Dzama gorge, hidden between valleys of Kartli and Borjomi forests, which is a home to around 50 new and old monasteries, represents a sacred place for Georgians. It is also favorite destination for  Jeep Tours as well as for Georgian hikers due to proximity from the capital (120-140km from Tbilisi) and Bateti lake – small lake on the mountain plateau surrounded by mixed forests and beautiful swamp on the southern shore. It’s great destination to feel all colors of the seasons: spring, fall and winter and spring again – like it is in the Korean movie – tranquility, isolation from outside world, purification of your spirit, lake and monasteries, autumn leaves, snowed and frozen lake, fresh colors of spring, like a life cycle…

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colors of fall

Could be somewhat different and adventurous, but if interested and if you are a right person, you can try to live 1 or 2 weeks with monks in the monastery, help them in their agricultural work, farm, follow their strict rules and prayers and discover ancient and conservative Georgian orthodox Christianity, enrich your spiritual world and gain something invaluable, unforgettable experience. 

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Winter Sunrise @ Mzovreti Castle

Dzama gorge can be accessed from small town of Kareli by shared soviet jeeps (taxi) or hitchhiking (somewhere deep in the gorge you may be picked up by big trucks for wood). The best way to access Dzama gorge would be by jeep from Tbilisi. You can just see the gorge by following the main road till Kozipa Monastery which consists of 5 churches. On the road you will see the signs for monasteries and kilometrages. Some of the interesting Monasteries include: Mukhileti, Mzovreti, Karmeli, Abukhalo and Sarkineti but you may find some even more exotic one where they will meet you with warmth and hospitality.  One of the first monasteries which you can see on the way back from the Dzama gorge is Kintsvisi which is more often visited by tourists has beautiful surroundings during times of golden autumn and frescoes of famous Kintvisi angel and Queen Tamar.

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Forests behind Kintsvisi

Bateti Lake is located near village Kodmani 1 hour muddy ascent from the road (turn left at the sign – Tbeti Monastery) It is of landslide origin with 0,02km surface. The best time to visit is during fall colors of October month, It can be frozen  but also very beautiful after fresh snow. It is also possible to camp in summer. Longer and interesting hiking route can be arranged in the gorge starting from Abukhalo monastery crossing the Trialeti range to Gurjareti gorge and  Timotesubani church in Borjomi, alternative start can be to start from Levitana village in Gori and continue through Abukhalo to Gujareti.

Karmeli Monastery, Winter

Karmeli Monastery, Winter

You can see the track for Bateti Lake and waypoints for interesting places in Dzama gorge.

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