While thinking about visiting Georgia, you would probably search for the places that are usually visited by all tourists. However, if you are looking for an unusual vacation, then you have to check this article. I am going to tell you about Atskhuri, one of the Georgian off the beaten path villages.
Atskhuri is an authentic village that is located in the municipality of Akhaltsikhe, 900 m above the sea level. In the middle ages, it was one of the main cities in the southern part of Georgia. The name of the village is linked to the water, as it is located on the banks of the river Mtkvari. That is why, even the word ‘Atskuri’ means 'a watery place'.
Atskhuri was one of the oldest cities in Georgia. According to the historical sources, for the first time, it was mentioned in the 11th century. In the 16th century, Atskuri was conquered by the Ottomans. Georgians could return Atskuri only in 1829. In the 19th century, the population of Atskuri dramatically decreased because many of them died during the invasions, and some Georgians migrated to other countries.
One more interesting fact about Atskuri is a legend about Virgin Mary. When the saints were selecting countries to spread Christianity, St. Mary got Georgia. As she could not go there, Virgin Mary gave her icon to Apostle Andrew. After a while, this icon ended up in Atskuri. Many miracles and interesting stories are linked to this famous icon. Locals will be happy to tell you about it. Nowadays, the Virgin Mary Icon of Atskuri is saved in the National Museum.
You can see the ruins of the Cathedral of St. Mary on the territory of Atskuri. Some fragments of the decoration have survived inside, which proves that this cathedral existed even before the 13th century.
Furthermore, a spectacular Atskuri Fortress can be seen from Borjomi-Akhaltsikhe road. This fortress is dates back to the 10th century, and it is located on the cliff. You can visit it through the tunnel and enjoy beautiful views of the village and river. There is also the second fortress, that can be reached by hiking or a horse. It is called Tsriokhi (Sakanape) Fortress, and some people also call it King Tamar’s Fortress. The third fortress is Slesa, that is also one of the must-see places in Atskuri.
While being in Georgia, do not miss the amazing sightseeings of Atskuri, especially, if you are looking for an unusual holiday. It is one of the most interesting Georgian off the beaten path villages. You will definitely enjoy exploring its history, meeting the locals and walking around beautiful nature. You can also try their local food that is very fresh and natural. They are making tasty Churchkhela, honey and different kinds of fruit jams. So, all you can do in Atskuri is to enjoy it.
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