Kazbegi

Georgians have the ability to choose the location for their churches very well and Tsminda Sameba Church is no exception. This XIVth century church, built at 2.200m and with the imposing Mt Kazbek (5.047m) behind, is just SPECTACULAR and it has become the symbol of the country. It seems that its “inaccessibility” was used to host and protect Mtskheta Treasures in times of danger. In 1.988 Soviets tried to do it more accessible and built a cable-car from Kazbegi (the village) to the church on the top. Locals interpreted this as a kind of “profanation” and they destroyed the cable-car as soon as they could.

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Tsminda Sameba Church was a nice hike. At Kazbegi (1.750m) we took the easiest path and arrived at the top after one hour and a half, sometimes walking through the forests and sometimes following the car track. The church itself was not very interesting but the view over Mt Kazbek, as I said before, is something not to miss.

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Kazbegi is a valley town along the Georgian Military Highway, the ancient passage across the Caucasus towards Russia. From here Russian border is just a few kilometers north. We had arrived here the day before from Tbilissi. The winding road was in bad conditions (locals use summer time to do some public works) and the three hour drive seemed endless to me. Maybe it was because of the hard road trip but I was not very enthusiastic about this town, which looked much more touristy than Mestia. Apart from being the starting point to visit Tsminda Sameba Church, the town offers other nice hikes and walks around but we were running short of time so when we came down from Tsminda we decided to go back to Tbilissi that same day and explore the capital better.

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