Bordered by Russian Federation Republics of North Ossetia, Ingushetia and Chechnya from the north and Georgian regions of Kakheti and Shida Kartli from the east and south, Mtskheta-Mtianeti region, with the total area of 6.8 thousand sq. kilometers and 125 thousand inhabitants, makes up about 10 and 3.2% of the country’s total land and population respectively. The region comprises 5 administrative districts: Akhalgori, Dusheti, Tianeti, Mtskheta and Kazbegi. Hostorically it covered the provinces of Khevi, Ertso-Tianeti, Pshavi, Khevsureti, Mtiuleti, Gudamakari and partially Ksani Gorge.
Mtskheta-Mtianeti is one of the most picturesque and diverse lands in Georgia. It hosts 3500 and 5000 m high snowy peaks of the Greater Caucasus and mountain passes, beautiful gorges, secluded lakes and alpine valleys. The Caucasus Mountains in Khevi and Khevsureti are particularly scenic. Steep slopes descending into the Aragvi valley are one of the most unmatched beauties encountered anywhere in the world. Jvari – one of the passes over the Caucasus range – is located on the picturesque Georgian military road and historically served to link Georgia with the North Caucasus. This delightful province has greatly inspired both outstanding Georgian writers and poets and numerous foreign travelers and adventure seekers, which is particularly evident in the works of Russian writers.
Mtskheta was both the ancient capital of the country and the cradle of Georgian civilization. Oldest settlements in Mtskheta and the area designated as Greater Mtskheta are traced back to the Early and Middle Bronze Ages (III-II millennia BC). Already in the Later Bronze and Early Iron Ages (II-I millennia BC) these lands were densely populated (Samtavro, Zemo Avchala, Tsitsamuri, Narekvavi, Tserovani, Nabaghrevi burial sites and settlements). In the Bronze and Iron Ages communication between the settlements and the synchronic centers of the Caucasian civilization was realized through Samtavro. By the end of the 4th c. BC Mtskheta became the political center of the newly established Kingdom of Kartli (Iberia). Its advantageous location on the hub of international trade routes alongside Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers facilitated overall development of the town. Mtskheta was not only the political center of the country. It was also the place that can be regarded as cradle of Georgian Christianity and religious hearth of the Georgian lands until the 12th. c.AD. The whole Mtskheta-Mtianeti region served and still serves to protect both the northern border and hold the century-long traditions and customs of the country. A number of provinces like Khevi and Pirikita (Outer) Khevsureti remain without any communication with the rest of the country every winter. It can be, therefore, regarded as ultimate heroism that they endlessly fought to defend the northern borders of Georgia.
The climate in the lowlands of Mtskheta-Mtianeti Region is moderately humid, with mildly cold winters and long, warm summers. Average annual temperature ranges 11 C to below zero in Januaries. The lowest temperature was recorded at -30 C, while the highest +39 C. The highlands are characterized by moderately humid climate usual in mountains with no summer. Climate in the areas above 3300-3400 m are characterized with abundant snow and glaciers. Up to the elevation of 2350 m average annual temperature is up to 0 C and significantly lowers above the mark. Most precipitation occurs in spring, especially in May. Winters are marked with a lot of snow in virtually all the region. While the height of snow cower is insignificant in the lowlands, it can go up to 3.5 m in some parts of the mountains. Kazbegi area that is located at 2600-3600 m above the sea never experiences real summer. The lands above 3600 m are covered with eternal snow and glaciers and the precipitation here is mainly snow. Annual level of precipitation ranges between 650-1000 mm and snow usually covers the land during 5-7 months a year.
Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia, is now the administrative center of Mtskheta-Mtianeti Region. Numerous historical monuments are scattered around this small picturesque settlement of about 10 thousand inhabitants, and have caused Mtskheta deserve its title as one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites and the most important travel destinations in Georgia. Mtskheta is advantageously positioned in only 20 km from the capital Tbilisi.
Gudauri is situated on the Georgian military road near the Cross Mountain Pass of the main Caucasus range, in about 120 km from Tbilisi. Even in winters with relatively little snow Gudauri offers stable snow cover from November through May. Average snow height on the slopes reaches 1.5 m. In spite of the fact that Gudauri is located at 2000 m from the sea level warm, sunny and quiet weather still prevails. Gudauri skiing routes offer abundant skiing possibilities to all categories of skiers. Both beginners and professional sportsman will enjoy the downhill runs here. Gudauri offers four types of runs: slalom, giant slalom, super giant and downhill racing, all approved by the FIS. Total length of runs in Gudauri is 16 km. Gudauri is also a summer destination. It offers following tourism activities: trekking tours in Truso and Khada Valleis, horseback riding, bird watching, rafting and etc. The resort offers 8 hotels. 4 guest houses and 3 family houses with total of 669 beds.