After sunny and warm Kakhetia we decided to go to the mountains, to Kazbegi. We started from Telavi - Kakhetia's main city. The town is hardly worth visiting. Even main attraction - castle dating from VIII - XVIII AD was closed. Although Telavi is a convenient place for overnight stay.
There are Ikalto academy ruins near Telavi. According to tradition famous Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli studied here.
The place has it's charm but we have to go further to make it to Kazbegi during daylight.
The main place of worship in Kakhetia is Alaverdi cathedral dating from XI century. It is hard to believe, but this ancient masterpiece was the tallest Georgian cathedral until Tsminda Sameba was built in Tbilisi in 2004. Alaverdi's picturesque location at the beginning of Alazan valley with clearly seen mountains at horizon emphasises it's upward design and height.
The cathedral style looks similar to Italian one. Sometimes here in Georgia visitors might have an impression that it's somewhere in Italy.
On our further way to North we rode through Kakhetian range that bounds Alazan valley. It is the first time we rode through part of Greater Caucasus mountains. Passovers are high here, and one can find oneself driving through the cloud.
There is no straight road from Kakheti to Kazbek. All roads are going through Tbilisi. Next to it there is one of the oldest Georgian city Mtskheta.
There are way too many sightseeing places here. Most of the are under UNESCO protection. One of the most interesting is Svetitskhoveli Cathedral. For over a thousand years it was the main Georgian Cathedral. It was a place for kings coronation and the place for their burial.
It looks like former schoolboys celebrated graduation this day. We saw many groups of young dressed in white shirts with marker-made signatures on them. Some behaved themselves sort of expressive and rude. Sometimes it was not comfortable to be near. Remarkable, the despite this youth attended churches and cathedrals.
Though according to beliefs, nobody will touch a tourist here. According to Georgian traditions the guest is right after the family head. So one can feel safe in here.
And here are the mountains...