Georgia - Georgian Military Road, Stepantsminda (Kazbegi)

Georgian Military Road,  Stepantsminda (Kazbegi) - Georgia

Military Road is one of the most famous tourist attraction in Georgia. It connects Tbilisi with Vladikavkaz. It used to be very important economic and military road. Georgian and Russian border was closed in 2006. The road was only tourist attraction for a couple of years. The border was opened in 2013 and many Armenian trucks go to/from Russia. Georgian military road is very scenic and there are many attractions on the way:
  • Zhinvali Reservoir - scenic view on lake surrounded by mountains. 
  • Ananuri fortress complex . There is a church with beautiful frescoes (XVII century) in the complex. 
  • Jvari pass (Cross pass) is a high mountain pass ( 2 379m asl). Breathtaking view on Caucasian mountains. 
  • Russia–Georgia Friendship Monument in Jvari Pass erected in 1983 r. It is a mural with scenes of Georgian and Russian history. It’s also good place to enjoy views on the mountains. 
  • Sulfur waters near Jvari 
  • Georgian military road is an attraction itself.
 There are many marshrutka from Didube bus station in Tbilisi to Stepantsminda. Marshrutka goes directly without any stops. It cost 10 lari. You need to take tourist bus (25 lari) to enjoy mention above attractions. The bus departures from Didube bus station at 9 am. A driver hooks foreign tourist at the station.

Stepantsminda is very tourist town. There are many homestays in the town. We paid 65 lari for double room with bathroom. We booked 3 nights in the homestay.

Stepantsminda is starting point for some treks. The most famous is 5-days trekking to Kazbek (5054 m. asl). The most popular trekking route is heading to Cminda Sameba. The church was founded in XIV century and it is well visible from the town. It is easy to miss the trail in the town. Don't forget to take your mobile with offline maps (openstreet map with application is recommanded). It takes 2 hours to go to the church. If you have time you may trek to view point on Kazbek, extra 1,5 h.

We went to Truso Valley next day. It is one of the most beautiful valley I have ever seen. It takes 5 hours to go through the valley.  You need to hire a taxi to go to beginning of the valley (good option for 3 and more people) or join one-day excursion organised by local travel agency.  I recommend We paid 30 lari per person.