Kutaisi is one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world. It was founded 4000 years ago and became the capital of the Kingdom of Colchis, and today it is considered the third most popular tourist destination in Georgia. The capital of the Imereti Region offers some of the oldest cultural landmarks in the world.
Located 221 km from the capital Tbilisi, Kutaisi is considered a place that has a lot to offer by many tourists. For this reason we’ve put together a list of the most important tourist attractions in the city.
At the top of the list of Kutaisi’s most important tourist attractions, the Bragati Cathedral is a place you should definitely visit. What makes it so special? Well, it is one of the most important examples of Georgian architecture and one of the most visited tourist attractions here.
The Bragati Cathedral was built in the eleventh century under the reign of King Bagrat III, who unified the Georgian regions into one single kingdom. At that time Tbilisi was under Persian rule and the city of Kutaisi was the capital of the Georgian Kingdom.
The cathedral is located on the left bank of the Rioni River, but the architecture of the cathedral is no longer in its original shape today. A strong explosion in the 17th century led to a major deterioration of the building. However, the Bragati Cathedral was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1994. After a few years, between 2009-2012 the Georgian government decided to renovate the building, although UNESCO representatives had recommended that such a decision should not be taken so as not to interfere with the original architecture of the place.. However, the Georgian government decided to renovate the cathedral, risking to be excluded from the UNESCO Heritage List.
If you are planning a vacation in the city of Kutaisi, don’t forget to visit this cathedral, located just 15 minutes away from the center. If you arrive at the cathedral on Sunday you can experience a wonderful variety of Georgian songs. The Bragati cathedral is the preferred place to officiate religious weddings, which usually take place on weekends.
The Prometheus and Sataplia Caves
These caves are located in western Georgia near the city of Kutaisi, and you can easily visit them in one day. These beautiful caves are truly unique and will make for some great pictures to come home with, and they’re all just around 4 km from each other!
Kutaisi Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden of Kutaisi was founded in 1912 by botanist and geographer Andrey Krasnov. It stretches over an area of 111 hectares and contains at least 700 plant species from East Asia, North America, New Zealand, South America, Himalayas and Mexico. But the main attraction of this botanical garden is the oak tree, over 400 years old.
The oak reaches a height of 45 meters and has a 2 meter diameter. What is surprising is that a cavity in the middle of the oak did not affect the vitality of the tree in any way.
The Botanical Garden is a great place to relax on hot summer days and breathe some fresh air. During the summer, an outdoor cinema and folk concerts are organized inside the garden.
The Gelati Monastery is part of a monastic complex of 3 monasteries on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Gelati monastery was founded in 1106 by King David IV of Georgia, whose remains rest here.
The Gelati Monastery is a very important historical site. It served as an educational center for centuries and there are a large number of murals and manuscripts here dating back to the 12th to 17th centuries. The frescoes and the beautiful mosaic paintings you will find inside the monastery will instantly attract your attention!
Kutaisi Historical Museum
The Kutaisi Historical Museum was founded in 1921 and preserves more than 150,000 Georgian cultural heritage artifacts. You will find here monuments from the Bronze Age, archaeological finds from western Georgia, Roman ruins, Byzantine artifacts and also rare cultural objects such as ancient Georgian manuscripts.