Day 46, 18th May, Borzhomi

We drove to Akhaltsikhe and visited a low-grade supermarket where a girl followed us round to ensure that we didn’t pinch anything. There were individual bog rolls on sale for people who can’t afford to buy two at a time. We then went to a high-class supermarket which didn’t have much more than the low-grade one, but had a security man to ensure nobody pinched anything. A good laugh when he got into a mega-row with a youth, presumably suspected of pinching something.
Otherwise, the people are very friendly and helpful. We went to the Akhaltsikhe fortress built in the 18th century and often called a symbol of tolerance because it includes a church, a mosque with a minaret and a synagogue. There is the Jaqelebi Palace, a museum, a baths and a citadel which includes an underground prison where the spirit of tolerance evidently ran out.
We then drove to Borzhomi and, on the way, turned left up a steep unmade road through beautiful pine forests to the Green Monastery. Built in the 9th century by two monks, Christopher and Theodore, it has a single-nave church and a bell tower added in the 15th century. During an invasion of Georgia by Shah Tamaz of Persia in the 16th century, dozens of monks who lived in small cells around the church, were tortured and killed and the rocks in the river are said to turn red with their blood during the summer. I suspect algae might have something to do with it.
Arriving in Borzhomi we parked in a car park adjoining the market where delicious-looking fruit was sold from the backs of vans. Unable to get the mifi working on the Georgian sim card, we went to a small restaurant, the “Bergi”, and had a splendid meal of chicken in a garlic sauce and a khachapuri, a typical Georgian dish resembling a cheese pizza.
Borzhomi is famous for its mineral water springs with healthy chemical components which are said to cure or prevent a number of diseases. It has been used for centuries and a stone bathing tub from the 1st century BC has been found. The Romanov family used to come here for their holidays and they had a palace built which is now a museum. Tchaikovsky came here many times and there is a statue of him in the centre of the town.

Akhaltsikhe fortress from city
Inside the fortress
Christian church
Mosque courtyard
Mosque garden
Mosque roof
Fortress keep
View from top of keep
Guardian god of the family, part of a hearth altar, 3rd century BC
St George slaying dragon
Tile from museum
Green monastery
Jennifer in Green Monatery
Statue of Tchaikovsky

Leave a comment