The Orthodox Church seems very important in Georgia. Whereas in Armenia we looked at the architecture of churches in Georgia it was the frescos and murals. In many churches the frescos were whited out by the Soviets but some have been restored and the churches have many icons. St Nina took Christianity to Georgia in 5th century from Turkey. Her icon is in many Churches.
St Siddonia is buried in a Cathedral outside Tbilisi. We were told that the garment worn by Christ before the Crucifixion, which the soldiers cast lots for was taken to Georgia and a young woman touched it and was immediately taken up to heaven. This is St Siddonia who is buried clutching this garment.
Our guide had great reverence for St Siddonia.
Cave city of Vardzia
The cave city of Vardzia is a cultural symbol with a special place in the hearts of Georgians. In the 12th century Giorgi III built a fortification at the site. His daughter, Queen Tamar, established a monastery here, which grew into a virtual holy city housing perhaps 2000 monks, renowned as a spiritual bastion of Georgia and of Christendom’s eastern frontier.
One of the most interesting museums I have ever seen is the Stalin Museum in the city of Gori. Stalin was born in Gori which now has the only statue of Stalin left. The museum was established before his death so it shows his life and “accomplishments”. It is like a museum of a museum because it has not been added to since 1957.
Apparently there are discussions of extra rooms telling of the other side of Stalin, of the millions sent to the gulags etc etc.
Our guide whose grandparents were sent to Krygzistan as part of the gulag reacted quite differently to me.
We spent out last night in Georgia in the Black Sea city of Batumi. The story of Jason and the Golden Fleece is said to have taken place in Batumi.
Traders on the Silk Road often started or ended their journey here and travelled further by sea.