Beginning in the village of Lower Mleta, this eight kilometre hike begins with a church and ends with a monastery. You’ll start your day at the Lomisa St George Church, which was built in 1876. The beautiful White Aragvi River is visible from your starting point.
From here, an approximately two-hours hike uphill will bring you to Lomisa Monastery. Make sure you have drinking water and something to cover you head, especially in the hot weather!
It is important to bear in mind that while the route is safe, wandering from the path into the Ksani Valley brings you into territory controlled by the Russian Federation and guarded by Russian soldiers.
It is said that when it was decided that a church should be built there, on the watershed of the Ksani and the Aragvi, a quarrel arose between the inhabitants of the Ksani Valley and the Aragvi Valley over which way the church’s door should face. In the end it was decided that the door would face Ksani, but the key would be entrusted to the people of the Aragvi Valley.
Like many historic sites in Georgia, Lomisa has a fascinating legend attached to its foundation.
In the 13th century, Jalal al-Din took 7,000 Aragvians captive. The Aragvians took the icon of St. George with them. As long as the icon and the Aragvians were captured, there was no harvest in Khwarazm, nor did the cattle breed. The freed captives took the icon back on a bull. The bull finally stopped on Mleta Mountain, where the church was built.
You will also see an iron chain in the church. It is said that if you put it across your neck and go around the church, your wish will come true.
The Wednesday of the seventh week after Easter is the ancient church holiday of Lomisoba. The believers walk uphill barefoot, bringing the gifts and sacrifices with them, and pray for their wishes to come true.