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Georgia 2019 - not only for the stones

Did not work out! I went to Georgia for a week just to relax - to enjoy the beauty of nature combined with civilization and gastronomic delights. There were no plans to mine stones, but it didn’t work out! In a country where there are a lot of stones, it’s very difficult not to get them ... I won’t talk about my whole week-long trip to the natural beauties of Georgia (photos will best tell about it - the work of Minaeva Vera, winner of many Russian photo contests, concurrently my wife ), I will dwell only on the stone theme and some colorful events. The rest is in the photos.

Flew over the Caucasian ridge, checked into a hotel in Tbilisi and went to survey the surroundings. Only the second paragraph of the story - and already cunning... In fact, I had first-hand information where you can dig up Herkimer diamonds, and I was going to do it. He even brought with him a small-sized "iron" for digging. But this "somewhere" turned out to be almost in the very center of Tbilisi and densely built up, despite the slope of the mountain of 60 degrees. The mining program was curtailed, it remained to enjoy everything else.

This place was once mined for Herkimer diamonds...

But then a misfortune befell us: we ran into Georgian hospitality... It turns out that everything they say about the traditions of Georgian feasts and toasts is true. Fortunately, this did not affect us much. Went for dinner at a local eatery. We ordered Georgian cuisine and a glass of homemade wine. They brought a glass. Only the glasses were half-liter mugs full to the brim ... Then at the next table they heard our Russian speech:
- Where are you from?
- From Moscow.
- Wah! I lived there for 12 years! So let's drink for you - our guests!
And rushed ... For friendship! For Russia! For ordinary people! Of course, it was also not without reciprocal toasts. In general, my half liter quickly ran out ... Then they poured me from his glass, then from his jug. In short, in a short time, I persuaded a liter of wine, hurried to leave, otherwise it would never have ended, and in the morning I got up swollen.

Next, we had a tour of Georgia by car with a driver. While driving, I decided to ask questions on the topic.
- Is it true that for a feast three or four liters of wine are drunk per person?
- It's still not enough. A good toastmaster is one who drinks 5 liters of wine for a feast (5-6 hours) and at the same time does not go to the toilet. How about drinking less? After all, at the beginning there are 13-15 obligatory toasts, and only then ...
No, it's easier to collect stones ...

The trip took place along the route Tbilisi (2 days) - Mtskheta - Jvari - Uplistsikhe Rock City - Kutaisi (overnight) - Prometheus Cave - Martvili Canyon - Okatse Canyon - Gudauri (overnight) - Georgian Military Road (Cross Pass) - Zhivan Reservoir and Fortress Anauri - Stepantsminda (Gergeti) - Juta village in the Sno gorge - Tbilisi (2 days).

The photos are arranged in order of following the route. To make it easier to understand what and where is shown in the photo, I give a brief description of the photos from the corresponding places in the order in which they appear.

So let's go!

Tbilisi. "Saakashvili's Pants" is an unfinished exhibition center. Above him is the presidential palace.


Monastery Metekhi. It stands above Kura, invisible in the photo.

Монастырь Метехи

Old city. Tbilisi is a city of contrasts.

Тбилиси. Старый город

Monument to Tamada. Five liters of wine for a feast per person is normal.

Тбилиси. Памятник тамаде

Mtskheta - Svetitskhoveli Cathedral

Jvari monastery at the confluence of Aragva and Kura. Refurbished.

"Where, merging, they make noise,
Hugging like two sisters
Jets of Aragva and Kura,
There was a monastery. Because of the mountain
And now he sees a pedestrian
Collapsed gate pillars
And the towers, and the church vault"


Rock city Uplistsikhe. Some carved inscriptions like "Vasya was here" are dated 1887.

The inscriptions of the ancient people have not been preserved. Part of the ancient city was destroyed by a strong earthquake already in modern times.

Скальный город Уплисцихе

Скальный город Уплисцихе

Кутаиси - река Риони

Cave of Prometheus. Recently opened and equipped. We deliberately lagged behind the group and wandered through the cave alone.

Martvili canyon - fish, boats

Canyon Okatse. Observation deck. High and scary.

Каньон Окаце

Каньон Окаце

On the horizon - North Ossetia. Behind her is Russia.

On the military-Georgian road we rise higher and higher. Overnight in Gudauri - in the mountains. observation decks

Zhinvan reservoir

Жинванское водохранилище

Ananuri Fortress

Military-Georgian road. Cross pass (Narzan source).

We drive ourselves, we drive, and suddenly around the corner a beige-brick sloping slope of the mountain is found, along which water flows. Draperies hang down, there are small grottoes. Unexpectedly... This was not in the program. We stop.

- This is a Narzan spring, - the guide says. And below from the pipe is gaining mineral water. It tastes pretty good and, to my surprise, is naturally carbonated.
- In general, Narzan is in Russia, in Kislovodsk, - the guide continues. But the locals also call this source Narzan, there are no other names.
Now to mineralogy. The waters of the source, rich in carbonates, precipitate carbonates on the surface, layer by layer, forming a specific rock - travertine. Judging by the red veins in it, the water is also rich in iron. I'm climbing the slope. I collect large pieces of travertine for balls and travertine corallite for samples. When collecting samples, not a single natural monument was damaged - I only take pieces that broke off during a local landslide. Let's go further.

We drove not far, we go out to photograph local beauties. In the grass on the slope I find red stones with white inclusions - porphyry. Well, there will be balls made of porphyry ...

After a few hours, we are at the end point of today's route - at the Gergeti monastery, which is on a mountain at the foot of Kazbek.

And here is Kazbek himself


I'm not a big fan of temples, although I've seen enough of them. But this temple impresses me. This is the second temple in the world where I want to be. Some kind of aura... A temple of the 14th century, but a stone altar of the 4th century is immured in it, on which the frescoes are perfectly preserved: a large image of Christ, judging by its appearance, is clearly of Georgian nationality. We leave the temple, next to it is a fence made of reddish slate, and square-shaped recesses are found in it. Obviously from crystals, obviously pyrite. I carefully examine the entire fence - not a single preserved crystal. I remember that at the foot of the temple I saw root outcrops of the same rock. There, too, I find traces of crystals. Careful searches are rewarded by finding a single pyrite crystal in the rock, effectively nestled on the edge of the shale. I break out this piece of rock with my hands. My crystal! There are probably more here. But not to dismantle the rock right at the entrance to the temple ... Maybe there are other exits of a similar rock not so close to the route of the pilgrims? And twenty meters from the temple I find these exits. There are also many nests from crystals. To prick, unfortunately, there is nothing and there is no time. I take three large pieces in the car. Already in the hotel, having borrowed a hammer, I split them. I find crystals, though mostly rotten, semi-decomposed. But a few small preserved crystals in the rock can be taken. Pyrite crystals from a holy place!

Gorge Sno Village Juta. Altitude 2200m.

And again Tbilisi.

At the end of the trip, when we returned to Tbilisi, there was another free day. I read on the Internet that there is a small museum of minerals in the city. We decided to visit. And in vain. The museum is half a room, in the second half they sell jewelry and wine. In this, so to speak, the museum presents samples from all over the USSR. Apparently, this is someone else's Soviet collection donated to the city - there is a photo on the shelf, obviously, of the former owner. The level of most of the samples is such that I would not take myself as a gift ... But that's not the point. Museums can be of different levels, but is it possible to call a collection of stones a museum without lighting and, most importantly, without indicating the places of finds? Didn't even take a picture.

Monument to Mimino (a popular film in the USSR).


The photographs below are also arranged in accordance with the route, which, together with my comments on the upper photographs, I hope will help you understand something from where.

The summary is this: I highly recommend visiting Georgia to everyone who loves nature combined with civilization. Beautiful landscapes, good service, hospitable positive Russian-speaking people, inexpensive prices, excellent cuisine and music - made a trip to Georgia the best tourist vacation of recent years for me. Portugal and Italy were worse.

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