Kartli region is the largest of Eastern Georgia and the historical fundamental of united Georgia. The name also comes from Kartlos, the mythic Georgian ethnarch. Currently, the territory divided into two administrative regions is a remnant of the historical Kingdom of Kartli, in Greek the same as the Kingdom of Iberia. The capital city first was Mtskheta, then Tbilisi. The religious, political and cultural unification of Georgia took place around this central region and after when the country was united, Kartli became the center of Georgia.

Due to its importance, the region is rich in historical sights and cultural heritage. Nature is also different because of its territorial size. The Uplistsikhe cave town, old Mtskheta and Tbilisi completely reflect the development of the history of Kartli. Currently, according to the administrative distribution, Tbilisi is an independent unit, and Mtskheta is part of the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region.

What to see in Kartli region


Uplistsikhe caves

city engraved in rock, one of the oldest settlements of Caucasus and city center. It is first mentioned in written sources in the VII century. A group of archeological and architectural monuments are preserved in Uplistsikhe and its surroundings, the oldest of which dates back to the Early Bronze Age.

Uplistsikhe cave - kartli region what to see- tours in Georgia

Bolnisi Sioni (V)

Georgian architect of earlier Feudal Era is distinguished for strict monuments of interior. For the first time in Georgian architecture, there are also relief sculptural images (bull's head, various birds and animals), which are related to the pre-Christian era, but assimilated by the Christian faith.

Bolnisi Sioni - Kartli region -  Tours in Georgia

Gori castle

Historic fortress in Kartli, in the center of Gori, on a high rocky hill. Ruins and archeological data on the northern slope testify that there was a strong castle and population around it. "Gori Fortress" is first mentioned in sources in the XIII century.

Gori castle - Tours in Georgia - Kartli region

J. Stalin museum

Museum of Ioseb Stalin, Leader of Soviet Union in Gori, Georgia was established in 1937. The museum is of historic classification.

Stali ni museum in Gori - Kartli region - Tours in Georgia

Dmanisi museum

Dmanisi Historical-Architectural Museum-Reserve was established in 1983. Here is a medieval town and a geological layer dating back 1.8 million years. Five hominid skulls have been found in the town of Dmanisi since 1991.


Dzama gorge

Up to 50 cultural heritage monuments, old and new churches-monasteries, castles, towers, outstanding historical and natural monuments - this wealth of Georgia is located in the Dzama gorge. It is about 160-170 km drive from Tbilisi.

Dzama gorge in Kartli region Georgia

Ateni Sioni

Cross-domed church of the first half of the 7th century. It is located 12 km from Gori, in the Ateni gorge, on the left bank of the river Tana, on the edge of a flying rock, on a platform fortified by a retaining wall.

Ateni sioni in Kartli region Georgia
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Short History

Kartli is a territory where the eastern and western cultures of Georgia have united. Traces of settlement are confirmed from the Early Bronze Age. There were developed farming, cattle breeding, metallurgy and ceramics.

In the 4th-3rd century AD, the United Kingdom of Iberia was created under the leadership of King Parnavaz. The center of Iberia at that time was the city of Mtskheta. Started the creation of the first Georgian script and monuments of idolatry.

In 65 BC Roman Pompey invaded Kartli and conquered it. After that Iberia established military and trade relations with Rome. The Kingdom was obliged to close and protect the roads coming from the North Caucasus. In the I-III centuries, this relationship was further strengthened.

Feudal relations have been established in Kartli since the 4th century. Christianity is declared the state religion and begins the construction of a new capital city -Tbilisi. The construction started by King Vakhtang Gorgasali was completed by his son in the VI century. The capital city moved from Mtskheta to Tbilisi.

The development of the region, as well as the whole country, was hindered by the domination of the Arabs and the Turks in Georgia.  This period lasted from the VII century until 1121 when in the legendary battle of Didgori the greatest king David the Builder defeated the Turkish army. In 1122, Tbilisi was liberated and became the capital of united Georgia.

The era of strength and independence did not last long. From the 13th century, the country was again weakened by battles with new enemies. After the fall of the Byzantine Empire, Georgia was completely cut off from the countries of the West. Georgians turned to Russia for help in the fight against the Ottoman Empire. At first, Russia falsely maintained friendly relations, but in 1801 it violated the treaty of patronage and Georgia joined the Russian Empire.

Until independence, the entire country was annexed to the Russian Empire and then to the Soviet Union.