Gergeti Church Kazbegi Reviews
Mountain Top Icon of Georgia Jun 17, 2011
Situated near the Russian Federation border and at the end of an unforgettable mountain drive, Kazbegi (Stepantsminda) is a spectacularly located town. And at a dizzy 2100 metres above sea level, Gergeti Church towers above Kazbegi and gives Georgia one of its most easily recognisable icons.
Gergeti Church is over 500 years old. In times of war in Georgia, holy relics were brought here for safe keeping. During the Soviet occupation of Georgia the church was reached by a chair lift! It has since been removed as the locals rightly believed it spoilt the spiritual nature of the site. I wonder if the priests that had to slog up the mountain daily thought the same way.
Georgian Orthodox Christians don’t mess around! The church will be strictly closed to tourists (no matter if you are a practicing Christian) when a service is in progress.
The church can be reached by either a steep climb from Kazbegi (around 90 minutes), or by renting a 4x4 Lada taxi (around $50 USD per vehicle) that goes around a back road. The Ladas congregate in Gergeti’s main square. The church itself can be busy with visitors, but hike off along the ridge line or either back to Kazbegi and you’ll probably have the area to yourself. There are number of lonely watch towers in the area which are worth seeing.
Kazbegi is just over 100 miles north of Tibilisi, and can be reached by public transport. It is a far better idea to rent a private taxi, that way you can stop for photos on route.
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