Kutaisi

Found west of Tbilisi, Kutaisi is said to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, the former capital of the kingdom of Colchis in the sixth to fifth centuries BC to the Middle Ages. Located on the banks of the mighty Rioni River, Kutaisi is the capital of the western region of Imereti and is a city rooted in myth and legend — including the Greek fable of Jason and the Argonauts. Colchis' history left an indelible mark on the city, as well as the legacies of the many kings who called Kutaisi home. Today the city’s history is best displayed in its well-preserved architecture, particularly the ruined Bagrati Cathedral, built by Bagrat III and the Unesco World Heritage Gelati Monastery site a few kilometers east of the city. 

Experiences

A handpicked selection of experiences endorsed by our experts. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, let us know, as our extensive network of local contacts can open many doors.

Bagrati Cathedral

This striking teal-roofed cathedral overlooks Kutaisi from its hilltop perch. Bagrati Cathedral was built in 1003 during the reign of Bagrat III, the first king of an united Georgia, thus making the cathedral a symbol of the country’s unity. Together with Gelati Monastery, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1994. However, major renovation efforts saw its status removed in 2017. Despite this, Bagrati remains a sight to behold in Kutaisi.

Gelati Monastery

Located on a wooded hillside just northeast of Kutaisi, Gelati Monastery is a highlight for any visitor in the area. Founded in 1106, Gelati is considered a masterpiece of the Golden Age of medieval Georgia and it was one of the most important centers of culture in ancient Georgia. Many Georgian rulers were buried here, including the great 12th-century king, David the Builder.

Katskhi Pillar

Located in the charming village of Katskhi, just an hour from Kutaisi, is a curious 131-foot tall limestone monolith that naturally juts out of the earth. Even more curious are the church ruins on top. The pillar was unclimbed by researchers and unsurveyed until 1944, after which the ruins were determined to be an early medieval heritage which includes a church, a burial chamber, a wine cellar, a curtain wall and three hermit cells. The pillar can be approached only by a 20-minute hike. Visitors can explore the surrounds which includes a monastery and a small chapel near the base but climbing the sacred pillar is forbidden to all except local monks.

Martvili Canyon

The scenic area surrounding Martvili Canyon features a circular hiking trail that starts from the visitor's center and passes along two bridges, three viewing platforms, and a 30-step historic staircase built from limestone. Visitors also have the opportunity to take a trip along the canyon by boat.

Central Market

Get a taste of local west-Georgian produce and products at the Central Market where vendors from Kutaisi and surrounding villages come to show off their wares.

Kutaisi Historical Museum

A peek into the Kutaisi Historical Museum reveals over 150,000 items of cultural heritage dating back to the Bronze Age collected from all around western Georgia. The highlight is the Gold Treasury hall which features an exhibition of icons and crosses in precious metals and jewels.

White Bridge

At the city center is White Bridge which stretches over the Rioni river and is considered one of the most beautiful bridges in the city. It was built in 1872 and is a local landmark, leading directly into the historic center of the city.

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