KUTAISI
Kutaisi is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and the third-most populous city in Georgia
Kutaisi is one of the oldest Georgian cities and centers of Georgian culture. The most important historical and economic center of Western Georgia, the administrative center of the Imereti region, it is also called the second capital of Georgia. The distance to Tbilisi is 220 km, from Batumi - 150 km. The city was founded on both banks of the violent river Rioni. On the right bank of the river the old historic city is located, and on the left bank modern Kutaisi is located with many new buildings.
The history of Kutaisi is about 3500 years. Kutaisi was one of the first cities of Colchis. Its neighbors were Nokalakevi, Rodopolis and Vani. The Byzantine period is not preserved for posterity in the annals. In 541 war broke out, and Kutaisi was in the thick of it. After the departure of the Byzantines on the Colchis plain, the kingdom of Egrisi was formed. In 737 the Arabs came here. At that time the princes David and Constantine of Argvet were assassinated. Today the relics of the martyrs are kept in the monastery of Motsameta, which is located near Kutaisi in a picturesque gorge. In 808 happened the most important event in the history of the city. King Leon of Abkhazia made it the throne city of the king of Abkhazia, second only to Anakopia. Kutaisi became the capital of a very large kingdom, which continued to expand after that.
In 1003 was built the temple of Bagrat. In 1106 - 1125 king David the Builder, who was born and grew up in Kutaisi, built the Gelati monastery on a hill near the city.
For 300 years the city remained the residence of the kings, then in 1122 the capital was moved to Tbilisi. Famous queen Tamara came here and lived in the palace of Geghut.Throughout history the city lost the status of the capital, then became the capital again. There was a period of the interregnum. It was also visited by Turkish conquerors.
In 1878 in Kutaisi there was a high school where Vladimir Mayakovsky later studied. He studied here until 1906, and managed to witness the 1905 revolution in Kutaisi. During the Soviet period, Kutaisi was an industrial city.
In 2009, urban reconstruction began. Bagrati temple, built in Kutaisi during the reign of Bagrat III, in 1003, as the main cathedral of the united kingdom of Georgia and consecrated in honor of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin was restored. Here was crowned David IV the Builder, glorified by the Georgian Orthodox Church as a saint.
Gelati Monastery of the Virgin near Kutaisi is the most significant medieval monastery in Georgia. Center of church and cultural life, residence of the Catholicos-Patriarch from the 2nd half of the 16th century to 1814.
The monastery was founded by King David IV the Builder in 1106 and became his burial vault. Gelati monastery for a long time was a cultural and educational center of Georgia, there was its own academy. Among the teachers and graduates of the academy were many famous philosophers, scholars of theology, orators and translators of the time.
In the vicinity of Kutaisi is the Sataplia National Park, a truly magical place. The forest, which occupies most of the reserve (about 3.5 square km), hides mysterious caves and fossilized dinosaur footprints.
Kumistavi Cave, also known as Prometheus Cave, is located near the town of Tskaltubo, approximately 20 km from Kutaisi. After the discovery of the cave in 1984, it was almost immediately opened to the public. It is the largest cave in Georgia. Only one-tenth of it is open to tourists. There are underground lakes and rivers inside. A system of colorful underground lighting based on liquid crystal lamps and classical music constantly playing in the cave adds a magical feeling to it all.

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