The small town of Martvili lies in western Georgia, in the region of Samegrelo. As you walk through this picturesque town, your eye will inevitably be drawn to the monastery built on a spot overlooking the town. This is Chkondidi, a monastery raised by the King David Agmashenebeli (the Builder).
Distance to the location by road from:
3:45 hr
2:30 hr
0:55 hr

What to Do in Martvili

Martvili is seen as something of a cradle of culture in Georgia. Indeed, a product of Shakespeare’s “The Merchent of Venice” was first performed here in 1873, showing Europe’s growing cultural influence on the region.

To learn more about the town’s fascinating history, a visit to the Martvili Ethnographic Museum is in order. Here, the exhibits and guides can tell you about not only the town, but the region surrounding it as well.

Notable landmarks in and around the town include Salkhino Village and the Dadiani Summer Palace, where you can stroll along its broad avenue and imagine what it might have been like to see richly outfitted carriages bringing guests from across Europe in the 19th century. While at the palace, pay a visit to its beautiful wine cellar and sample a rose called Ojaleshi.

Martvili is also known for its waterfalls. While they may not be as famous as Niagara, Victoria, or the waterfalls in Switzerland, the Kaghu, Oniore, and Toba waterfalls make for an impressive sight. Each waterfall boasts a different backdrop, and each has its unique music enhanced by musicians playing chonguri, a local folk instrument, as they sing Megrelian songs.

At the bottom of each of these waterfalls is a small beach, where you’ll find cafes selling iced coffees and juices, as well as delicious Megrelian cuisine.

Activities Near Martvili

The nearby Martvili Valley is an excellent choice for lovers of canyoning and scuba diving. In fact, Martvili Canyon was named as the eight best place in the world for diving by ScubaDiving.com. This ranking was based on the quality of underwater photography, so if you’re a diver looking to snap unforgettable photos, you’re in for a treat!

Of course, the canyon isn’t just for divers. You can find opportunities for canyoning, abseiling, rock climbing, cliff jumping, swimming, and hiking throughout the canyon. It really is the region’s playground.

Hikers can also take additional hikes through places such as the Dzmuisi, Gvalashara, Intsra, or Okatse canyons, with instructors from special canyoning clubs available to guide you.

If extreme sports aren’t your thing, you can also try your hand at riding a Megrelian horse. Smaller but more hardy and intelligent than the more famous Arabian breed, these beautiful creatures are perfect for riding through the beautiful countryside of Samegrelo.

Your constant companion on this magnificent trip will be delicious Megrelian food and wine. Many sources attest that Megrelian wine enjoyed significant cachet among European travelers in the past. Chardin wrote in the 17th century that the delicious and nourishing Megrelian wine had no equal throughout all of Asia. The most significant region for Megrelian winemaking is indeed Martvili, both historically and due to its natural conditions. And, for what it’s worth, the first female winemaker, Salome Dadiani-Murat, was from Martvili.

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