Have you ever wondered whether you should visit Kutaisi or not, which is the second largest city in Georgia, and the old capital of the Colchis Kingdom? The entire world knows the legend about the Golden Fleece, but very little know that the river Rioni mentioned in the legend, the river that passes through Kutaisi, is located in Georgia. And there is a very good reason this river got mentioned by the legend, and that is the fact that people used to look for gold in it. The method for extracting gold from the river led to the legend of the Golden Fleece, as locals used sheep skins, placed across the flow of the river, leaving them in the water for hours. They then later returned to comb the gold dust out of the skins; this is why the Golden Fleece is the symbol representing a sheep’s skin covered gold.

Kutaisi, Georgia
Kutaisi, Georgia
Kutaisi
Central square in Kutaisi, Georgia

Leaving the legends and going back to the actual history of the city, Kutaisi was rather sought after during its history. Since 780s it was the capital of the Colchis Kingdom, due to its rich and fertile grounds, cold and fresh springs, and lush green forests. Starting with the last part of the 10th century, Kutaisi became the capital of the united Georgian kingdom, and remained this way for 150 years. In the 15th century, Kutaisi became the capital of the Imeretiaნ Kingdom, as the Imeretian area was cut out from the Georgian Kingdom and became an independent region. In the 17th century, the city was conquered by the Turks, just to be released in the 18th century by the Russians. In the 20th century, Russia transformed the little city of Kutaisi into a very important industrial center of the country. Even though today the industrial side of Kutaisi does not exist anymore, the city still remains the second as importance in Georgia.

Prometheus Cave near Kutaisi, Imereti region of Georgia
Prometheus Cave near Kutaisi, Imereti region of Georgia

So, seeing the short history of Kutaisi it is easy to tell that the area is filled with history, as everybody wanted to consider this city the capital of their kingdom, due to its position and natural riches. If you decide to come to Georgia, you should visit Kutaisi because there are many things to see and visit in the city and around it as well. The list of objectives that can be seen in this area is quite extensive, so make sure you reserve sufficient time to see everything you want. The Bagrati Cathedral is one amazing objective, built in the 11th century and representing one of the most authentic examples of Georgian architecture. The Prometheus and Sataplia caves, located in the Imereti Protected Areas, are also natural monuments that are worth being visited. The Gelaty Monastery, a monastic complex dating back from the medieval times, located close to Kutaisi, is another interesting objective to visit. It was built in 1106 by King David the IV of Georgia, the king being buried at this location, and it is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, due to its rich history and traditional architecture. These are only a few of the things you can see if you visit Kutaisi, so make sure not to miss this city while in Georgia.

Gelati Kutaisi
Gelati
Gelati Kutaisi
Medieval frescoes in Gelati