Dzalisi
Dmanisi
Nokalakevi

Distance from Tbilisi: 90 km

Hours to drive: 1 hour 30 minutes

Best time to visit: spring, summer, autumn, winter

Dmanisi

Dmanisi - is a town and archaeological site in the Kvemo Kartli region of Georgia approximately 93 km southwest of the nation’s capital Tbilisi in the river valley of Mashavera. The hominin site is the earliest of its kind outside of Africa, dating back to 1.81 Ma

The town of Dmanisi is first mentioned in the 9th century as a possession of the Arab emirate of Tbilisi, though the area had been settled since the Early Bronze Age. An Orthodox Christian cathedral – “Dmansis Sioni” – was built there in the 6th century. Located on the confluence of trading routes and cultural influences, Dmanisi was of particular importance, growing into a major commercial center of medieval Georgia. The town was conquered by the Seljuk Turks in the 1080s, but was later liberated by the Georgian kings David the Builder and Demetrios I between 1123 and 1125. The Turco-Mongol armies under Timur laid waste to the town in the 14th century. Sacked again by the Turkomans in 1486, Dmanisi never recovered and declined to a scarcely inhabited village by the 18th century. The castle was controlled by the House of Orbeliani.

Dzalisi

Distance from Tbilisi: 40 km

Hours to drive: 50 minutes

Best time to visit: spring, summer, autumn, winter

Dzalisi - is a historic village in Georgia, located in the Mukhrani valley, 50 km northwest of Tbilisi, and 20 km northwest of Mtskheta. It is the Zalissa (Greek: Ζάλισσα) of Ptolemy (AD 90-168) who mentions it as one of principal towns of Iberia, an ancient Georgian kingdom. Archaeological digs have revealed the remains of four palaces and hypocaustic baths, acropolis, swimming pool, administrative part, barracks for soldiers, water supply system and burial grounds. One of the villas is notable for its floor mosaics, which, together with the mosaics of Pityus, are, by far, the oldest ones found in the Caucasus. The style of the mosaic dates to around AD 300. Its central part depicts Ariadne and Dionysus in a banquet scene.

Nokalakevi

Distance from Tbilisi: 290 km

Hours to drive: 4 hours 30 minutes

Best time to visit: spring, summer, autumn, winter

Nokalakevi - also known as Archaeopolis (Ancient Greek: Αρχαιόπολις, literally meaning "ancient town") and Tsikhegoji ("Fortress of Kuji"), is a village and archaeological site in the Senaki municipality, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region, Georgia. Nokalakevi-Archaeopolis played a part in the major wars fought between the Byzantines and Sasanians in the South Caucasus during the sixth century AD. It was one of the key fortresses guarding Lazika (modern Mingrelia) from Sasanian, Persian and Iberian (East Georgian/Kartlian) attack. During the war of AD 540-562, the Persians' failure to take Nokalakevi-Archaeopolis from the Byzantines and the Laz eventually cost them control of Lazika.

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