Tetritskaro is a district near Tbilisi abundant in cultural heritage sites and short hiking routes and bike trips near Tbilisi. Birtvisi, Gudarekhi, Pitareti are just few examples of tourist routes in this district. One of the most spectacular site of Tetritskaro is ruins of Samshvilde city at the edge (cape) of Khrami canyon 7 km from the town, consisting a citadel, churches, caves, menhirs, dwellings and some other archaeological or medieval buildings. You can read more about Samshvilde at Samshvilde Archeological expedition website and watch their prepared video.

Entering Tetritskaro district from Tbilisi you can start exploring the area with present day Asureti, previously Elisabethal, where you can find old German cemetery, Lutheran church built in 1871 and 3-story unique German wine cellar and vineyards  and many houses with remaining German style (Fachwerkhaus). German heritage sites in Georgia were established by Shwabians, who escaped religious conflicts in Germany during times of Emperor Alexander I (1815-1818). One of those colonies, Elisabethal, nowdays Asureti, had strong agriculture and organization, their Lutheran pastor, head of the village Schulz, alley -lustgarden. Local Germans created water sewage system and the first Hydro power station for the village. Evgeni Reitenbach, who died in 1938 in Asureti, was the main winemaker for the Asureti wine cellar which produced 5,000 tons of wine.

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Asureti German Cemetery

Interesting hike could be done directly from Tetritskaro town to Gudarekhi Monastery XII-XIII cent. The complex consists of a ruined palace, living premises, a wine cellar, a pilastered building, and several other structures which date from the 12th-13th and 16th-17th centuries. The monastery and its marvelous bell tower (erected during the reign of Demetre II of Georgia in 1278) is in the woods so the last 3km from the Gudarekhi village to the Monastery should be the most enjoyable walk in the colorful spring/autumn seasons. On the road to the Monastery there are caves where soviet resistance hero Kakutsa Cholokavshvili was hiding. Please note that if you are traveling from Tbilisi you would prefer to get to the Monastery from Amlevi/Abrameti side if bridge damaged by floods in 2015 June is repaired.

Gudarekhi Bell Tower by L.Gabelia

Gudarekhi Bell Tower by L.Gabelia

Another significant historical monument of Tetritskaro district is Manglisi Cathedral (6-7th centuries). Near the cathedral you will find small artificial lake: Buratino Lake, also Arsena caves with nice field nearby, fantastic location for picnic and camping. Algeti National park routes start in Manglisi and the area is very beautiful in colorful seasons due to its mixed forests.

Manglisi Cathedral

Manglisi Cathedral

My favorite destination in Tetritskaro district is village Bediani and its orphanage. Located in the narrow and forested gorge of Khrami river, till 1990s like many settlements in Kvemo Kartli the village was home to Greek population. With a help of foreign organizations Bediani children center near the Bediani Convent was established and houses were built/bought for children. Foreign volunteers/visitors often visit/support the orphanage which provides unique corner for spiritual relaxation. Help the orphanage, play football or some other games, swim in the river, meet minions at Bediani school, enjoy life at this wonderful place. If you are interested to visit Bediani you can contact Zviad Khapava who is running the orphanage through Bediani fb page.

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