bank of Mtkvari river. The monastery complex caved in a rock, is XII-XIII CC Georgian picturesque monument, high mountains and rock cliffs, special kind of architecture. We visit this site which still requires a good physical shape - the multi-storey caves are connected by narrow tunnels, carved into the rocks.
Departure for Sapara monastery (IX century) near Akhaltsikhe. Then we continued to Gori - the Soviet city, and the hometown of J. Stalin.
Transfer: Private vehicle, around 3h5, 175 km. Walking hours: 2h. Overnight in Gori.
Holy Friday and red eggs for Easter
Today is the Holy Friday, according to the Easter tradition, on this day eggs are dyed red to represent the blood of Christ, with further symbolism being found in the hard shell of the egg symbolizing the sealed Tomb of Christ - the cracking of which symbolized his resurrection from the dead. Traditionally, we exchange colored eggs with loved ones on Easter day, greeting each other with the words "Christ is risen!". We do not eat colored eggs before Easter comes.
In the afternoon we continue our way to Mtskheta – an old capital of Iberia kingdom. Here we have the possibility of attending the Holy Orthodox Mass with the ritual of "Descent from the Cross of Christ" which is performed at Svetitskhoveli Cathedral ("life-giving column"), the place where the robe of Christ is buried. It is a very important day for the believers. You can listen to the chant of „lamentation“ which is the symbol and the commemoration of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. You can easily join this ritual while respecting the meditation, even if you are not a believer.
Visit Svetitskhoveli Cathedral ("Life-giving column") dated back to the 11tcentury. Shopping of Georgian national handmade souvenirs. Possibility of buying national handcrafted souvenirs. During the sunset visit Jvari (Cross) monastery perched on a hill and overlooking the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers.
Arrival in Tbilisi.
Transfer: Private vehicle, around 2h, 110 km. Walking hours: 1h. Overnight in Tbilisi.
Holy Saturday and tradition of baking special cake called "Paska"
Departure to discover one of the most beautiful sites of Kakheti region, the East part of the country.
Short break at Bodbé monastery where St Nino stop of rest during spreading the Christianity in Georgia, this visit allows us to learn the history of the holy evangelizer, very important figure of Georgian religion.
We continue our trip to the small and charming village Sighnaghi, stroll through its cobbled streets and along the wall, admire the splendid panorama of Alazani Valley and the Caucasus.
In Georgia there is a tradition of baking a special cake called "Paska". We arrive in a local family to prepare Easter Paska with locals. Normally we do not eat the cake until the Easter day.
It is possible to attend the midnight Orthodox Easter liturgy. Georgians welcome the Easter together in the churches with the words "Christ is risen". After the holy mass, everyone keeps carefully their burning candles in order to bring them at home. The ritual does not stop at the doors of the Church. Back home, mark the doorway with a cross made with the candle and light an oil lamp or a large candle with the light of the resurrection. Transfer: Private vehicle, around 2h, 110 km. Walking hours: 1h. Overnight in Sighnaghi.
It's Easter today! It’s time to break the red-colored eggs and taste the "Paska" cooked on Saturday.
We visit local family in Kvareli to prepare a very traditional Easter dish "Chakapuli" - the dish widely known and particularly loved by Georgians, the mixture of meat (veal or lamb) and a large quantity of herbs and Mirabelle plum).
Before the dish prepare, the local family presents their traditional method of winemaking, very different from French practice. Then we taste their wine.
We discover other richness of Kakheti by visiting Grémi fortress and Alaverdi cathedral (11th century).
We arrive in the capital and historical city of Kakheti – Telavi.
Transfer: Private vehicle, around 2h30, 150 km. Walking hours: 1h. Overnight in Telavi.
Visit the capital of Georgia
Traditionally on the 1st Monday after Easter we visit cemeteries to commemorate our deceased ancestors. It is possible to participate in this tradition with the locals.
Return back to Tbilisi.
Discover the capital of Georgia – Tbilisi, explore its old district with paved streets and traditional houses with wooden balconies, at the bank of Mtkvari river. We visit the landmarks of the city: Metekhi church and its plateau which unfolds a superb view of the old city, Narikala Fortress - the ancient symbol of the city, the district of baths (Abanotubani) known for its Sulphur hot springs.
Possibility of taking famous sulfur baths of Tbilisi.
Transfer: Private vehicle, around 2h, 95 km. Walking hours: 3h. Overnight in Tbilisi.
Tbilisi - Departure