Dzama Valley

Cover image © Irakli Beridze

Located between the lush valleys of Kartli and the Borjomi forests, Dzama Gorge stands as a significant site for Georgians, encompassing approximately 50 monasteries, both ancient and more recent. The proximity of this sacred place to the capital, varying from 120 to 140 kilometers (approximately 75 to 87 miles) away from Tbilisi, makes it a favored destination for Georgian hikers.

Dzama Valley, situated within the confines of Kareli Municipality in Shida Kartli, hosts up to 60 historical monuments. These include a variety of religious sites ranging from old to modern, fortresses, towers, and natural wonders, sprawling 160 to 170 kilometers (around 99 to 105 miles) from Tbilisi. Among the numerous attractions, the Kintsvisi monastery complex, with origins in the 12th and 13th centuries, boasts impressive frescos, and the 17th-century Mdzovreti fortress stands out. Other notable sites include the Kozipa monastery, consisting of five churches, the Gugomi complex, and the Dzama fortress.

The valley is not just a historical treasure trove; it is a canvas of natural beauty. The Shuano Mountain, rising to 2350 meters (about 7710 feet) above sea level, offers panoramic views that capture the essence of serenity. Bateti Lake, nestled close to Bateti village and sitting at 1313 meters (around 4311 feet) above sea level, alongside the surrounding forest, is believed to confer health benefits, particularly for the respiratory and nervous systems. The Tkemlovanistskali River Gorge, a tributary to the Dzama, is renowned for its mineral waters. An extraordinary feature of the area is a 25-meter (around 82 feet) high waterfall near Abukhalo mountain. Those seeking a challenging hike can take the Abukhalo footpath, leading to the Bardzimjvari summit and offering breathtaking views of the entire Kartli Region.

Accessing Dzama Gorge from Tbilisi is feasible with any car, while from the small town of Kareli, options include taxi or hitchhiking. A newly constructed, well-maintained asphalted road will guide visitors to within a few kilometers of the Kozipa Monastery. Most monasteries in the main gorge area are accessible by car, but those in the Abukhalo area require a hike, with some sections prone to flooding by the river. In the depths of the gorge, however, big trucks transporting wood may offer a lift. Signs along the road provide directions and distances to the monasteries in the main section of the Dzama Gorge. Some of the monasteries worth a visit include Mukhileti, Mzovreti, Karmeli, Abukhalo, and Sarkineti, though there are many others, each promising a warm welcome and a unique experience.

Nearest to Dzama Valley

Distances shown are straight-line, calculated automatically from coordinates, and may not reflect actual travel distance. They do not account for altitude, terrain, or obstacles. Not suitable for itinerary planning or emergencies. For entertainment use only.

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