Georgia and its bees

 

ITINERARY

Day 1

Arrival- Tbilisi

Day 2

Tbilisi

Day 3

Tbilisi - Mtskheta - Gori - Uplistsikhe - Kotaisi

Day 4

Kutaisi - Lechkhumi - Kutaisi

Day 5

Kutaisi - Zugdidi - Mestia

Day 6

Mestia - Ushguli - Mestia

Day 7 

Mestia - Batumi

Day 8

Batumi - Khulo - Goderdzi Pass - Akhaltsikhe

Day 9

Akhaltsikhe - Aspindza - Vardzia

Day 10

Vardzia - Poka - Paravani Lake- Tsalka - Tbilisi

Day 11

Tbilisi - Alaverdi - Gremi - Telavi - Tsinandali - Tbilisi

Day 12

Tbilisi - Departure

Day 1
Arrival- Tbilisi

Arrive in Tbilisi, meeting at the airport and transfer to the hotel.

Overnight in Tbilisi.

Day 2
Visit the capital of Georgia et meeting with the association of beekeepers

Discover the capital of Georgia – Tbilisi, explore its old district with paved streets and traditional houses with wooden balconies, at the bank of Mtkvari river. We visit the landmarks of the city: Metekhi church and its plateau which unfolds a superb view of the old city, Narikala Fortress - the ancient symbol of the city, the district of baths (Abanotubani) known for its Sulphur hot springs. 

Meeting with the association of Georgian beekeepers, discussion about beekeeping in Georgia and sharing of experiences.

In the afternoon we visit the National Museum and its collections of “golden treasure” from the ancient period. At the end of our day we visit Dry Bridge - place which attracts visitors with its flea market, here you can find everything with a minimum price: furniture, crockery, medals, caps of the Soviet army, antiques and paintings.

Walking hours: around 3h.
Overnight in Tbilisi.

Day 3
At the historical footsteps from Tbilisi to Kutaisi, the second city of Georgia

Departure for Mtskheta – an old capital of Iberia kingdom, visit Jvari (Cross) monastery perched on a hill and overlooking the confluence of the Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers. Visit Svetitskhoveli Cathedral ("Life-giving column") dated back to the 11tcentury. Shopping of Georgian national handmade souvenirs. Possibility of buying national handcrafted souvenirs.

Departure for Gori – soviet city and the central part of Georgia, the hometown of J. Stalin. Visit to a local beekeeper in a village near Gori, tasting of his honey and other products.

Then we discover an abandoned rock-hewn town Uplistsikhe (about 1h30), dug into the rocks dates back to the 2nd century, is overlooking to the river Mtkvari.

Continue to Kutaisi, capital of the Imereti Region, the second largest city in Georgia. Formerly the homeland of the kingdom of Colchis, according to the poem of Apollonius Rhodes, Jason and the Argonauts went there to capture the Golden Fleece.
 

Transfer: Private vehicle, around 4h35, 275 km.
Walking hours: 3h.
Overnight in Kutaisi.

Day 4
Beekeeping in the mountains

Departure to the mountain region Lechkhumi in the north-west of Georgia. The region is distinguished with its ancient culture and picturesque nature. Visit local family of the neighborhood cooperative who take care of beekeeping in a village perched in the mountains, the bees of the Lechkhumi region are cultivated from chestnut and lime trees and the flowers from the mountain of Khvamli, tasting their honey, sharing experience.

Return to Kutaisi, visit UNESCO sites: Gelati monastery, which is the illustration of the Georgian culture since X C until the XVIII C, the masterpiece of the Golden Age of medieval Georgia, the center of science and education during that period. After we visit recently renovated Bagrati cathedral – the symbol of the city, dated back to the X century. Visit very colorful local market.

Transfer: Private vehicle, around 3h15, 155 km.
Walking hours: 1h.
Overnight in Kutaisi.

Day 5
Discover mountain region Svaneti

In the morning departure to Zugdidi. Visit Dadiani Palaces to see the exhibition of Georgian cultural heritage connected to the emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte, Tagiloni treasure materials and the memorial relics of Dadiani dynasty.

In Zugdidi, visit beekeeper’s family and/or meet the association of local beekeepers

Continue to Mestia, Svaneti, mountain region. Svaneti is one of significant areas of the myth of Argonauts, here used to get the gold with lamb leather. Situated on the southern slopes of the central Greater Caucasus, surrounded by 3,000–5,000 meter peaks.

Transfer: Private vehicle, around 5h, 240 km.
Overnight in Mestia.

Day 6
The highest village in Georgia

Difficult road goes to the Upper Svaneti - Ushguli, one of the two highest villages in Europe and recognized by UNESCO, with very authentic Svanetian towers. The village is located at the foot of Shkhara Glacier (5068 m.). Visit the village on foot. 

Meeting with the local Svan beekeeper. The Svan bees are greyish in color, this is an endemic Caucasian race, tasting their honey.

Return back to Mestia.

Transfer: Private vehicle 4x4, around 4h, 90 km.
Walking hours: 2-3h.
Overnight in Mestia.

Day 7
Discover Black Sea coast

Visit Mestia on foot, then we visit the Ethnographical museum of Mestia with its extraordinary treasure.

Meeting local beekeeper near Mestia, discussions about making honey, degustation.

Departure to Batumi - the seaside modern city on the Black Sea coast, with attractive European and Asian architecture, churches, cobbled streets, active night and day life, especially during the summer. 

Transfer: Private vehicle, around 5h30, 270 km.
Walking hours: 2 h.
Overnight in Batumi.

Day 8
Crossing the Adjarian mountains

In the morning departure to Akhaltsikhe.

The serpentine road leads us to the Adjarian mountains via Goderdzi pass (2000 m.) to reach the seaside resort Beshumi and the Adjarian village located at 1850-1900m. above sea level. Then the road descends into the field. We stop here to admire authentic nature, take photos, relax, swim if the weather allows us. Then we go to the beekeeper of Adjarian mountain, near the village Keda, known for his own method of producing honey. In the villages you can still find the old hives called "djara". Tasting of Adjarian honey, culinary master class of local cuisine with beekeepers.

Transfer: Private vehicle, around 5h, 170 km.
Walking hours: 2 h.
Overnight in Akhaltsikhe.

Day 9
Georgian honey - older than Tutankhamu’s

This day includes visiting the village where archaeologists discovered the ancient utensils with honey from the 3rd millennium BC, 20 centuries older than the honey was discovered in the tomb of Tutanhamon (1347-1337 BC).

Departure for Vardzia Cave Town, located at the left bank of Mtkvari river. The monastery complex caved in a rock, is XII-XIII CC Georgian picturesque monument, high mountains and rock cliffs, special kind of architecture. We visit this site which still requires a good physical shape - the multi-storey caves are connected by narrow tunnels, carved into the rocks.

Arrival in Vardzia, meeting to a farmer who has his hives of honey for a family production.

Transfer: Private vehicle, around 2h10, 115 km.
Walking hours: 2 h.
Overnight in Vardzia.

Day 10
Alpine landscapes and the monastery honey

Return back to Tbilisi via Tsalka, on the way visit Poka monastery located on the edge of the alpine lake Paravani. Meeting with the nuns who produce honey for the monastery. Tasting of their honey and cheese.

Arrive in Tbilisi.

Transfer: Private vehicle, around 5h, 240 km.
Walking hours: 1 h.
Overnight in Tbilisi.

Day 11
Discover the East part of the country

We depart to discover one of the most beautiful sites of Kakheti region, the East part of the country.

The first step allows us to discover the 11th century Alaverdi Cathedral which is erected in the middle of Alazani Valley, surrounded by the natural circus created here by the Greater Caucasus.

We continue our trip to the local house with an old wine cellar, where the locals show us their traditional methods of winemaking, very different from European practice. Degustation of wine.

Then we visit a local honey house, discover the technology of making Georgian honey and taste their products. Opportunity to participate in farm activities, depending on availability and season.

Visit the fortress of Gremi with a small museum and the Church of the Archangels, decorated with the frescoes of the XVIth century. Residence of King Levan, capital of Kakheti for 150 years in the XVIth and XVIIth centuries.

We visit Tsinandali - palace and historic winery-estate which once belonged to the 19th-century aristocratic poet Alexander Chavchavadze, the palace combines Georgian architecture with Italian inspiration.

Return in Tbilisi.

Transfer: Private vehicle, around 5h, 280 km.
Walking hours: 1 h.
Overnight in Tbilisi.

Day 12
Tbilisi - Departure

Transfer to the airport, departure.

....