Gergety Trinity Church
We continued driving along the Military Highway towards our final destination of Stepantsmida, a town of about 2000 residents. We passed two ski areas along the way, and although the highway was uncrowded and in good condition we didn’t arrive into the town until 4:30 in the afternoon. Once checked into the guest house, we drove back down into the town at the point we would begin our hike up to the church.
We hiked 1200 feet straight up to the Gergeti Trinity Church and had views below to the town and of Mount Kazbergi, a snow covered dormant volcano that towers to 16,512 feet. Although it was a sunny warm afternoon at the beginning of the hike, as we reached the church we encountered strong winds and driving rain.
The church was built in the 14th century and is at an elevation of 7,120 feet. It was built on top of the mountain above the village to give the resident monks time to escape with or hide their valuable icons from invading Mongol troops.
By the time we completed our informal tour, it was raining and getting windier so we were able to call for a ride back down into town. Hiking uphill in adverse conditions is one thing but hiking down in wind and rain can lead to trouble. Tomorrow we head south then west to Georgia’s second largest city, Kutsiai.