Atskuri – Tsriokhi Fortress – Tsinubani Trail

About

Route Length: 14 km
Route Duration: 5 hrs. 20 min.
Min./Max. Height: 919/1323 m.
Total Ascent/Descent: 940/872 m.
Route Type: Connecting
Route category of complexity: Moderate

Route Description
Modern day Atskuri is a small village, backed up with an immense past, such as traces of ancient settlements, the remains of the magnificent medieval temple of the Virgin or cascade of enclosed Fortresses. In the middle of Atskuri, at the turn of a small byway takes start tourist route, follows to the village exit and goes towards Tsriokhi Fortress. At the outset the trail runs along a bare slope, but in about 850 meters the terrain drastically changes and visitors end up in forested and rocky landscape above the Atskuri village. At this point the tourist route splits in two. Optionally, it is possible to choose a simple road that leads to the fortress with an average ascending path. If pick a medium complexity route, a steep road from the north-east will reach the fort site from above. The highest peak of the route reaches 1323 meters above sea level and offers incomparable 360-degree views on the Mtkvari gorge, the village Atskuri and the Tsriokhi fortress itself. The stronghold was built on such a lucrative spot that it allowed full control of the ravines and roads entering or departing the region. It’s said that, Tsriokhi Fortress had another crucial mission: to send first alarm signal to the contiguous Atskuri fortress during invasions.

By the fortress both trail sections merge and the route continues towards the Bieti Monastery. In about 500 meters, it joins with the forest road and goes downhill until it crosses the Tsriokhi stream. The trail spins on a steep slope covered with woodlots. On one side unwraps thrilling valley of Tsriokhi stream; obverse is seen Tsriokhi fort deep-rooted on the crest of the rock, while outlines of the south-west slope gradually change shapes according to the weather and illumination.

After the ascent, the trail passes an intersection and puts travelers on a 1, 8 km forest road leading downhill, till the next crossroads. There the route divides into three directions: towards Bieti Church, Tsinubani Bathhouses and the village of Tsinubani. The tourist route follows a dirt road passing through dense woods towards Bieti Church. On the way can be found a delicious cold spring, willing to restore energy of exhausted passengers. After traveling about 1.1 km, at the edge of a secluded place, a 14th century Bieti Church will appear. The temple is half-destroyed and restoration work is currently underway.

There are two options: go back to the crossroads and move towards the end point – village Tsinubani, or continue to the bathhouses of Tsinubani. This road is about 1.4 km long and from the north-east approaches sulfur-rich, thermal water baths. In the vicinity of the village Tsinubani, various types of thermal and mineral waters have been flowing for almost a century. Bragging with healing features the hot springs till today gush and wrap in the constant steam the ruins of once famous bathhouses of Tsinubani.
From the bathhouses the dirt road follows river Tsinubani to the south, joins the crossroads and in about 1.9 km approaches the historic village of Gurkeli. After passing through it the tourist route enters the Tsinubani village, and ends there near a small church.


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