Guest post by: Anya Sapharova

North-East of Georgia is genuinely a mountainous region also known as Mtskheta-Mtianeti. This name can be translated as ‘Mtskheta in the Mountains’. Still locals got used to call the territory ‘Kazbegi Region’ as if paying tribute to the famous Mount Kazbek.

The main Caucasian Ridge lies right at the border of Russian Federation and Georgia and the well-known Georgian Military road is also paved right in the Kazbegi Region that serves as the most significant trading road between two counties.

The trip to Kazbegi Region is one of the most picturesque events that can ever happen in a life of a hiker. Once becoming part of virgin nature all the impressions you had ever gained before will seem to be dull and even unrealistic as gigantic mountains, big soft floating clouds, and fresh air immediately make you feel yourself special. Panoramic view from the car’s window will grab your attention for the whole trip. Truso Valley – not thoroughly explored place and is considered as the hidden beauty of Georgian mountains. It may take you about 2, 5 hours to get there if you are travelling from the capital – Tbilisi. Others may prefer to stay on a several-day tour and visit Truso valley before or after having stayed in the city of Stepantsminda known for Gergeti Holy Trinity Cathedral.

Trusso Valley

Picture by Givi Sulkhanishvili

Before going deep in details about Truso Valley it is better to have a general picture of the places that you could visit on your way to the mountains. As you follow the road along the Aragvi River ravine you can stop at the Zhinvali water reservoir and enjoy the view with turquoise water. It is worthy to pay your attention to Ananuri Fortress that once belonged to Aragvi Chief Lords in the feudal Georgia. It served as a defensive fortress that blocked the road from the northern conquerors.

Red soil

Picture by Givi Sulkhanishvili

Region of Kazbegi is famous for its mineral waters with a big concentration of iron (that’s why in many places you can see travertines near the rivers right at the top of the red soils). At the Cross Pass in Gudauri ski-resort many tourists stop to have a look at the vast valley surrounded by huge juicy mountains. In order to get emotions at their fullest it is advisable to reach the top of the Cross Pass that estimates 2385 meters and is officially announced as the place where border between Europe and Asia lies. It is impossible not to get excited when suddenly seeing a soaring eagle high in the deep blue sky or surprisingly realizing that you are standing above the clouds. This is a real dream for hikers known as Georgian Paradise.

Stepantsminda is an administrative center of Kazbegi Region where you can find very cozy rooms for a night’s sleep. As it was already mentioned above this place is visited very intensively as lots of people try to reach the top of the mountain where Gergeti church is situated. From the top a great view of neighboring mountains opens up but it is not possible to describe the beauty with words – better to see it with your own eyes.

After Gergeti you can head to Big and Small Gveleti Waterfalls. Again it is better to rent car and only then you can take the 1, 5 km footpath that slowly ascends as you get closer to the waterfalls. It is preferable to spend the whole day on this trip and go back to Stepanstminda and enjoy the sunset. Early in the morning you will wake up in the red sunlight, isn’t it truly wonderful?

Trusso Valley

Picture by Givi Sulkhanishvili

The brightest portion of emotions you will get in the Truso Valley – the place where source of the river Aragvi takes its birth. The tourist route does not look like any other destination and not even many Georgians have heard of Truso. This place is exceptional for having long walks in the mountain valleys while listening to the gurgling waters of the Truso River. Mountains surround you everywhere and no matter where you are looking you are getting ideal camera shots. At the starting point you have to take the broad path above the canyon that leads you to Kasara Canyon and Truso Travertines. Kasara Canyon represents itself as a large territory with swift Truso River and red soil that got oxidized due to a great concentration of minerals in the waters of the valley. You can see remains of fortresses that look like haunted towers. If you pay more attention to the mountains themselves you may get astonished that people used to build fortresses on steep mountains as there are some ruins remained very-very high under the sky ceiling. As you walk in the valley you cannot understand what time it is or where the nearest civilization could be – no city noise, no signs or names of the attractions are mentioned anywhere. There are just you and the mountains that seem to be watching your steps.

In some places you have to jump over the rivers or find stable stones to step on them. Travertines of different red colors make the journey more breathtaking – you will never forget the natural beauties of the Truso Valley.

Many people get shocked by the ‘Botomless Lake’ that seems to be boiling but in reality the bubbles you see are just gases that come from the underwater. Yes, it is not easy to believe but Georgia is really rich with minerals. You can drink the mineral water that flows out of the lake. You can smell sulfur in the air.

Trusso Valley

Picture by Givi Sulkhanishvili

Lots of tourists reach the point of the Zakagori Fortress. By the time you reach you can count you’ve walked about 10 kilometers and if you go back to the car on the same day you will have to walk again the same 10 kilometres of the way. In total, it makes 20 kilometers – no joking! If you are thinking about setting up a camp Truso Valley is an ideal place for that. Not far from the Zakagori Fortress there is a broad open meadow where you can easily stay for many nights. Still, take into consideration that weather is really changeable in the valley due to the mountainous region and strong winds that sometimes intrude the territory. Another advice – don’t forget to take the sun protection lotion otherwise you will end up with severe burns on your face and hands.

Kazbegi region is the place where a person can communicate with nature and send signals to the outer space, mediate or just gather power from the legendary mountains.