©istock/Lukas Bischoff
©istock/Lukas Bischoff
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Mtskheta – where the Georgian culture begins

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Mtskheta is one of the oldest cities in Georgia. This small city is located around 20 km away from Tbilisi, and it is the most visited place in Georgia. Mtskheta was the capital of Georgia for 800 years until the 5th century - before Tbilisi. The main reason why the capital was moved to Tbilisi was its strategic location; however, there was another reason which was hidden from people. Mtskheta was very important to Georgians, but it was difficult to protect it from the enemies as it is located in an open area. Therefore, our king decided to move the capital to Tbilisi. This was a strategic decision, as he wanted our enemies to pay attention to Tbilisi, which was much easier to protect thanks to the stable walls around it.

©istock/Vladislav Zolotov
©istock/Vladislav Zolotov

Saint Nino & the history of Christianity

Before the 5th century, Georgians were praying to the idols. The history of Christianity started in Mtskheta City. When Saint Nino came to Georgia, she arrived in Mtskheta. It was a festive day, and people were celebrating their idols. Three main statues were standing on the huge mountain, which can be seen from Jvari Monastery, also located on the Mtskheta territory. St. Nino got very angry, and she started to pray to God: suddenly, all these idols were destroyed. After that, she cured King Mirian’s ill wife Nana and helped many other people.

©istock/svarshik
©istock/svarshik

The miracle that converted the King

Despite her attempts to spread Christianity in the country, King Mirian was very angry with her. He planned to go hunting and then kill St. Nino, all the believers, and even his wife, who had converted to Christianism. During hunting, it all got dark. He was terrified when the sun suddenly disappeared, and he could not even see his own fingers. The King started to pray to his idols, but nothing changed. Then he said: “Please, Saint Nino’s God, help me.” Sun rose again, and everything lightened up. After this miracle, he became a believer as well, and he spread Christianity in entire Georgia.

©istock/svarshik
©istock/svarshik

What to visit nowadays

Nowadays, you can visit the church from the 6th century, and you can enjoy the fantastic views of the two rivers; Mtkvari and Aragvi. From Jvari Monastery, it is possible to see the point where the two rivers meet; they look like hugging each other. Also, in front of this amazing view, you will see the mountain where the remains of the destroyed idols are still standing. In the Mtskheta City, there is one more church, from the 11th century, called Svetitskhoveli, also an important place for all Georgians. You will love this city with its architecture and history. You can buy beautiful souvenirs there, but you should also taste all kinds of Georgian sweets and alcoholic drinks.

Jvari Monastery
Jvari Monastery
Jvari Monastery, Géorgie
Svetitskhoveli Cathedral
Svetitskhoveli Cathedral
Narekvavi-Mtskheta-Railway Station, Mtskheta, Géorgie

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The author

Anano Chikhradze

Anano Chikhradze

I am Anano. I Iove travelling, history and getting to know people from all over the world. I write about Georgia, my country, and I am sure everybody will fall in love with it.

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