Located in the western part of Georgia at an altitude of 125-300 meters above sea level, on the territory of the legendary Colchis (the one where the golden fleece was kept). Today it is the administrative and industrial center of the Imereti region, the second largest city of the republic with a population of ~ 184,500 people.
Divided into two parts by the river Rioni. The historical center is located on the west coast, and modern quarters - on the east. The fact that before the Colchis lowland was occupied by subtropical forests, reflected in the modern appearance of the city. The streets are buried in verdure, parks and squares are broken at every step. Numerous bridges are built across Rioni - a favorite place for tourist walks.
Kutaisi is one of the most ancient cities of the Caucasus. It was founded in the VIII century BC. e., as mentioned by the Byzantine scholar Procopius of Caesarea in his chronicles. For a long time the city was the capital of the Imeretian kingdom, and from 978 to 1123 it was the capital of Georgia. Today, the Georgian Parliament was moved here, for which an unusual building under a huge glass dome was built.
Climatic features of Kutaisi
Colchis Lowland is in the zone of humid subtropics. Winter is warm (average temperature + 4 °), summer is hot. In spring and autumn strong winds are frequent. The temperature in July varies between + 27 °, but can rise to + 33 °. In August, usually within one and a half to two weeks, the heat is below 35 °. It rains regularly. In the case of heavy rain Rioni overflows. The tourist season here lasts from May to October.
How to get there?
To the west of the city, 14 km away, there is the Kopitnari international airport, named after David Agmashenebeli (David the Builder). Direct flights are possible only from Moscow. The bulk of arriving tourists commits to Tbilisi. The distance from the Georgian capital to Kutaisi is 230 km.
On Wednesday and Sunday, Georgian Airways depart from Kopitnari to Tbilisi. Ticket price is 100 GEL one way. Flight time is 30 minutes.
The most budget way is to take a minibus. Buses depart from Tbilisi from the Didube metro station. Travel time is less than 4 hours, fare is 10 GEL. The interval of movement of cars - every hour.
In the capital, you can rent a car. This is a convenient and practical way to move around the country. Need to go on the highway E60 / ს 1, travel time a little more than three hours. By the way, renting the same cars and scooters in Kutaisi will be cheaper.
There is also a rail link between the cities. The Tbilisi-Kutaisi passenger train departs three times a day. The road will take 5.5-6 hours, the fare is 9-15 GEL. In the high season, you need to worry about tickets in advance by ordering them on the GZD website.
Where to stay in Kutaisi?
Kutaisi hotels offer their services, as well as cheap guest houses, hostels and family mini-hotels. There are more than 100 accommodation options for holidaymakers in the city. Each institution tries to attract guests, providing a range of services and entertainment.
Judging by the reviews, such hotels as “Old Town”, “Elegant, Maxcomfort”, “Edemi”, “Continental Hotel” fall into the first five. All of them are in the city, have their own green areas, restaurants, parking. Residential rooms are equipped with climate control system. Prices for accommodation are within reasonable limits - from 2,200 to 7,000 rubles per day.
Cheap apartments can be rented in apartments "Kakao", hotels "StarHostel", "TirifiHoliday", "Luxe Kutaisi". Price per day 600-3000 rubles. In hostels, the main part of the fund is occupied by standard family rooms, but you can rent a cheap bed in a dormitory room for 4-10 people.
• The Orthodox temple of Bagrat III is considered to be the symbol of Kutaisi. It is part of the cultural heritage of UNESCO. The large cathedral is visible from everywhere - it is located at the highest point of the area, and a two-meter-high bronze cross is also erected on the dome. You can get here by taxi or climb the mountain on the stairs. Temple attendance is free.
• Constantly attracts the attention of tourists temple complex Gelati. In addition to the Gelati monastery, here are two more churches - Nikolaev and St. George, as well as a three-tiered belfry, an academy building with a rich library, and royal tombs. The whole territory is surrounded by a fortress fence.
• In the city itself, near the Tetri Bridge, stands the picturesque Okros Chardahi building - the former residence of the Georgian kings. Fans of antiquities can visit the Historical Museum, which has more than 150 thousand exhibits. In the halls exhibited instruments of the Bronze Age, artifacts of the Roman-Greek and Byzantine civilization. Ticket price 3 GEL.
Excursions in Kutaisi
• Even seasoned travelers will be interested in excursions in the vicinity of Kutaisi. The reserve Sataplia is located 10 km from the city. In its forests relict plants of the Neolithic period are preserved. Around there are several karst caves with giant stalactites that have grown over thousands of years.
• 6 km from the city stands the Monastery of Motsameta, separated from the Gelati by a deep precipice. An ark with the remains of Georgian princes Mkheidze, who suffered for their faith, is kept in the monastery. There is a belief that if you crawl under the ark three times, attach to the relics and ask the saints, they will definitely listen. It attracts crowds of tourists to the monastery.
• Extreme lovers can visit the Okatse canyon. The mountain river in those parts was washed by a channel 140 m deep (the height of a 45-storey building), over which a kilometer suspension bridge was stretched. At the end of the bridge there is an observation platform under which a mountain stream flows.
The restaurants of the city serve local wine and Imereti dishes. Khachapuri with lightly salted cheese, baked in clay pans, is especially tasty. In many institutions, those wishing to learn the basics of Georgian cuisine. Prices are quite affordable: khachapuri 1 lari, khinkali of 60 tetri (kopecks, in our opinion) apiece, churchkhela 1.5 lari, buns of 50 tetri. Fruits are also inexpensive - a watermelon costs 50 tetri apiece, a melon 70 tetri, and a plum 1.5 lari per kg. It is advisable to choose those food points, where local residents go.
• Not everywhere there are terminals for bank cards, so cash is always needed.
• Large bills should be exchanged, otherwise the change will have to wait a long time.
• The price of the market commodity was originally incorporated 30% for the auction.
• In some hostels there is no hot water, which you need to know in advance.
• It is undesirable for women to wear shoes with heels - it is very difficult to go down and climb the cobbled streets.
• On a tour of the monasteries and temples, it is recommended to take your own hat with you, as scarves at the entrance is not always enough.
Kutaisi offers its guests a full range of good recreation - rental housing at affordable prices, exquisite cuisine, interesting excursions to the most ancient places of Imereti.