Here it comes the continuation of my travel story for yesterday.(Click here to read previous post). Morning came, I woke up around 7:00 am in the morning prepared myself and took breakfast , then I just stayed in the lobby. This time our pick up will be at 9:00am, we started a bit early as our itinerary for the day is quite long, we need to travel 3 hours from Old Tbilisi town up to Gudauri mountain if without stopover, but along the way we have some stopover on significant historical point.
Our first stop was the Jinvali Lake. It has the most spectacular panoramic views. Every visitor and passers by on the way to Gudauri Ski Resort was mesmerized with this breathtaking view. The color layers of the mountain, the greenish blue water and the white crest of the mount at the back was so amazing.
Everyone was busy taking photo and group. After 15 minutes we left the place and continue the trip.
(Photo was taken in Jinvali Lake)
Our next stop was in a beautiful Ananuri Fortress. Ananuri is a castle complex on the Aragvi River in Georgia about 45 miles (72 kilometres) from Tbilisi. It offers gorgeous overlooking of the surrounding velvety green mountain.
Ananuri (history) was a castle and seat of the eristavis (Dukes) of Aragvi, a feudal dynasty which ruled the area from the 13th century. The castle was the scene of numerous battles.
In 1739, Ananuri was attacked by forces from a rival duchy, commanded by Shanshe of Ksani and was set on fire. The Aragvi clan was massacred. However, four years later, the local peasants revolted against rule by the Shamshe, killing the usurpers and inviting King Teimuraz II to rule directly over them. However, in 1746, King Teimuraz was forced to suppress another peasant uprising, with the help of King Erekle II of Kakheti. The fortress remained in use until the beginning of the 19th century. In 2007, the complex has been on the tentative list for inclusion into the UNESCO World Heritage Site program.
The fortifications consist of two castles joined by a crenellated curtain wall. The upper fortification with a large square tower, known as Sheupovari, is well preserved and is the location of the last defense of the Aragvi against the Shamshe. The lower fortification, with a round tower, is mostly in ruins.
Within the complex, amongst other buildings, are two churches. The older Church of the Virgin, which abuts a tall square tower, has the graves of some of the Dukes of Aragvi. It dates from the first half of the 17th century, and was built of brick. The interior is no longer decorated, but of interest is a stone baldaquin erected by the widow of the Duke Edishera, who died in 1674.
The larger Church of the Mother of God(Ghvtismshobeli), built in 1689 for the son of Duke Bardzem. It is a central dome style structure with richly decorated façades, including a carved north entrance and a carved grapevine cross on the south façade. It also contains the remains of a number of frescoes, most of which were destroyed by the fire in the 18th century. (Credit on Wikipedia)
Our tour guide told us that if we need gloves or bonnet we can buy from this stopover.(Ananuri Shops)
If you are incomplete with your winter gear inside your backpack, there’s no worry you can buy on this stop. There are variety of shops for winter outfit, gloves, hat or bonnet. You can also find some souvenir items such as wine, keychain, magnet, display items. Some food and drinks are also available here.
When you wander around you would find a small church inside. There was a small path going down on the side slope where the entrance of the church was located. On this area, you can take a lot of photos in different angle with fascinating views.
Check out my photos below 🙂
Panoramic view in Ananuri Church
I was standing in front of the church entrance on my left side.
My photo inside the church.
There was a pictorial spot where you can rent an outfit (like what I was wearing in my next photo below) rode with this horse.
I rented the outfit with the horse and it only cost 6 lari. By the way, I look so big on my outfit because it was 3 layered, I was scared to get frozen. (Don’t laugh at me…hahahaha)
When you are already near to the mountaintop, this scenario will unveil to you along the way, there are portion of ice already melted from the mountain flowing down. According to the tour guide, the snowpack in Gudauri mountain can be enjoyed for different winter activities until third week of March then it completely dissipates.
This photo was taken when we stopped over in one honey shop. According to them, the Georgian honey is famous because it comes from honeybees in the mountain, fresh, pure and with pleasant aroma (The honey stand is opposite of the road I’m facing)
Some portion are land and some are ice because of some melting part.
We were almost at the top when I captured this photo.
We took lunch in this local restaurant before we got to the incredible Gudauri Ski Resort. This is only 10 minutes distance from the ski resort.
These are some hotels near the ski resort.
Coffee shop and restaurants in the ski resort.
Finally, we arrived. 🙂 There are so many activities available that you can enjoyed here such as (skiing, paragliding, motorbike and cable car)
We rode the cable car going to the highest point, all surrounded by snow. Whichever direction I would gaze upon all the surface is covered by light flakes, all I see was white. Mountain of snow.
There are snowflakes falling all over me. (I asked myself if I was just dreaming, my conscious mind said “No” it is real I was in the snow mountain,… during that time I wished my family was with me having the same experience in that moment . Anyway, I know that someday soon we will travel spending holiday together).
We used that cable car going up and down the mountain surface.
Chill’n & Freezin’ still posing.hehehehe
Around 4:20 pm we already went back down by cable car as it will close and stop working at 5pm. And another thing our tour guide briefed us earlier to not stay long on the top because at 5:15pm the latest before it gets dark we have to travel back to the City for our safety on the road.
I spotted some houses going down.
Historical Metekhi District, Kura Temple Abo with his mosaic icon at night.
(Old Tbilisi at night)
We reached the City already dark around 9pm. Again they dropped us one by one to each hotel.
My trip in Tbilisi Georgia is one of the unforgettable memories that I will treasure especially in Gudauri Snow Mountain. It was a surreal experience for me, as this was the first time I saw a real snow mountain and snowflakes falling down on my shoulder. This was an extremely new experience for someone who came from a tropical country who have only two seasons, wet and dry.
The warm-hearted people, the stunning countryside, Tbilisi’s nightlife, the Georgian Cuisine, the wine fresh from their vineyard, it’s a mix of everything ..These are some of the reasons why I got interest to come back again someday.
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Thank you for reading. Till my next blog.