Tsinubani – Tsriokhi Fortress –Atskuri 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
The route starts near a small church of Tsinubani village, then crosses the historic village of Gurkeli and in about 1.9 km reaches the crossroads. From there the route divides into three directions: towards Tsriokhi Fortress, Bieti Monastery and Tsinubani Bathhouses. Whether choosing a road towards Bieti Monastery or Tsinubani Bathhouses the both trails finally return to the crossroads in a circle way. When taking a dirt road through dense woods, on the way can be found a delicious cold spring, willing to restore energy of exhausted passengers. After travelling 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: return to the crossroads, 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. Various types of thermal and mineral waters are flowing in the vicinity of the village Tsinubani. 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 and joins the above-mentioned crossroads, from where the route heads northeast to Tsriokhi Fortress.
In about 1.8 km the road spins uphill until the next crossroads appears. The trail takes direction to the south, turns left in 200 meters and heads down a steep woody slope towards the intersection by the Tsriokhi stream. On one side unwraps the 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. The route crosses the Tsriokhi stream and joins with the forest road toward the northeast. In 750 meters, to the right side of the road, through mixed woodland is spotted a narrow path, which leads visitors to the Tsriokhi fortress.
By the fortress the tourist route splits in two. Optionally, it is possible to choose a simple road that leads to the village with an average descending path. In case of picking 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 the first alarm signal to the contiguous Atskuri fortress during invasions.
In about one kilometer both trail sections merge. The forested and rocky terrain drastically changes and the road runs down a bare slope towards the village of Atskuri. This is a small settlement today but for centuries was the main political, defensive and religious artery of the country. The trail enters a small byway of the village, and follows it to the central road, where the tourist route comes to an end.


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