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Pictures of our trip through Georgia – Part 2
- Part 2a: From June 24 to July 2, 2013 Azerbaijan Border - Tbilisi - Armenia Border
- Part 2b: From July 22 to 31, 2013 Armenia Border - Ninotsminda - Tbilisi - Mtskheta - Kazbegi - Kutaisi - Zugdidi
Armenia Part 2 July 17 to 22, 2013: Nagorno Karabakh - Goris - Tatev - Noravank - Khor Virap - Echmiadzin - Geghard - Gyumri - Georgia
Nagorno-Karabakh July 9 to 17, 2013: Armenia - Stepanakert - Gandzasar - Martakert - Tigranakert - Tnjri - Shoushi - Armenia
Armenia Part 1 July 2 to 9, 2013: Georgia Border - Akhtala - Haghpat - Dilijan - Lake Sevan - Selim - Arates - Nagorno Karabakh
Azerbaijan June 13 to 24, 2013: Georgia Border - Balakən - Şəki - Lahıç - Baku - Xınalıq - Quba - Laza - Baku - Gəncə - Georgia Border
Georgia Part 1 June 4 to 13, 2013: Turkey Border - Ajaria - Tbilisi - Kakheti - Azerbaijan Border
Turkey May 28 to June 4, 2013: Iran Border - Esendere - Hakkari - Van - Doğubayazıt - Kars - Ardahan - Hopa - Georgia Border
Georgia Part 3b – August 13 to 15, 2013 - Abkhazia Border - Poti - Ferry to Ilyichevsk/Ukraine
Abkhazia August 5 to 13, 2013: Georgia - Sukhumi - Tsebelda - Novyy Aton - Lake Ritsa - Gagra - Pitsunda - Georgia
Georgia Part 3a – July 31 to August 5, 2013 - Zugdidi - Swaneti - Zugdidi - Abkhazia Border
Georgia Map
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latest picture: July 30, 2013
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088  Panorama from the Nariqala Fortress
over the city of Tbilisi with its 1.2m people.
It has been the capital of Georgia for over
1’500 years. It extends along both sides
of the Mtkvari River and has a relaxed
089  With a sword in one and a cup of
wine in the other hand a 66ft. tall silvery
woman statue, called Kartlis Deda –
“Mother of Kartli“, reigns over the city.
The wine symbolizes the hospitality of
the Georgians and the sword the
readiness to fight the enemy
090  We make a souvenir photo above
Tbilisi where the first traders and camel
caravans stopped on their long journeys
along the Silk Road from Asia to Europe.
Since mid-2012 an aerial tramway makes
an easy access from Rike Park to the
Nariqala Fortress
091  The Church of St. Nicholas stands
inside the Nariqala fortress walls. After
its destruction together with the fortress in
1827 by an explosion of a Russian munitions
storage (some say it was an earthquake),
it was rebuilt in 1990 .....
092  ..... a beautiful relief decorates
the inner court yard of the church –
looks like a cross stone (khachkar) .....
093  ..... the walls in the interior of the
St. Nicholas Church are covered from
floor to ceiling with brightly
colored frescoes
094  Most of the present walls of the
Nariqala Fortress were built in the
7th and 8th century by Arab emirs, the
Umayyad dynasty, whose palace
was inside the fortress
095  Right through the center of Tbilisi flows
the Mtkvari River that comes as Kura River
from eastern Turkey and continues again as
Kura River to Azerbaijan, where it enters
finally the Caspian Sea. It separates the
historic Old Town from modern Tbilisi
096  View to the Nariqala Fortress from
the 17th century which existence goes back
to the Shuris-tsikhe (= “invidious fort”) in
the 4th century. Behind the bridge is the
scaffolded Armenian Cathedral St. George
097  Behind the baths sits Tbilisi's only
mosque, a Sunny, built in 1895. The Shiite’s
one was destroyed in 1950 due to the
construction of the Metekhi bridge. Very
unusually, Shiite and Sunni Muslims
pray now together there
098  On Elia Hill high above Tbilisi rises
the “Tsminda Sameba Cathedral” (Holy
Trinity Cathedral), built between 1995
and 2004. Its golden dome is 346 ft. high.
It is the biggest symbol of Georgia's
post-Soviet religious revival .....
099  ..... in the central aisle a
Georgian Orthodox Priest takes
the vows of a wedding couple
100  The free standing bell-tower of
the “Tsminda Sameba Cathedral” is
an attraction in itself
101  At the construction of the
“Tsminda Sameba Cathedral” traditional
Georgian architectural forms in concrete,
brick, granite and marble were used .....
102  ..... the five aisles are open
and rise vertically to the 276 ft. high
central dome what gives a feeling
of space and brightness
103  The Freedom Monument
(St. George Statue) – built 2006 –
on Freedom Square is dedicated
to Georgia’s independence
104  Church towers rise everywhere
from Tbilisi's rooftops. In front the “Tbilisi
Sioni Cathedral“ with its bright dome; just to
the right its three-story bell-tower; exactly
behind it the “Norashen Armenia Church“
with a dark dome; in the far back the
“Jvaris Mama Church“; and on the left
side the “St. George Cathedral“
105  One of the still existing and inhabited
ugly buildings from the Soviet era at the
northern outskirts of Tbilisi (Vashlijvari
Settlement). The rendering is fading
away everywhere
106  In a restaurant along the Mtkvari
River at the Akaki Beliashvili Street in
northern Tbilisi a brewery is integrated
107  7/2/2013: En route to Sadakhlo
and Bagratashen, the border villages of
Georgia and Armenia, it gets rural:
On a field, carrots are harvested
and packed into big bags .....
108  ..... and shortly before the border
sunflowers are blooming, almost as
far as the eye can see
On July 2nd, 2013, we end after 8 days our second visit of Georgia – mainly Tbilisi –
and explore our 175th country Armenia for the first time. We return after 12 days in Armenia and 8 days in
Nagorno Karabakh from Armenia’s the 2nd part on July 22nd, to our 3rd visit of Georgia
109  7/22/2013: Coming from Armenia,
shortly after the Georgian border post at
Ninotsminda, the rural, nostalgic charm is
greeting us again
110  In the little village of Zhdanovi along
“Mada” Lake we spot a stork’s nest high
on a pole and stop below .....
111  ..... who is more curious? The ones
looking up, or the ones looking down?
112  Shortly after Ninotsminda we take a
right turn to a renewed road leading to Tbilisi
and find an idyllic night spot at the small
"Saghamo" lake, the first one of three
lakes in a row .....
113  ..... a herdsman guides his cattle
down to the water, then it gets quiet
114  Morning mist still hangs over the
village of Tambovka across lake "Paravani"
between Ninotsminda and Tbilisi
115  Bees are attracted by the strong
pink of a blooming “musk or nodding thistle”
(Carduus nutans)
116  Funny white "cups" grow on the
roadside out of thin branches .....
117  ..... detail of the funny "cups"
118  A typical Georgian rural village:
Paravani along the same-named lake,
located between Ninotsminda and Tbilisi
119  Rain made mushrooms sprout. Egg
mushroom are sold in baskets along the road.
It is tempting, but we do not trust them
120  The new road from Tsalka via
Marneuli to Tbilisi runs through
a lovely forested area
121  At the clock tower in Tbilisi's Old
Quarter each hour a golden door opens
on the upper balcony. An angel appears
and marks with 12 strokes of the gong
the full hour .....
122  ..... the clock tower itself looks like
something out of a fairy tale – leaning and
cobbled together, built 2011 by Rezo
Gabriadze. In the back a puppet theater is
“concealed”. Beatriz and Tomas from Spain
pose for a picture together with Liliana
123  Below the clock another screen
opens after the stroke of the gong. The
puppets that appear show five circles of
life: Boy meets girl; marriage; childbirth;
old age and funeral
124  After a couple of emails it worked
out: In Tbilisi we meet Beatriz and Tomas
from Spain with their 3-years young
LandCruiser. Their 8-months journey through
Central Asia will soon come to an end .....
125  ..... together we enjoy at the Meidan
Square in Dzveli district the Georgian dish
"Khachapuri" – a cheese pie that comes in
different variations
126  Liliana enjoys the view from the
Hotel Tamarindi in Mtskheta, about
12 miles north of Tbilisi, of the Svetitskhoveli
Cathedral in the old city. It was the most
important church in Georgia until the
construction of the “Tsminda Sameba
Cathedral” in Tbilisi (pict. #98+101)
127  The “Svetitskhoveli Cathedral” of
Mtskheta dates from the 11th century. Some
say that the original church was built on the
site of a former Zoroastrian temple and thus
marks Georgia's conversion to Christianity,
others that St. Nino chose the place in the
4th century at the confluence of the rivers
Mtkvari (Kura) and Aragvi
In the interior of the “Svetitskhoveli Cathedral” the walls show some beautiful
and extraordinary frescoes. The cathedral is a UNESCO world heritage site
128  Access to the main altar
129  These frescoes show the zodiac
sign (circle) as well as the “Beast of the
Apocalypse” (middle left) what is
rather unusual in a Christian church
130  On the Georgian Military Highway
to Kazbegi Liliana enjoys the turquoise
Zhinvali Reservoir. The border to Russia
– now open since June 2012 also to
international tourists – is only about
10 miles from Kazbegi
131  A small break along the touristy
Georgian Military Highway and the Aragvi
river. We encounter people from Germany,
France, Armenia, Ukraine with cars, motor-
bikes and bicycles, but mostly Russians
 from home or back home
132  The Zhinvali Reservoir is surrounded
by a beautiful forested landscape. The
biggest part of Tbilisi’s drinking water
is caught here and channeled in a
18 ft. Ø tunnel to the city
133  The Ananuri Fortress dating from
the 17th century, 41 miles north of Tbilisi,
enchants by its classic Georgian architecture
and its beautiful location. It made it to the
front cover of the 4th edition of the
Lonely Planet Guidebook of June 2012
134  The Church of the Assumption
within the Ananuri Fortress has a
wonderfully carved grapevine
cross on its south side .....
135  ..... and in the churches interior
fine icons at the altar
136  A ruin of an old chapel stands a bit
lost on the shore of the Zhinvali Reservoir
below the Ananuri Fortress
137  A remembrance picture with Emil at
the small "pavilion" at the shore of the Zhin-
vali Reservoir below the Ananuri Fortress
138  Who does not yet have a warm beanie,
can buy one along the Georgian Military
Highway leading to Kazbegi and Russia
The Georgian Military Highway leads us through diverse and beautiful mountain scenery
139  The ruin of a fortress that sticks out
of the forest green – about 5 miles before
the switchback ascent to Gudauri
140  A place for a future holiday house?
An open little plateau with a couple of
trees, caught by the sun
141  A lovely valley at Kvesheti with
the tiny church of Sepe and a few
houses along the river
142  The ski resort of Gudauri is located at
the heart of the Caucasus with 10 miles of
slopes of different difficulty grades and a
chairlift rising from 6'530 ft. to 10’730 ft.
Skiing season is from December to mid-April
143  A little church near Gudauri
impresses by its setting against the
backdrop of a towering mountain slope
144  Morning mist sails along the mountain
peaks above Gudauri when we crawl early
morning out of our LandCruiser at the
parking of the ski lift station. We are at
an altitude of 7’220 ft.
145  Around Kazbegi the Caucasus offers
wild high mountain scenery: Below the
Aragvi river, and behind the mountains
in direction southwest lies the breakaway
province of South Ossetia
146  The Georgian Military Highway
offers a diversified mountain drive through
all kind of terrain – here the ascent by
switchbacks to Gudauri
147  The view of the upper northerly
Aragvi valley
148  Colorful motifs decorate the viewing
platform, called Soviet-Georgian Friendship-
Monument, nearly on the top of the Jvari-,
Cross- or Dzhvris Ughelt-Pass. Like the
names of this crossing differ, the indication
of its height vary too: 7'858 ft.; 7'805 ft.
or even 9'695 ft.
149  Across the Aragvi River small
settlements with neat houses and gardens
are greeting. Thanks to the Georgian
Military Highway people are not totally
cut off from the rest of the world
150  A lovely animal roundabout in
Kutaisi, Georgia's second largest city
(200’000 people) after Tbilisi. It is
situated halfway to the
Black Sea in the west
151  Four miles from Kutaisi within lush
green hills sits the little Motsameta
Monastery on an impressive
promontory .....
152  ..... it offers a spectacular view to
a bend of the Tskhaltsitela River, which is
surrounded by a jungle-like vegetation
153  The Motsameta Monastery is a jewel
of an old dignified monastery where bearded
monks in black robes glide along the garden
path and where monastery life can be
Every inch of the Motsameta Monastery is covered with beautiful frescoes.
Because in 1923 a fire destroyed everything, they had to be completely restored
157  The region around Kutaisi is blessed
with many churches. Here the Bagrati
Cathedral in Kutaisi itself – a UNESCO
World Heritage Site – called also
“Cathedral of the Dormition”
158  6 miles northeast of Kutaisi the
towers of the rather commercialized
Gelati Monastery complex rise from a
wooded hillside. It’s another UNESCO
World Heritage Site .....
159  ..... it contains the "Cathedral of
the Virgin", the smaller "Church of
St. Nicholas" and the Academy, where
philosophy, theology, sciences and
painting were studied
The churches contain a whole range of wonderful frescoes, painted between the 12th and 18th century
163  Residence of His Holiness and
Beatitude, Catholicos Patriarch of All
Georgia, Ilia II, also Archbishop of
Mtskheta-Tbilisi near Zugdidi at Munchia,
2½ miles northwest of Khobi (between
Senaki and Zugdidi in the west of Georgia)
164  The pomegranate (Punica
granatum) grows also in the Caucasus.
At first the fruit is green and then
changes into orange-red
165  In Zugdidi (80’000 people),
the border town to Abkhazia and starting
point to the "Svaneti high mountain" region,
the setting sun puts the sky in flame
The "Greater"-Middle East trip 2012/13:
Sharjah/Dubai/1st Traveler's Festival/Emirates National Auto Museum - UAE with car Nov. 2012 to Jan. 2013 - part 1
Western UAE - Liwa - United Arab Emirates  with car in January 2013 - part 2
Oman 2013 - Part 1 - February 2013: Musandam Peninsula
Oman 2013 - Part 2 - February 2013: Sohar - Muscat - Rustaq - Nizwa
Oman 2013 - Part 3 - March 2013: Sur - East Coast - Island of Masirah - Dhofar
Oman 2013 - Part 4 - March 2013: Salalah & Surroundings (Dhofar) - Nizwa
Oman 2013 - Part 5 - March 2013: Western Hajar Mountains
Al Ain, Eastcoast & Ras al Khaima - United Arab Emirates with our car in April 2013 - part 3
Iran - Ppart 1: Ferry Port Bandar Abbas-Shiraz-Persepolis-Pasargad (between Persepolis and Yazd) May 2013
Iran - Part 2: Pasargad (excl.)-Yazd-Esfahan May 2013
Iran - Part 3: Esfahan (excl.)-Chelgerd-Hamadan-Sanandaj-Orumiyeh-Turkey Border May 2013
Turkey: Iran Border-Esendere-Hakkari-Van-Doğubayazıt-Kars-Ardahan-Hopa-Georgia Border May/June 2013
Georgia - Part 1: Turkey Border-Ajaria-Gori-Tbilisi-Kakheti-Azerbaijan Border June 2013
Azerbaijan: Georgia Border-Balakən-Şəki-Lahıç-Baku-Xınalıq-Quba-Laza-Baku-Gəncə-Georgia Border June 2013
Armenia - Part 1: Georgia Border-Haghpat-Dilijan-Sevan-Tatev-Goris-Nagorno Karabakh July 2013
Nagorno-Karabakh: Armenia-Stepanakert-Gandzasar-Martakert-Tigranakert-Tnjri-Shoushi-Armenia July
Armenia - Part 2: Nagorno Karabakh-Goris-Tatev-Noravank-Khor Virap-Echmiadzin-Yerewan-Geghard-Gyumri-Georgia Border July 2013
Georgia - Part 3a: Zugdidi-Swaneti-Zugdidi-Abkhazia Border – July/August 2013
Abkhazia: Georgia-Sukhumi-Tsebelda-Novyy Aton-Lake Ritsa-Gagra-Pitsunda-Georgia August 2013
Georgia - Part 3b: Abkhazia Border-Poti-Ferry to Ilyichevsk/Ukraine – August 2013