Glacier summit is located in northern Georgia, on the side plateau of Kavkasioni, on the border with Russia. Its height is 5033 meters. It is the highest summit of eastern Georgia. The local population calls it Bride of the Gorge, neighbor Tusheti residents call it Lion and residents of Pshavi – Ghergheti. For the Russians the summit is known as Kazbek and for the Ossetians – Urskhokhi (Snow Mountain).

The Glacier summit is a dormant volcano that according to the opinion of some scientists last erupted 6 thousand years ago. Here lava torrents flow down in three directions – south, east and north-east. The summit is covered with glaciers which roll down on rather big distance. According to literature sources, the summit was first climbed in 1799 by Father Joseph (Pavlenishvili) who arranged a station here and preached Christianity for two decades. It is also known that in 1868 a famous British mountain climber Douglas Freshwild climbed the summit. Scientific research of glacier summit started in 1923 when the first Georgian expedition took place.

The Ghergheti glacier spreads to the southeastern knee of the glacier summit. Its length is 7,1 km (the longest in Georgia) and area is 11 sq. km. The tongue of the glacier goes down to 2900 meters above the sea level. In its vicinity is situated a high-mountain meteorological station of  Kazbeghi which was founded 70 years ago. Here was registered the lowest temperature in Georgia (-420C) which can be explained by the height of the site (3700 m above the sea level) and the influence of Ghergheti glacier. On the boundary of Ghergheti glacier there is one mythological and one historical monument (Ghergheti Sameba). Mythology tells the story of the Bethlehem cave and Amiran chained at Kavkasioni. As the narrative goes, God has chained Amiran to the rock exactly here and ‘Capped him with snowy and icy Ghergheti and Kazbeghi Mountain’.

Ghergheti Sameba (Trinity) is located in Stepan¬tsminda region, on the right bank of river Chkheri (right inflow of river Terek), 1800 meters above the sea level. By its fusion with the landscape and attractive composition, cathedral is the outstanding specimen of the Georgian religious architecture. It is placed on the summit of a high mountain in a way that can be easily read from river Terek gorge. Ghergheti Sameba is the most important house of worship for the residents of the gorge province and the only dome church in the mountain areas of eastern Georgia. Complex was built on the order of king of Georgia, Giorgi V Brilliant (1318-1346), at time when he enacted a special Collection of Laws ‘Dzeglisdeba’ for the mountain area residents and facilitated consolidation of Christianity after a century of Mongol domination and ensuing unrest. The architectural complex is encircled with a fence and includes Sameba dome cathedral (20-ies of XIV c.), a belfry (second half of XIV c.), trial chamber (XV c.; according to the old rite of mountains, the council of elders held sessions here and it was a decision-making panel regarding all vital issues in tribe’s life). Cathedral was built of andesite rectangular square cut stone. Facades of the two-floor belfry of the cathedral and a neck of the dome are ornamented. As per report of Vakhushti Bagrationi, during hostilities Catholicos’s attires and a Cross of St. Nino from Mtskheta were brought for safe-keeping to Ghergheti Sameba.
Number of passengers Number of dates Price
(per person)
(per person) with guide
2 2 1 $50 $75 $120
3 3-4 1 $40 $55 $100
4 5-6 1 $30 $40 $80
5 7-10 1 $25 $30 $50
6 11-15 1
$25 $40
7 16 and more 1
$20 $35




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