On the banks of the River Rioni, wedged between the Caucasian Mountains to the north, the Colchis plains to the west and the highlands to the east, lies the ancient city of Kutaisi.
For millennia, Kutaisi thrived as a city starting from 600 years before Christ, shifting through different kingdoms with varying degrees of importance. From the 11th to 12th centuries and the 15th through 18th centuries, Kutaisi served as the capital of the Kingdom of Georgia and the Imeretian Kingdom, respectively. It is of no surprise the historical treasures that rest in the vicinity of the banks of the Rioni today, standing testament to a beautiful period of Georgia’s history and some of their most prolific rulers.
The centerpiece of Kutaisi’s cultural and architectural showcase is the Bagrati Cathedral which stands overlooking the old town and the hilly surroundings. Constructed a 1,000 years ago by King Bagrat, the cathedral stood as a symbol until its destruction by the Ottomans in 1692. Left in disrepair, the cathedral recently underwent a restoration, though without controversy. Further afield lies the Gelati Monastery, built by King David IV in 1106 AD. Together, the two religious structures stand as the centerpiece of Georgian architecture. Wandering the cobbled streets of Kutaisi is a joy, as the city is still alive as its past. A large bazaars houses hundreds of vendors selling edible goods, with thousands of visitors daily. People gather outside, playing century old games or enjoying a cold drink. Watching the sun set over the river and watching life walk by remains one of the most authentic experiences in Kutaisi, Georgia’s third city but perhaps the one most reminiscent of days of the Silk Roads.
THE SILK ROAD JOURNAL
How We Got Here
Kutaisi is Georgia's third largest city and a central hub for exploring most of the country. We arrived via a bus from Mestia, the upper Svaneti region.
Watching the sun set while on the hilltop that rests the Bagrati Cathedral. Locals and tourists alike share the space, enjoying the view and the history of the city.
Being in awe of the frescoes that adorn the Gelati Monastery. Even though under restoration, the timeless art still delivers an amazing feeling, and is worthy to be one of Georgia's wonders.
Story Coming Soon: Legacy of Stone