Private full-day tour to Dmanisi and Bolnisi includes visiting Dmanisi Archeological Site, where 1.8 million years old human skeletons Zezva and Mzia- the oldest human remains in Europe were found, Dmanisi Sioni cathedral built in the 6th century, Bolnisi Sioni Cathedral that is the oldest extant church building in Georgia built in 478–493, Kazreti Trinity monastery and Tsughrughasheni Church both built-in 13th century.
Tour includes visiting Bolnisi Museum that shows the history of the first hominins, Bronze Age cultures, early-Christian architecture and the history of the German population who immigrated to Georgia 200 years ago.
Tour also includes visiting German settlement in Bolnisi (Katharinenfeld) and St. Peter and Paul Church on Mount Elia to enjoy the view of the Kvemo Kartli region. Private tour is appropriate for people who are interested in the history of humankind, the history of Germans settlements in Georgia and early Christian architecture. Total drive 250 km (155 miles).
Dmanisi Sioni built in the 6th century is described as a "three-church" basilica that is an unusual design in which the nave is completely separated from the aisles and create almost three independent churches. Only the middle nave retains its original form. Damaged 13th-14th century icon of Christ, saints and inscriptions survive in the altar apse. Richly adorned gate with inscriptions of King George IV and his son David VII, was added in the 13th century. To the north stands a bell-tower and single-nave church of Saint Marina. The church served as a burial ground to King Vakhtang III, Baratashvili and Orbeliani families.
Dmanisi is first mentioned in the 9th century as a possession of the Arab emirate of Tbilisi, though the area had been settled since the Early Bronze Age. Located on the confluence of trading routes and cultural influences, Dmanisi was a major commercial center. Archeological studies began in the area in 1936. Beyond a rich collection of artifacts, remains of prehistoric animals and humans were found. The discovery of primitive stone tools in 1984 led to increasing interest to the site. In 1991, a team of Georgian scholars was joined by the German and later the U.S., French and Spanish researchers. 1.8 million years old hominin remains discovered in 1991 by David Lordkipanidze are the oldest found outside Africa and the oldest human skeletons ever discovered in Europe.
Kazreti Trinity monastery was built by King Lasha-Giorgi in the 13th century. In 1956, the Kazreti complex was restored and painted. The facades show a luxurious decoration that creates a wooden frame, carving, a cross, etc. The interior did not survive in its original form. The cathedral was painted in fresco, the remains of the Church Fathers and the figures of the Apostles on the altar are still visible. There is also a cycle with individual saints.
Bolnisi Museum exhibition shows the history of the first hominins, the emergence of agriculture, ancient metallurgy and Bronze Age cultures, early-Christian architecture, examples of the old Georgian inscriptions and stone, clay objects of the medieval era. The last hall is dedicated to the history of the German population who immigrated to Georgia 200 years ago.
Bolnisi Sioni Cathedral built-in 478–493 is the oldest extant church building in Georgia. The cathedral is known for its inscriptions that are one of the oldest historical documents of the Georgian alphabet. This church is the first Georgian building to have a completion date on the exterior. Bolnisi Sioni’s decorative scheme was a Sasanian style. The southern and central parts of the church are adorned with curling vine scrolls, arabesques, and foliate motifs. The decoration of the building has Persian influence. The hunting depictions and sculptures are similar to Iranian 4th and 5th-century art and architecture.
Tsughrughasheni Church was built in 1212–1222 by King Lasha-Giorgi. It resembles the other churches from the period but it is smaller with a higher cupola. It is rich with ornaments.
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