Mckheta-Mtianeti

Mtskheta is the administrative centre of the region.

Mtskheta-Mtianeti consists of 5 administrative districts: Akhalgori, Dusheti, Tianeti, Mtskheta, Kazbegi.

There are 591 settlements in the region of which:

2 cities - Mtskheta and Dusheti;

7 towns - Zahesi, Akhalgori, Zhinvali, Pasanauri, Tianeti, Sioni, Kazbegi;

582 villages.

Mtskheta-Mtianeti is one of the most picturesque and diverse lands in Georgia. It hosts 3500 and 5000 m high snowy peaks of the Greater Caucasus and mountain passes, beautiful gorges, secluded lakes and alpine valleys. The Caucasus Mountains in Khevi and Khevsureti are particularly scenic. Steep slopes descending into the Aragvi valley are one of the most unmatched beauties encountered anywhere in the world. Jvari – one of the passes over the Caucasus range – is located on the picturesque Georgian military road and historically served to link Georgia with the North Caucasus. This delightful province has greatly inspired both outstanding Georgian writers and poets and numerous foreign travelers and adventure seekers, which is particularly evident in the works of Russian writers.

Mtskheta was both the ancient capital of the country and the cradle of Georgian civilization. Oldest settlements in Mtskheta and the area designated as Greater Mtskheta are traced back to the Early and Middle Bronze Ages (III-II millennia BC). Already in the Later Bronze and Early Iron Ages (II-I millennia BC) these lands were densely populated (Samtavro, Zemo Avchala, Tsitsamuri, Narekvavi, Tserovani, Nabaghrevi burial sites and settlements). In the Bronze and Iron Ages communication between the settlements and the synchronic centers of the Caucasian civilization was realized through Samtavro. By the end of the 4th c. BC Mtskheta became the political center of the newly established Kingdom of Kartli (Iberia). Its advantageous location on the hub of international trade routes alongside Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers facilitated overall development of the town. Mtskheta was not only the political center of the country. It was also the place that can be regarded as cradle of Georgian Christianity and religious hearth of the Georgian lands until the 12th. c.AD. The whole Mtskheta-Mtianeti region served and still serves to protect both the northern border and hold the century-long traditions and customs of the country. A number of provinces like Khevi and Pirikita (Outer) Khevsureti remain without any communication with the rest of the country every winter. It can be, therefore, regarded as ultimate heroism that they endlessly fought to defend the northern borders of Georgia.

Mtskheta-Mtianeti is mainly an agricultural region with fruit and vegetable growing developed in Mtskheta and animal farming in the Tianeti, Dusheti and Kazbegi mountainous areas. The military road of Georgia, which stretches from Tbilisi to the Russian border, runs across this region. It seems that very little cargo volumes are transported along this road taking into consideration that the road via Abkhazia is still closed and that the military road is one of the two roads connecting Georgia with Russia.

Industrial enterprises are mainly concentrated in Mtskheta and Dusheti. The main skiing resort of the country, Gudauri, is also located in the region.

Households are mainly engaged in growing maize (5,000 ha; 12,000 tons) and fruit (4,000 ha; 1,000 tons). Three thousand ha of land is used as pasture-fields.

Main sites of tourist interest:

• City-museum Mtskheta

• Ananuri monastery

• Zedazeni monastery

• Shiomgvime monastery

• Shatili village

• Gergeti Sameba