We left the guest house in Stepantsmida about 9:00 and spent the rest of the day driving west towards our destination of Kutaisi, Georgia’s second largest city. We stay here tonight and then head northwest back up into the mountains to the Russian border town of Mestia for more high country hiking.
Russia-Georgia Friendship Monument
Located on the Georgia Military Highway between the ski resort town of Gudauri and the Jvari pass, the Russia–Georgia Friendship Monument or Treaty of Georgievsk Monument is large round stone and concrete structure overlooking the Devil’s Valley in the Caucasus mountains. Inside the monument is a large tile mural that spans the whole circumference of the structure and depicts scenes of Georgian and Russian history. The monument was built in 1983 to celebrate the bicentennial of the Treaty of Georgievsk and the ongoing “friendship” between Soviet Georgia and Soviet Russia. Our Georgian guide, Sofia was born in 1983 and has survived three wars with the Russians . . . so she is not a fan of the monument! Although she does not support its destruction as some do, she does believe information about the true history between the two countries should be on display.