The monastery of Gergeti Sameba in the Kazbegi highlands is one of the most iconic places one can visit in the whole South Caucasus.
It is one of the most visited sites, most photographed sites, and most beloved sites of Georgians and tourists alike. Once one arrives, it's not difficult to understand why: the 13th stone church stands atop a cliff some 1500 feet above the village of Gergeti, with the majestic 15,500 conical peak of Mount Kazbegi rising directly behind it.
Every year hundreds of people climb to the top of Mount Kazbegi, a trip of some 4-5 days that requires 24 hours of acclimatization at a weather station at 12,000 feet altitude. But hundreds of thousands of people climb to Gergeti Sameba monastery. They go to give prayers, they go to breathe fresh air, they go to imagine life hundreds of years ago... and many go with no reason at all. It is simply the pull of the mountains. The pull to climb higher, go further, see beautiful landscapes, and feel what it means to be alive.