kazbegi

Stepantsminda (Georgian: სტეფანწმინდა; formerly Kazbegi, ყაზბეგი), is a small town in the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region of north-eastern Georgia. Historically and ethnographically, the town is part of the Khevi province. It is the center of the Kazbegi Municipality.According to tradition, Stepantsminda, literally “Saint Stephan”, was named so after a Georgian Orthodox monk Stephan, who constructed a hermitage at this location on what later became the Georgian Military Highway.

Stepantsiminda is known for its scenic location in the Greater Caucasus mountains, and is a center for trekkers and mountain climbing. Local attractions include the Kazbegi Museum and Ethnographic Museum in town, and the Gergeti Trinity Church outside of town, as well as Mount Kazbegi itself and the alpine meadows and forests of the surrounding Kazbegi Nature Reserve.

Gergeti Trinity Church (Georgian: წმინდა სამება -) is a popular name for Holy Trinity Church near the village of Gergeti in Georgia. The church is situated on the right bank of the river Chkheri (the left tributary of the riverTerek), at an elevation of 2170 meters, under Mount Kazbegi.

The Gergeti Trinity Church is built in the 14th century, and is the only cross-cupola church in Khevi province. The separate belltower dates from the same period as the church itself. Its isolated location on top of a steep mountain surrounded by the vastness of nature has made it a symbol for Georgia. The 18th century Georgian author Vakhushti Batonishvili wrote that in times of danger, precious relics from Mtskheta, including Saint Nino’s Cross were brought here for safekeeping. During the Soviet era, all religious services were prohibited, but the church remained a popular tourist destination. The church is now an active establishment of the Georgian Orthodox and Apostolic Church

The church is a popular waypoint for trekkers in the area, and can be reached by a steep 3 hour climb up the mountain, or around 30 minutes by jeep up a rough mountain trail.

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