Mtskheta was home to the first Christian church in Georgia, now the cathedral of Svetitskhoveli, which was built over the tomb of Sidonia, a woman who died clutching the robe of Christ. She is said to have been buried with it.

Mtskheta was the capital of the eastern Georgian kingdom of Iberia from the third century BC to the fifth century, during which Georgia adopted Christianity. Mtskheta remains the headquarters of the Georgian church, and its Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is a Unesco World Heritage site.

But Mtskheta boasts more than one church, and the town seems surrounded by monasteries. Among them are the Zedazeni Monastery and Fortress, Shiomgvime Monastery (sixth century) and the Samtavro Monastery Complex (wonderful frescoes and a three-story belfry).

It's worth driving up to the sixth-century Dzhvari or Cross church, which offers wonderful views. Mtskheta is 13 mi/20 km north of Tbilisi.

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