After breakfast explore Kutaisi including Bagrati Cathedral. If we can, we will hear some local polyphonic singers performing. Continue visit at a local agricultural market and then on to Gelati Monastery. Before dinner we will have a short lesson on Georgian language and script. Overnight in Kutaisi.
Overnight in Best Western Kutaisi, Kutaisi
Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner
Kutaisi is Georgia’s second largest city and has a history that dates back to 2000 BC, when it served as the capital city of the Kingdom of Colchis. Ottoman forces conquered the city in the early 16th century, but it was reclaimed by the Georgian king in 1770. The city possesses two UNESCO World Heritage sites and sits on the banks of the Rioni river.
The Gelati Monastery, founded by beloved Georgian ruler David IV (also referred to as ‘’David the Builder’’), consists of the main Church of the Virgin, the Church of St. George, the Church of St. Nicholas and a bell tower. The Academy building recalls the monastery’s history as a cultural centre of ancient Georgia, which attracted great scientific and philosophical minds. Murals and mosaics, some of which date back to the 12th century, cover the spacious interior of the buildings, arching over windows, pressing backwards into alcoves and reaching the highest stretches of the vaulted ceiling. Despite damage from invasion and feuds, visitors can still admire the detailed enamel and metal work from a bygone era.
Perched on a mountain that overlooks Kutaisi is the 11th century Bagrati Cathedral. Also known as The Cathedral of the Dormition, this building was completed during the reign of King Bagrat III, a man who is considered the first king of a unified Georgia. The cathedral lay in ruins for over 300 years after invading Ottomans destroyed it. Finally restored in 2012, Bagrati Cathedral now showcases medieval and modern Georgian architectural styles.
The roots of the word polyphonic translate as ''many sounds.'' Polyphonic singers are able to simultaneously produce a fundamental tone with an audible overtone. Polyphonic singing in Georgia is a popular and treasured secular tradition, though the musical style varies by region. Over time, polyphonic singing became ingrained into everyday life; polyphonic songs were sung by workers in the fields and by citizens hoping to cure illnesses, and the technique eventually carried over to hymns.