A Day Trip to Kazbegi – Pass Through Old Georgian Military Road to Gergeti Trinity Church

Surrounded by the grandeur of towering Caucasus mountains, Kazbegi is a popular travel location in Georgia. While it’s mostly famous for the 14th century Gergeti Trinity Church located like an eagle’s perch high on the mountains of Kazbegi and near Stepantsminda village, there is more to these mountain tops than this historical church.

Filled with rushing streams anywhere you look, villages that lives a lifestyle different from the modern times, and farmers walking around with herds of sheep, the road trip to Kazbegi is a gateway into history and old traditions that are still alive.

Two of the highlights of a Kazbegi tour includes riding across the Georgian Military Highway with beautiful sceneries and the strategically placed ancient Ananuri Fortress that stands as a witness to many invasions and enemies. So while you make your way to Gergeti church, make sure to make a stop in these places and make the best of these activities in Kazbegi.

A Drive to the Russian Border

The Georgian Military Highway through the mountains in Georgia Photo Credit: Getty Images
The Georgian Military Highway through the mountains in Georgia Photo Credit: Getty Images

The drive to Kazbegi from Tbilisi is a 2-hour trip by private car through scenic routes and gorgeous mountains. What’s more, the road to Kazbegi is passed through the country’s Georgian Military Highway, which is an ancient route carved through the Caucasus mountains from Georgia to Russia before 1st century BCE.

It wasn’t until the 1780s that the route was converted into a proper passing road. Today this Transcaucasian highway is still used for connecting Georgia to Russia across the Caucasus mountains and Kazbegi sits between the path. Depending on the season, the scenic views change with endless green mountains in the summer while gorgeous snow peaked and white covered roads welcome winters.

The mountains covered in snow as scene from inside a car of a traveler Photo Credit: At World's Origins
The mountains covered in snow as scene from inside a car of a traveler Photo Credit: At World’s Origins

Though the green scenery is also beautiful in its own way, it’s the white capped mountains and snow filled paths that really gives this Caucasus mountains its dramatic effect and makes the drive to Kazbegi even more thrilling. We recommend traveling in March and early April so travelers can get to see both seasons with the drive from Tbilisi starting with Judas pink trees lined along the way and the green meadows eventually turning into white snow as you make your way into the Caucasus mountains.

This Kazbegi private tour is epic for this adventure and takes you through all the spots in the Georgian Military Highway.

Gergeti Trinity Church

Gergeti Trinity Church in Kazbegi with the backdrop of the mountains
Gergeti Trinity Church in Kazbegi with the backdrop of the mountains

Like a scene out of Lord of The Rings or any medieval fantasy movie, Gregeti monastery stands dramatically with the Caucasus mountains as its backdrop. While the church is beautiful all-year round, it’s the winter months with the snow-covered scenery that makes this place look like it belongs to another world.

Built in the 14th century by an unknown architect, Kazbegi Trinity Church still holds all its ancient structure. Taking a step into its interior is like stepping back into the past with ancient style decoration, furniture and even a painting of Christ in blue. While photography isn’t allowed in the interior, travelers can gaze at its decoration as long as it takes.

The lighting in Gregeti church also holds its old-style mechanism. Instead of chandeliers or electricity, it’s the windows and doors that brightens the place in natural light. If you’re visiting Gergeti Trinity Church, then you can either take a van to reach there (60-80 GEL per vehicle) or do a 1.5 hour hike to get there. But be warned that the hike is not easy since the roads are very steep.

Experience the streams and ravines

Along the way to the white-capped mountains of Kazbegi, you’ll see plenty of rivers, streams and ravines flowing through the lands. This makes up a beautiful scenery and some still keep up the country’s historic vibes. Small cluster of villages can be seen dotted on along the streams in every few kilometers.

These villages still keep up their traditional lifestyle and are entirely isolated from the city and the rest of the civilization during heavy snow. During the summer months, these streams are a beautiful sight to behold with crystal clear water flowing over mineral rocks. They make great stops to stretch your legs while taking in the beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and villages

Panorama view

There is no better place to gaze at the Caucasus mountains in close range while admiring their majestic, snow-covered peaks than the panorama view at the Russia-Georgian friendship monument. This monument is actually in the border of Russia in the ski resort of Gaudauri along the Jvari pass.

The monument was built in the 1980s as a peace treaty between Russia and Georgia and the murals drawn on to the monument’s surface depicts both the countries intertwined history.

Murals in the Russian Gerogian Friendship Monument, Photo Credit: At World's Origins
Murals in the Russian Gerogian Friendship Monument, Photo Credit: At World’s Origins

Travelers standing here at the monument will overlook what’s known as the Devil’s Valley – a range of mountains with deep gorges. During the summer months this entire area and its mountain range is covered in green while the winter months cover it in endless white. No matter what season, the view from this place is breath taking and you’ll find yourself lingering here for more than just a few minutes.

Ananuri Fort

Ananuri Fort with the view of its river
Ananuri Fort with the view of its river

While either making your way to Kazbegi or coming back from Gergeti church, you can make a stop at the historic Ananuri fort. This medieval fortress sits beside an azure blue river and once acted as a fortress, a church and a refugee spot for citizens whenever there were threats from war.

The church’s position between two rivers of Aragvi and Vedzatkhevi was so that enemies could not pass unnoticed and would find themselves trapped by mother nature’s own doing.

The fortress is a remarkable site with ancient Georgian writings adorning the exterior walls of its church while fresco paintings and centuries before decor still remain in the interior of the church. Curious travelers can explore the grounds and even take a daring walk into the fortress’s narrow upper floors.

If you visit around late April and early May, you’ll be lucky enough to see the cherry blossom trees in full bloom.

Stay at Rooms Hotel Kazbegi

If you’re planning to make a halt in Kazbegi or you would like to enjoy the mountain and its wilderness more, Rooms Hotel Kazbegi is a great place to stay overnight or two. This 4-star hotel has everything you need for a comfortable stay from extremely comfy beds and cozy rooms with Wifi to international cuisine in their stylish restaurant.

What makes this Kazbegi hotel a must-stay is its night gazing activity. Located away from streetlights, this place is known to be a perfect spot to see celestial beauties glimmering in the night sky. The hotel is also just 7km away from Gregiti Trinity Church.


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