Join our Jeep tour!
- Visit to Skhalta monastery
- Visit to khikani fortress
- Picnic at the mountain Shuamta lakes
- Challenging off-road pieces
- Beautiful scenery
- Drive the GAZ69 yourself
* Smaller tours are also possible uppon request
There is no doubt that the UAZ is the most legendary vehicle produced in the Soviet Union. This vehicle is legendary for its dependability and off-road capabilities. It was used by the Red Army and gained huge popularity in former Soviet and Eastern European countries.
Besides being a powerful off-road car, it’s very easy to fix. Almost every village driver knows how the car works, and there is always someone who can fix it.
Off-road enthusiasts enjoy driving and maintaining UAZs in the mountainous region of Adjara, which is a real test for a car’s capabilities.
We offer our tour participants the opportunity to drive the legendary car on their own under the guidance of our experienced drivers and guides on a flat area.
Skhalta (Georgian სხალთა) is a Georgian Orthodox monastery and cathedral church in Adjara (Georgia) built in the middle of the 13th century. This is a large hall church with fragments of wall paintings from the 14th or 15th centuries in the Byzantine style.
Skhalta is the only medieval church in Adjara that survived both the Ottoman and Soviet periods and became operational again in 1990. It is currently the residence of the Georgian Orthodox Bishop of Skhalta.
The Skhalta monastery is located on a hill in the river valley of the same name, in the village of Kinchauri, Khulo municipality, on the road that connected Adjara with Artani (modern Ardahan, Turkey) in the Middle Ages.
Written sources on Skhalta are scarce. The legend attributes the construction of the church to Queen Tamara. Modern research dates the church to the middle of the 13th century. At that time, the Skhalta valley was the possession of the Abuseridze family.
There is also the possibility of seeing human skeletons in Skhalta Monastery. These skeletons were discovered by archaeological excavations around the Skhalta Monastery, and were then interred in the Skhalta Church. They belonged to the clergy who worked in the Skhalta Monastery.
About Khikhani fortress
Khikhani Fortress Historical Facts
The exact date of building Khikhani fortress is unknown, but most of scientists think it was built in the X-XIII centuries. Khikhani fortress was one of the most important fortresses in Adjara. The castle is strategically located in a very convenient location, as it has one pedestrian access from the south-eastern side. It used to be a shelter for the local lords.
The fortress used to be the main residence of the noble Abuseridze family in the late middle ages. The ruler of Adjara, Selim Khimshiashvili, fighting against Ottoman Empire was hiding at some point in Khikhani. There are several layers in the building blocks of the castle: ancient (X-XI century’s period), and new ones (XVII-XIX century’s period, Ottoman ownership period).
In the historical documents, it is stated that the completion of the construction of Khikhani fortress was guided by Tbel Abuseridze’s wife – Bagula. However, also the legend exists, according to which the building of the fortress is assigned to King Tamar – Georgia’s only female king.
The fortress used to have a secret underground passage. Recently, 43 clay pots (“Qvevri”) have been discovered by archaeologists underneath the Khikhani fortress. The newly-discovered wine cellar dates back to the 11-13th centuries.
Nowadays, only ruins are preserved from this formerly inaccessible building: four rectangular towers, a brick wall, a bakery, wine cellar, a water well, and St. George’s Church. The fortress had the curtain wall, some parts of which are nowadays destroyed.
Located at a height of 2,150 meters above sea level, within Khulo municipality, you will find five lakes concealed amidst lush vegetation. Of these, three are notably large while the remaining two are relatively small. These aquatic gems can be found in the summer grazing lands of Shuamta village, merely an hour’s stroll from Beshumi.
The journey to reach them, specifically the Chirukhi – Shuamta route, commences near Chirukhi mountain, situated 92 km from Batumi. It meanders through alpine fields situated in the alpine zone, concluding at the Shuamta lakes. The onset of this path presents breathtaking vistas of alpine meadows adorned with tiny wooden dwellings. Here, you can rest for the night and savor the area’s traditional cuisine.
So, what sights await you? The Shuamta Lakes, enveloped by expansive fields and rolling hills, present an idyllic location for hiking and relaxation. From Shuamta, atop a towering cliff, your eyes can feast on the medieval Khikhani fortress. This ancient stronghold narrates tales of nobility, countless battles, and a clandestine tunnel.
As local lore suggests, the Shuamta lakes are also home to muses. Their mystical aura becomes palpable particularly when the vicinity is draped in fog. Regardless of your belief in the supernatural, spending time by these lakes is guaranteed to leave you feeling inspired and rejuvenated. The splendor of nature possesses such an extraordinary power, after all!