The morning began with the Nazuca tortilla. Their recipe is simple: raisins, vanilla, sugar, eggs, cornmeal and stone oven. Their taste is incredible. Then try tzitska wine, which should be drunk from a chinchilla - a jug with a narrow neck - and have a bite of pickled eckala. This day will surprise us with culinary discoveries. In the meantime, let's explore the stalactite cave of Prometheus and the fantastic beauty of the Martvili canyon. Let's first revive the history of the kingdom of Colchis, the tale of the Golden Fleece and the Argonauts. Nukri invited us to his home. Tablecloth set in the garden. The wine was chilled in the well, women were cooking the dough for khachapuri in the kitchen, and wooden chops were crackled on the brazier. It was an incredible adventure!
We drove through a tunnel that runs under the ridge separating western and eastern Georgia. One of the peculiarities in west Georgia is the culture of pottery. There are quevi for drinking. This small jug is a copy of a large quevi, and it is made so that it could not put on a table. You only can to keep it in your hand and drink all the time.
We're in eastern Imereti. Bregoula is a paradise in a small village. Here are its traditions, customs, and peculiarities in food. For example, in Imereti, it is customary to drink wine from a small quevi. Kvevi is a huge jug, which is buried in the ground and in which wine is kept. And there's a little quevi. You only can keep it in hand, and it is not putable on the table - to drink all the time. This is what we saw in the ceramics market. They drink here a local wine called Tsitska. This white wine is known only here in the eastern Imereti - the ancient kingdom of Colchis. This wine was drunk by the famous Medea, and it was a cure. She knew not only the wine but also the herbs, could treat and rejuvenate and on her behalf Medea the word medicine happens. She was the daughter of Colchis king Meta and thanks to her, or rather the miraculous wine of Tsitske Jason and the Argonauts were able to beat the king and steal the Golden Fleece.
But it's not just the tzickas wine is the veritas! In these places, there is another dish, which is served to wine. This is Ekuala, a shrub in the woods. His spines are collected only in the spring. They are marinated, and the delicious additive to the citska is obtained.
And here is the famous ekyala, citska, and tortillas made of cornflour. When the citska is poured to the guests, it is poured into a small jug of the chinchil. Drinking from the chinchila can only be slow, because a narrow neck does not allow to tip over the flask with a volley. Slow drinking of citsky combined with ecpala, beautiful toast, hospitable feast and of course, delicious food did the trick. We were happy and well drunk. By the way, we realized that in Georgia, food is only a snack to wine, and not the other way around.
In the center of Kutaisi is the Colchis Fountain. It depicts various images of the myth of Jason and the Argonauts, their campaign for the golden fleece, the betrayal of Medea and the hospitality of the ancient Colkhs. The most famous image is a copy of an ancient statuette - Tamada. We'll meet him again in Tbilisi. The top of the fountain is decorated with the horses of King Aet - the father of Medea - the owner of the golden fleece. A figurine sitting with a wine horn in his hand is a tamada.
But as it turned out, it was not convenient to refuel wine in the queue for gas filling. A colleague left when the car drove up to the gas station. And so it turned out that the closer the vehicle to the gas station, the farther the colleague from the spill point. (From the table) In order not to disturb the symposium, the one who poured the wine had to follow the colleague. But soon the refueling process was over, and the company was reunited on the bus.
The descent into the cave takes place in groups of about 20 people with a local guide. The pedestrian well-equipped part is nearly a kilometer. The cave was opened to the public in 2010, and Mikheil Saakashvili was present at the ceremony. He said the Prometheus myth is related to the mountains around. According to Saakashvili, It was here that the eagle pecked the liver of a brave fire explorer, so the cave should be called the Cave of Prometheus. That's how the name was born.
The woman tour guide spoke loudly, succinctly, and clearly: This is the hall of Medea. The Hall of Medea is a symbolic name. In each stalactite or stalagmite, you can see some figure. There are also Gelektites, which are crooked or turned to the side because of the wind in the cave. The bones of a rocky bear were found in the cave. Now bats live here. There is no information about the presence of primitive people.
At the beginning of the journey in the cave, not many stone statues exist. So at first, it does not make a strong impression. But the deeper and further away from the entrance, the stone forms become more diverse, and the cave begins to open.
Many forms are named after the heroes of the Argonaut myth. Dinosaur footprints were found in caves nearby, and the dinosaur stalactite appeared here. There are stalactites Monk and many other others. Surprisingly, the names very accurately convey the shapes and outlines of these stone statues made by nature itself.
Closer to the exit, the path descends to the bottom of the cave, where the underground river flows. Here, because of the great depth and high humidity, stone sculptures have acquired a streamlined shape and resemble bronze sculptures.
Closer to the exit of the cave, there are two possibilities. One - to get out through a hundred and fifty-meter tunnel, or by boat on an underground river. These options are negotiated in advance when buying a ticket. The cost varies depending on the option you choose.
On the way, is a statue of a shepherd, who according to local legend, kept the secret of this cave for many years. A little further, you can see a small pond, where boats come along the underground river. There is also a bus stop, which returns to the entrance to the reserve of the Prometheus cave.
Taste the brewed coffee before entering the reserve. Some brew it in the cezve on the sand. The process is long and fragrant. This kind of coffee is very ancient. It goes back to the Bedouin tribes of Arabia, where, in the face of lack of firewood, used heated sand near the fire. Over time, this tradition of cooking was established in the Turkish Ottoman Empire and spread to the Caucasus.
The reserve has hiking trails, and boating walks along the marvelous part of the river, which is steeped in greenery, looping through mossy cliffs. The cost of the ticket varies. You can ship by boat or walk on the hiking trails. Or combine them. I highly advise you to include a boat ride.
The Abashi River washes the canyon. The Georgian chronicles of the 11th century mention the Arab invasion of Georgia in 735. It is said that this river blocked the path of the vanguard of Arab troops which included the Abbessins - Abashid-Abashi. Hence the name of the river - Abashi.
The river washed not only cascades in the rock but also washed the "swirl" in the stone on a sharp turn. When the water level drops, this swirl becomes visible, and it seems as if it is a large pipe going into the distance. When the water level in the river rises, it again washes out the rock, further amplifying the effect of the tube.
The height difference in the canyon is 12 meters. The Abashi River overcomes it with a cascade of waterfalls. On the row, with this, there is one high waterfall, which flows in the main riverbed.
Inflatable boats with boatman steering on the stern. Passengers row with one paddle, each with their own. Boatmen are usually friendly and happy to tell stories about the river, water, fish and floods.
According to one tradition, the name of the river comes from the word Aba, which means father on Semitic languages. The suffix Shea's means attraction. Something like "Daddy's River." According to another version, the name carries an ancient Persian root: ab, which means water.
These mesmerizing lakes with emerald water in the coolness of the liana forest were private possessions of the Dadiani genus - the rulers of Megrelia. The entire area of the Abashi River is part of Megrelia.
The Nukri family home. Nukri in Georgian means deer. Nukri's surname is Magradze. "Dze" is the ending corresponding to the origin of the Meskhs - the most significant ancient and strong tribe of the Georgian nation. The root of "magari" means hard, strong.
Homemade wine is chilled in the well. The water in the well is clean, cold, and a little sweet. On this water, people knead the dough, cook food and water pets. It was evening; the sun was setting low, its rays penetrated almost horizontally into the garden, lit the leaves, lay down on stumps at the gate, and the old well cuddled with them as if trying to hold it, like the last fortress, before the sun fell beyond the horizon.
In the house, women cooked khachapuri; the kebab was roasted on the grill. A big and stupid black dog, having liсked anyone and everyone tiredly lied down at the door. The rooster in the yard was a guard of chickens, and under the table, like a transformer booth, rumbling cat sited, shrouded in warmth, peace and love and appeasement scattered in the sunlight. Everyone sat down at a table in the garden. Nukri was in chief, next to his beloved aunt. Toasts were fleeing from the heart, and wine from the horn. And it was good, and it was evening.