The Past Of Bakuriani

by Nancy Kikvadze

Spectacular nature, excellent weather conditions, moderate snow cover, the village surrounded by a fabulous forest, with around 240 inhabitants – this is a short description of Bakuriani. Numerous such villages are found in Georgia, but a number of certain conditions turned this once undistinguished village into one of the best resorts for Georgia and beyond.

Below we will try to list the reasons for this great transformation:

The mineral water of Borjomi came into the limelight in the 19th century because of its unique curative abilities, which generated great interest towards to the Borjomi Valley. In 1871 Russian Czar Alexander II gave the Borjomi Valley to his brother Mikhail Romanov as a present. During his tenure, a significant breakthrough took place in the valley’s development; investments were attracted, facilities for bottling the mineral water, guesthouses and a railroad were built. The Borjomi-Bakuriani narrow-gauge railroad was also built during Romanov’s tenure (1898-1901).

That very railroad known with the nickname of Guguli (Cuckoo) train became the main reason behind the onset of a new life of Bakuriani.

The presence of a railroad in Bakuriani eased the founding of a high-mountainous botanical garden under the supervision of Rolov and Fomin on a Kokhtagora slope in 1902-1910. The construction of the botanical garden and its hospitable supervisors Kozlovsky played a facilitating role for the beginner skiers arriving here.

All these important reasons and conditions per se would have amounted to nothing if not for the crucial factor – a tireless dream, ardor and labor of man, at the expense of which first the legend and then the reality of Bakuriani came to exist and develop.

Fortunately, there were enough people in Georgia able to turn their dreams into reality.

Then Europe experienced a boom of ski sports, and Giorgi Nikoladze, newly arrived in Georgia, began dreaming with friends about popularizing ski sport in Georgia. He was the first to bring the first Georgian skiers to Bakuriani.

In 1934 the Society of Proletarian Tourism and Excursion rented what then became the building of Children Sanatorium and established a ski school and a school of winter sports.

A hunting economy covering 100 hectares was created here in 1932, determined by the fact that the local weather conditions were excellent for breeding purebred foxes. Initially, the economy had just 36 silver foxes, the number of which reached 2,600 by the year 1952. Employees of the economy, under the guidance of G. Giorgadze, reached particular successes in improving fox breeds. They bred and proliferated a breed of white fox, which later became known as Georgian white fox. According to experts, breeding such a fox is a very rare occasion, for that could not be achieved in Western Europe and in the United States.

The year of 1935 is the birth date of Bakuriani as a ski resort. The area became populous already by January. Students arrived from the Industrial Institute of the Caucasus (then Polytechnic Institute of Georgia, now Technical University of Georgia), who were part of the ski circle of the institute. With the help of a Bojgua, head of the institute, training reunions of students have become a tradition in Bakuriani. During this period, Bakuriani is guested by representatives from Tbilisi Medical University and the State University.

The ski school and the house of sports were solemnly opened on January 6, 1935. This event was extensively covered by the contemporary press. Gogi Bakradze became the head of the school and the house. The team of the Caucasus was formed the same year, comprising Makashvili, Geladze, Mikaberidze, Kosmachevsky, Purtseladze, Gvalia, Molovichko, Boyko, Smirnov, Seleznyova. Russian skiers were fascinated by the climate and diversity of Bakuriani. They nicknamed Bakuriani “the ski capital of the Soviet Union.” The contemporary press called Bakuriani “Soviet Davos.”

In 1950 first a 45-meter ski-jump was built here, and then a 75-meter-long one. This attracted even more ski fans.

An excursion center was opened in Bakuriani in 1951 at the initiative of the Tbilisi Tourism-Excursion Branch of the Georgian Trade Unions. Its mission was to supervise the excursions arranged for seeing the sights of Borjomi and its valley. For this purpose, the center was in possession of transports means, guides, and lecturers.

In 1954 Bakuriani became home to the first cable-way in the Soviet Union. Although it is hard to believe from the modern perspective but until this year the skiers had to walk up the Kokhtagora top and press the [snow of] ski-track by feet.

Electrification of Bakuriani completed in 1960.

Bakuriani almost emptied in the early 1990’s. Some took advantage of the harsh reality in the country (civil war, ethnic conflicts), and the dream turned to reality through the labors of several generations (tourist bases, guest houses, tow ways and cable-ways, etc) rapidly deteriorates. Bakuriani faces a serious crisis.

But fortunately it is impossible to kill Bakuriani as an idea, as a daydream. The dreamers go on living and manage to keep Bakuriani alive too.

Currently Bakuriani undergoes a rebirth: new hotels, cable-ways, and ski-tracks are being built. New projects and dreams are being conceived. And it is probably impossible to stop this. The only thing left for us to do is to with the best of luck to those who stand behind these dreams and concrete projects, and to wish them success, for the sake of Bakuriani and entire Georgia.

National Currency of Georgia

by Nancy Kikvadze

National Currency of Georgia is the Georgian Lari or GEL that consist of 100 Tetris. It has been the national currency of Georgia since 1995.

On October 2, 1995 the Lari – the new Georgian national currency – entered circulation and was declared the only legal means of payment in the whole territory of Georgia. Banknotes with the face value 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 Lari were issued into circulation.

"Lari", the name chosen for the basic monetary unit of the Georgian national currency, is an old Georgian word denoting a hoard or property. And "tetri", the name of the 1/100 part of a lari, is an old Georgian monetary term used since the 13th century. In 1999, all denominations of the 1995 series were modified with new security features.

In 2002, the banknotes of the 1999 series with denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 lari (and in 2004, the 50 and 100 lari denominations) were once again modified and upgraded.

There are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Lari banknotes. Coins are used in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 Tetris. There are also 1 and 2 Lari coins.

All payments can be made either in cash or by credit cards. Almost all the restaurants, shops and hotels accept credit cards. Georgian Lari or GEL can easily be converted to all the leading currencies of the world. Georgia has been a member of the International Monetary Fund since 1997.

Visitors of the country can purchase local currency in banks and currency exchange points which are plentiful around the country. For more information about exchange rates visit

Georgian Lari has its own sign, which was approved by the board of National Bank of Georgia on July, 7, 2014.

The concept of Lari sign is based on graphic letter “Las” (L) of the Georgian “Mkhedruli” alphabet. Adding two vertical parallel lines to the arc of a “simplified” one-arched “Lasi”- results in a stylized image of a “full” three-arched letter “Las”.

List of Active Commercial Banks


JSC "TBC Bank"


JSC "Bank of Georgia"


JSC "Liberty Bank"


JSC "Basisbank"


JSC "VTB Bank – (Georgia)"


JSC "Cartu Bank"


JSC "ProCredit Bank"


JSC "Silk Road Bank"


JSC "Ziraat Bank Georgia"


JSC "Isbank Georgia"


JSC "TeraBank"


JSC "Halyk Bank Georgia"


JSC "PASHA Bank Georgia"


JSC “Finca Bank Georgia”


JSC “Credo Bank”

Transport in Georgia

by Nancy Kikvadze

The origin of the word “transport” is Latin (transporto: send, carry, or convey across). In Georgian primitive means of transport were used from ancient times. According to Ivane Javakhishvili’s “History of Georgian Nation”, there was four day’s carriage road built from Shorapani until the border of Iberia.

Fast growth of capitalism caused the development of transportation as the separate field of industry. During the industrial revolution (in late XVIII and early XIX centuries) Trade expansion was enabled by the introduction of canals, improved roads and railways. In the XIX century with the introduction of steam power and powered machinery first steamers appeared. In the early XX the total length of the railroads throughout the world totaled 1114 thousand kilometers. Air and road transport developed rapidly in the Soviet Union.

Let us scroll through the Georgian newspapers of early XX:


Februari 2, 1901 № 27

As The Kavkaz newspaper informs, self propelled carriages, so called automobiles will travel between Kutaisi and Oni in the nearest future. The vehicles can carry 300 pounds of load and will travel 19-22 versts in hour.

The Tsnobis Furtseli

February 27, 1902 1737

The major carriage lesser Khanuma of Ibrahimbegov decided to launch automobiles on the Caucasian road as soon as she is granted the permission by the relevant government bodies. In summer the automobiles will cover the whole distance, while in winter they will travel until Mleta, as they are unable to travel in the heavy snow conditions.

The Iveria newspaper

November 5, 1903. 236

On November 3 citizens of Tbilisi, Tripon Jamaspov and Markar Bek-avakov applied city hall with the appeal to grant them permission to start automobile traffic in Tbilisi. In the beginning, they will purchase 20 automobiles, 10 for public traffic and 10 for the load. In case of growing demand, they will expand the operations. The fare for traffic in the areas where tramway passes will be 1 kopeck per person – cheaper than the tram fare. In other parts the fare will be 5 kopecks. For cargo carriage the fare will be as follows: carriage of one pound of load from the railway station to the city centre will cost 1 ½ kopecks; from the one bank of the town to another – 2 kopecks. The concessionaires will pay 7% of revenues in favor of the town. The concessionaires have already deposited 1000 rubles to offset the taxes and maintenance of vehicles.

The Tsnobis Furtseli

July 21, 1904 2560

Prince I. D. Orjonikidze, Retired Colonel Prince G. M. Shervashidze, Juror A. P. Lebedinski, Prince K. D. Eristavi, Kutaisi Resident I. Kakabadze and Merchant S. Rukhadze applied the governmet to grant them the permission to start automobile traffic in Kutaisi province. If the supreme government of Caucasus grants the permits the automobiles will travel between Kutaisi and Khoni and between Ozurgeti and Natanebi. Kakabadze and Rukhadze have already been granted the permission to start the venture between Kutaisi and Khoni.

Nancy Kikvadze

Christmas and New Year traditions in Georgia

by Nancy Kikvadze

Like the parts of Georgia, the traditions are diverse and interesting. New Year's rituals are different in Georgia, though the purpose of each is the same.

According to tradition, the festivities should be celebrated so that the New Year brings happiness, health, wealth and joy to each family.


In Kartli, the Basila sculpture is cooked first, with two "twists of fate" for each member of the family and the pets. At dawn, the head of the family lays a pig on a hunchback, decorates the "twists of fate" around it and rests on the statue of Basila. On one part of the “khoncha” (wooden platter), he pours the breadcrumbs of honey into the jar, "jam" and fills the burning candles. In Kartli, this New Year's “khoncha” is called "Abramian".


In Kartli and Kakheti, for the New Year, people have toasted bread, and they call it “Nazuqebi”. Each member of the family should be served one bread. On New Year's Eve, everyone packs their own “Nazuqi”. On New Year's Eve, “churchkhelas”, chives, and pork chops are served on the fridge and served with vodka and wine. At dawn the head of the family goes outside and walks round the house three times. While returning home, he congratulates family members on New Year's Eve and gives everyone one loaf of specially prepared bread.


Imereti is distinguished from other parts of Georgia with its cuisine and delicious dishes, this is most evident on New Year's table. Before coming of the trail-blazer, the head of the family will go round the house three times with a “Khoncha” full of food and fruits and the Lord will demand multiplication, health, good harvest and fortune. There are pork belly, barbeque, boiled hen, khachapuri, lobiani, ginger bread and sweet scones on the “khoncha”.


In Guria, as well as in Samegrelo, Christmas and New Year are called "Kalandoba". The New Year definitely feeds on pigs, baked gurian gingerbreads, with cheese and eggs, Nazuqebi, roasted “kupati”, “Satsivi”. The main attribute of “Kalandoba” is "chichilaki", which must be decorated. In New Year in Guria, the head of the family congratulates the family. As soon as the New Year comes, he will first visit the wine cellar and the barn, then enter the house with red wine and bless the country and family. On New Year's Eve in Guria, people, especially, children who sing traditional song “Alilo” go and sing, collecting sweets, money and fruit.

The most traditional gurian village of Basileti, where the first chichilaki was made, was waiting for the New Year peculiarly. Tradition was not broken in the village, and there was a chichilaki on the table, which was, as they say, like St. Basil's beard.

The Chichilaki dandelion is the sun rays of “Kalandoba”. Chichilaki itself is the sun. The Chichilaki was embelished with a cross, and was paved with the plush. The Gurians knew that one of the supreme gods of Olympus had overwhelmed Dionysus in order not to be burned in the fire of his enemies. The plush surrounding the Chichilaki, was bringing luck to the family’s dampness and life.


In Samegrelo the New Year is called "Kalandoba" and is met with the shots of a rifle. In the morning of the New Year, the head of the family goes out of the house, holds a decorated “Chichilaki” in his hands and performs a ritual, after which he enters the house, lands “Chichilaki” in the corner and sits at the New Year table with pork, “Khachapuri”, fruit and other food. Before breakfast, the New Year first visitor "sweet ageing" all the family members with sweets.

In Samegrelo, “Chichilaki”, made by hazelnut, is decorated with cotton and toys, and they put fruit and sweets, cooked pumpkin, “khachapuri”, “felamushi” and wine near it. In Samegrelo, the New Year first visitor is chosen with great caution and the family is carefully preparing to meet him.


In Adjara “Achma” and “Baqlava” are the necessary attributes of New Year's table. Throughout Georgia Cereals, and especially wheat are considered to be a symbol of fertility and good fortune, so in Adjara, crops are being thrown around the room and prayed for.


In Racha New Year celebration is very special. For the New Year they bake two "bachuli", one for the new year and the other for the old one. The housewives definitely bake a human-faced “Man-Basila”and a big loaf of "Keria-beria", which is coloured with the different faces. The head of the family will put these cakes on a table and keep them in the barn. In the morning, during the first crowing of the cock, "Makvrieli", or “Mekvle” (New Year first visitor), will light a fire. Then he goes outside, stabs the “nekeri”, grabs “Chichilaki” and enters the barn. Then he will come home with a prayer: “I stapped in, God bless you!. Happy New Yearof acquiring and profit, peace and well-being, having a baby son, more wine, abundance, ”and then go to bring the water. Everyone gets up before his return. “Mekvle” helps them to wash their faces and hands. At the breakfast, all members of the family will receive his "Keria-Beria".

“Mekvle” is blessing the family with wonderful words:“May Saint George, cover you with more power! May Saint Khotevi and Nikortsminda extend you! Agara and Ugheshi, May God give you a comfort. " If the “Mekvle” is good erring by the family, he will be elected for another three years. During these three years, “Mekvle” first congratulates the family with New Year by a wine jar, boiled ham, roasted chickens, small coins hidden in the apple, “Chichilaki” and a candle in a hand. He blesses the family, “Sabdzeli”, “Nalia”(Storage hut), and then marry-meeting begins. New Year's table in Racha is decorated with “Lobiani”, wine, ham, honey, nuts, “Tklapi”, dried fruits and apples.


The tradition of “Mekvle” is also important in Svaneti. On New Year's Eve, the Swans will pack up a variety of storage in “gideli” (plaited with the cane and clapboard, “earless” vessels) and hang them on the front doors of the house to get ready for the “Mekvle”. The “Mekvle” will knock on the door with their local dialect: "Open the door! I’m bringing God’s and King’s mercy, open the door for me." , While entering home, he will go round the fireplace three times, he will put the sweets and silver coins on the big bread with the cross, go to every senior and junior member of the familyand congratulate them a holiday.

On New Year's Eve, in Svaneti, they avoid to go for a visit.

Meat has an important place on the Svans’ Christmas table. Here Christmas is not celebrated without slaughter. A Calf, an ox is slaughtered, but most of all-a pig. There must be “Kubdari”, Khachapuri, Pkhali and millet on the Christmas table.

They traditionally boil a calf or a heifer’s shoulder, make pork “Kupati” and “Ziskhora”, which is an ancient Svan dish.


The New Year is called "NeYear" in the khevsuris local dialect and is met with great preparation. Families are distilling New Year's vodka, iconic cooks brewing beer. The hostess bakes New Year round loafs. The loaf for “Mekvle” is the largest, depicting a cross, a man, a ploughshare, a bull, a cow, a horse, barley, and more. During the baking the loaf for “Mekvle”, they are looking at it and whichever image it raises, that year will be wealthy. Then, for all the members of the family, the housewife bakes the "breads of fate", each with their sign and whose bread will rise during the baking, she or he is about to be fateful and fortunate. In the New Year, men gather in the shrine and here in the shrine’s hall, they spend time, in drinking and merry-making.

Author: David Chubinidze

Four winter resorts in Georgia that you should definitely visit

by Nancy Kikvadze

Georgia is among the best winter resorts in the Caucasus. Most importantly, its potential is growing every year in this regard.

We have new resorts, new ropes, highways and so on. All this gives the small country a chance to attract more winter lover tourist, which is of course directly linked to the growth of the country's economy.

By 2018 Georgia has 4 winter ski resorts: Gudauri, Mestia, Bakuriani, Goderdzi. There are numerous tours to all resorts.

How to get to Bakuriani?

Getting to Bakurin is about 2 hours from Tbilisi. Travelers take their own car or mini-bus to the resort. Micro buses run from Didube and Station Square. Before you arrive in Bakuriani, the road to Borjomi is always cleared of snow. The Bakuriani road is sometimes covered with snow or ice, so winter tires are essential when traveling by car. It is also possible to take a mini bus or train from the station square to Borjomi, and then split the Borjomi-Bakuriani "Kukushka". "Kukushka" is a small train that runs along the beautiful route to Bakuriani.

From 2018 it is envisaged to adhere to the European standards of Goderdzi and make the Alpine Botanical Garden there, as well as Adjara plans to add ski roads to the resort Gomardula.

Gudauri Resort is a 2 hour drive from Tbilisi. You can reach Gudauri by car or by micro bus. Micro buses depart from Didube bus station. The road to Gudauri is always cleared of snow and is easy to reach by any car. However, during heavy snowfalls the road is restricted and only anti-skid chains are permitted.

There is already a new track in Gudauri, which connects Kokhta hill with "Mitarbi", and a new cableway has been constructed in Mestia, so you will reach directly from the middle Mestia to Hatsvali.

Bakuriani is one of the most beautiful resorts in Georgia and in the world. It is located 1700 meters above sea level in Borjomi Gorge.

You don't really have to worry about vacationing here any time of the year, though of course it is distinguished as a mountain-ski resort.

Bakuriani has two sides for skiing, "Kokhtagora", which consists of two parts, is the highest point of skiing 2269 meters nd the highest point is 2702 meters.

Gudauri is the first resort in Georgia and the most advanced in the Caucasus in the direction of skiing. It is located on the slope of the Great Caucasus near the military road. In Gudauri it is possible to satisfy all kinds of customers, both for skiers on the paved roads as well as for freestyle skiers.

The tracks are also designed for both amateur and medium and professional athletes. Gudauri is the first in terms of height of access and number of tracks.

By 2019, construction of the first five-star hotel will be completed, before it will be a small town-type hotel.

The total length of the Gudauri highways is approximately 33 kilometers, the highest point being 3276 meters, and the access point 1283 meters.

Svaneti, in particular Mestia Resort, is truly a beautiful place at any time of the year. Around it are the largest peaks of the Caucasus, exactly

That is why Mestia is considered one of the most beautiful resorts in the world. The winter season does not have many visitors, but nonetheless the mountain - skiing,

Here you have the opportunity to go from the city center to the Hatsvali Mountain by ski lift. Mestia is represented by two mountains, Hatsvali and Tetnuldi.

The highest point of Tetnuldi is 3165 meters, the height of access is 895 meters, the total length of the tracks is 13, 4 kilometers.

The highest point of the track is 2348 meters, the height of access is 480 meters, the total length of the tracks is 5, 6 kilometers.

Mestia is a municipality located in western Georgia. It, like Svaneti as a whole, has an ancient history. Mestia is distinguished by its amazing, beautiful nature and abundance of cultural monuments. An unforgettable and unforgettable peak of Ushba, the beauty of Svaneti. Georgia's highest peak, snow-capped waterfalls and blue alpine lakes. Perhaps it was precisely these cascading glaciers and rocks that we should have called Mikhail Khergiani and other glorious Swan climbers called the "Rock Tiger". Svan towers, unique temples, and various household and religious artifacts are a very interesting, individual and of great historical and cultural value as part of a rich and diverse Georgian culture. It is noteworthy that Svan Towers used the famous Japanese animator Hayao Miyadaki in one of his famous animated films - "Laputa: Palace in the Sky". Mestia is a great place for mountain lovers both in summer and winter. There are mountain resorts in Hatsvali and Tetnuldi.

Mountainous Adjara and Goderdzi Pass is the youngest in this direction, as a mountain, It has been established as a ski resort since 2015.

The Goderdzi ski resort is located in the southwestern part of Georgia, at 2027 meters above sea level. It is 252 km from Tbilisi to Goderdzi and 109 km from Batumi. Due to its proximity to the Black Sea, this place is characterized by abundant rainfall, which makes the resort very attractive. Goderdzi Resort boasts impressive nature, breathtaking views, fresh air and diverse landscapes. One of the best for those who love snowboarding. Skating is possible in the alpine zone, often in coniferous forests and even in villages.

The ski resort of Goderdzi can be reached by car or taxi. Off-road vehicles are required in winter. The shortest road to Goderdzi will pass through Akhaltsikhe, though the Zarzma-Goderdzi section is closed in winter due to heavy snow and snow. It takes about 3 hours from Batumi to Goderdzi. Getting to Resort Goderdzi via Batumi will take about 10 hours, as the last section of the road from Batumi to Goderdzi is in poor condition.

Like all other resorts, Goderdzi is beautiful at any time of year. Hiking and cycling are possible in summer, as well as hiking in the alpine mountains and forests.

You can also visit the beautiful "Green Lake" nearby.

As for the winter season, the number of visitors to the resort increases every year, with the addition of ropes and tracks. Definitely take the time to visit this mountainous part of Adjara.

The highest point of Goderdzi is 2364 meters, the height of access is 664 meters, the total length of the tracks is 7, 3 kilometers.

Author: David Chubinidze

True all-rounder

by Nancy Kikvadze

The car shown at the Detroit auto show, which the creators somehow called the concept, had no futuristic details on the exterior or interior. Looking at the model, no one doubted that such a car would stand on a conveyor. The Japanese even talked about the technical components of the novelty.

At the time, on the line of future Nissan product news, the Pathfinder was the first to be called conceptual. The name-Pathfinder means a roadblock, a roadblock, which emphasizes the nature of the car.

In the third row of seats, in the Nissan Pathfinder model, can seat seven passengers freely.

The car is equipped with a 4.0-liter, 266 hp V6. The engine works with a five-speed automatic transmission. The Japanese have indicated that the new power plant is 25% more economical than its predecessor. The low mass of the car has played an important role in this, thanks to the new exterior design.

The appearance is better suited to the Nissan Pathfinder model status. The "folded" body, with a brand new optics, only costs a crossover on the asphalt more than a road warrior. By doing so, it is as if you will not cross the road into the woods. However, this is a misconception. The Nissan Pathfinder, no matter how lively, will move from the asphalt to the woods, and you can imagine it will serve you well in the highlands.

We saw the Nissan Pathfinder in real life in Georgia at the 1999 Master Rally. The Rally-Raid, which was founded by the Dakar Multiple Winner-Rene Metge, in extreme conditions, was a true test of the aforementioned car, which he successfully passed. In the hands of South African Ginniel de Villiers, the Nissan Pathfinder was not far from a prototype for specially designed roadblocks. He even won some special stages. During the Georgian stage of the Master Rally, participants had to walk along sandy roads in addition to the rocky sites, with the heat breaking out. All this, the Nissan Pathfinder has successfully endured and proved to be a true crossover, durable and reliable.

So, with the Nissan Pathfinder to see and spot interesting places, places in Georgia, it will be nice, because comfort and safety are guaranteed.

If you haven't traveled by car, know that this is the most comfortable, inexpensive and simple way to travel. A diverse network of highways, straight asphalt pavements, road signs, infrastructure-drivers are all here.

If you want to go off-road or city-wide, you will only need one toll that will perfectly overcome all obstacles, and this is the Nissan Pathfinder.

Imagine slowly rising above sea level. You start by exploring the historical places, then continue climbing: Mtskheta, Borjomi, Bakuriani. Then take the route uphill to the higher Bakhmaro and Kazbegi-Nissan Pathfinder if you want to be convinced of the power of this car and visit Georgia's historic sites where you can relax and continue on the road.

Author: David Chubinidze