What can be more impressive than a 12th-century city carved in the stone? A castle that looks like it came out of fables and legends? Strange and harsh nature? Pack your bags and head to Samtskhe-Javakheti – it is hard to pronounce but easy to travel.
In order to see all the sights, you need two days.
Head towards western Georgia until you reach Khashuri. There, take the road on the left that leads to Akhaltsikhe. You will pass through Borjomi on your way, so stop and taste the famous mineral water in the two century-old park. In about three hours, the evergreens and trees will vanish and you will drive through a rocky area to reach Akhaltsikhe, a small border town.
Akhaltsikhe (literally – New Castle) – established in the 12th century, became part of the Ottoman Empire for a while until the Russian Empire conquered it during the Russian-Turkish war in the 19th century. You will see the castle right away – but wait, before touring the Rabat Fortress, you may take the road that leads to the 9th century Christian Orthodox Sapara Monastery. That monastery is not the only reason to go to Sapara – the view as well is spectacular!