Kintrishi Protected Areas cover the Kintrishi Strict Nature Reserve (established in 1959) and Kintrishi Protected Landscape (established in 2007). Kintrishi Protected Areas are located in Achara, Kobuleti District, at a distance of 360 km from Tbilisi, in the breathtaking gorge of the Kintrishi River between the village of Tskhemlovana and the mount of Khino. Lower border of Kintrishi Protected Areas stretches at 300 m above sea level, and the upper one borders on Alpine pastures 2,500 m. The Kintrishi Protected Areas are located between the Black Sea and the mountain system of Achara-Imereti. These mountains hold up humid air of the sea thus stipulating to high humidity of Kintrishi climate. During the whole year here comes the same amount of precipitation (3000 mm) as in the coast of Achara. Mean air temperature of August is +24 C, and of January +4 C.
Mountain relief of Kintrishi Strict Nature Reserve is rugged due to deep gorges. The Kintrishi River – the main water artery of the Strict Nature Reserve begins from the Mount of Khino and flows into the Black Sea near the resort of Kobuleti. Its total length is 45 km. Other rivers and streamlets of the Strict Nature Reserve are as follows: Kheknara, Peranga, Mamedaghi, Didghele, Misanatisghele with charming waterfall of 30 meters, Bolkvadzeebisghele and Chrdila with two-step waterfall of 70 m height, which are the tributaries of the Kintrishi River. In the high mountains at a height of 2200 m there are two small lakes – the Tbikeli and Sidzerdzali Lakes, the total area of which do not exceed 1, 5 ha. The first of them is located directly in the territory of the Strict Nature Reserve, and the other – beyond its borders.
There are two main trails: One day trail “Tamara arch bridge” and Two days trail “Yew and Lake Tbikeli” Tourist trails are located 300-2,000 meters above sea level. Picnic and camping places are arranged along trails, fire spots are also allocated. Visitors can visit the area at any time of the year.
Route 1: One day trail “Tamara arch bridge” is 1.2 km, 1.5 h by foot grade easy
Main sightseeing: arched bridge, Tskhemvani St. Giorgi Church, box-tree stands
The trail begins at the arched stone bridge on the Kintrishi River in the village ofTskhemvani. This building belongs to the second period (XI-XII) of the flourishing age of architecture (the development of stone constructions) and is regarded as a monument of the Rustaveli epoch. According to one legend, it is called Tamari Bridge.
The trail continues from the stone arched bridge to the visitor shelter lying in the green nature, where visitors can get full information about the trail, learn about safety rules and get a trail map. The area is robed with mixed forest (chestnut, beech, hornbeam) stands. Visitors can use camp and picnic spots. The shelter has a hotel where visitors can have a rest, overnight or rent a horse.
The trails head to Tskhemvani St, Giorgi church, which started functioning in 2005. Initially, there was a Fathers’ Monastery, but since 2010 it has been transformed into a Maternal Monastery. Liturgy is often held there. Prayers especially visit from every corner of Georgia on Christian days. Visitors can see ancient wine pitchers.
The trail continues to old box-tree stands, with a height of 10-12 m and diameter of 16-21 cm.; the forest is more than 300 years. The RushaviRiver flows along the box-tree stands and at the end of the trail the waterfall breaks the silence. The length of the path from the arched bridge is approximately 600 m (total – 1,200 m).
Route 2: Two days trail “Yew and Lake Tbikeli” is 37 km, 2 days, by foot or horse riding, grade average
Main sightseeing: old yew trees, Khinotsminda church ruins, Lake Tbikeli
The route starts from theTskhemvani Visitor Shelter and heads to the village of Khino through the villageofDidvake, where we come across old giant yew stands, which are one of the relict species of the tertiary period and which are included in the Georgian Red List. Yew is the only coniferous species whose fruit are not cones. Except for its fruit, every part is poisonous and it includes essential oil and such substances that are poisonous to animals. German scientists consider this yew as 30-40 centuries old.
Afterwards the trail continues to the ruins of the Ninotsminda Church in the village ofKhino, which belongs to the VIII-IX centuries with its construction techniques and masonry formation. Some of the wall fragments reach 2-3 meters. According to the measurements (18X10), the church might be considered a relatively large building. The architecture of the KhinotsmindaChurch reveals signs of relatively late Georgian basilica. Nowadays KhinotsmindaIoaneNatlismtsemeliChurch is functioning and is 44 km from Kobuleti. Visitors can have a rest there and use the picnic spot.
After some break, the visitors can continue on the way to Lake Tbikeli through untouchable chestnut and beech forest, which is located at an altitude of 1900-2000 meters. The lake has an elongated, oval shape, with a depth of 7-8 meters. It is fed by atmospheric precipitation, fused snow and ground waters. In winter the lake is covered by snow and ice and is inhabited by Caucasian Newt, which are included in the Red List. The trail distance from the ruins of the church to the lake is 12 km.
The tourist shelter on the protected area includes 6 beds.