Today I would like to introduce you my favorite three caves and caverns city in Georgia. Let’s enjoy with me!
Kumistavi Cave, also known as the cave of Prometheus, is located near the Georgian town of Tskhaltubo, 20 km from Kutaisi, Imereti region, in the west of the country. The cave was discovered in 1984 and is the biggest cave in Georgia. Although only one tenth is open for tourists, it takes about an hour to explore it’s 1000 plus meter route. A 280 meter boat tour on an underground river is also available at times.
If you’re lucky enough to be in a quiet and respectful group of fellow visitors, the cave exploration can be quite magical. The concrete paths and steps are well-laid (it took workmen four years to get it done!), and the multi-colored lighting is something truly spectacular. Stalactites, stalagmites, mirror pools, petrified waterfalls, “bottomless holes,” huge cavernous ceilings and a trip to the lowest point with a river miraculously running through.
Established in 1935 to protect the Sataplia Cave and dinosaur footprints found in the area, this small reserve 9 km from Kutaisi was renovated few years ago. The first stage of the tour sees an enclosed space and a clamber up a staircase with smooth limestone rock below, the three-toed footprints of some 7 species of “Sataplasaurus” dinosaurs left in the rock dated to the Cretaceous Period (165-65 million years ago) clear to see. Into the short but beautiful caves- a well-lit, sturdy 314 meter-long pathway and beautiful rock formations, including the bulbous “heart” rock in the center.
Back outside there is a nice narrow pathway past golden cliffs and woods below- in these very rocks the honey bees used to live (Sataplia means “For Honey,” which the locals used to harvest). The bees moved on long ago. Another gem, if you have the legs, is to walk to the glass walkway which juts out over the edge of the highest point and offers a fabulous view of the valley.
The ancient cave city was built on a rocky bank of the Mtkvari River, approximately 15km east of the town of Gori. Between the 6th century BC and 11th century AD, Uplistsikhe was one of the most important political, religious, and cultural centers of pre-Christian Kartli, flourishing until it was ravaged by the Mongols in the 13th century. A full exploration of the cave city, named “God’s Fortress” will take around an hour.
Preservation is clearly not on the list of priorities at present, as can be seen from how degraded the sandstone caves are, but there is something special in the child-like freedom you are given to wander over the rocks as you wish, climbing here and there with no restrictions. If you choose to go it alone, make sure to look up when you enter the caves – many of them, including “Queen Tamar’s Throne Room,” have carved ceilings. The exit down the cave tunnel from settlement to river bank is another treat not to miss.