One of the places near Kutaisi that is really worth seeing is the Canyon of Okatse River. It is a sight of natural beauty that has been recently adapted for tourists. The work took about 2 years and now length of the route around the canyon is about 2 kilometers.
When approaching the entrance for tourists, the first thing you see is the futuristic building of the Visitor center. There you can pay the entrance fee and see the photos of the place as well as the miniature model of the canyon. The first part of the route goes though the Dadiani Park planted in the 18th century by Georgian princes. The Dadiani family was rich and so they decided to build a kind of summer castle near the canyon to relax in the picturesque atmosphere in the mountains. They also invited Italian designers and architects to make a project of the future building. Unfortunately, now we can see only the ruins of once beautiful castle built of white stones from the canyon.
Even several years ago there was only the earth path through the park – but now you can walk down the paved road leading to the rocks. This road is not easy, as you have to go up and down following the relief of the area – which is located high above the sea level so the air is a bit rarefied. You can also take a car right to the stairs on the slope of the canyon, but you’ll miss the fantastical trees along the road and lots of amazing views of the mountains covered with snow for the most part of the year.
When you’ve finally reached the descent, that’s when your real adventures start. The first trial is to walk down 544 stairs leading to narrow bridge above the canyon on the height of the 45-storey building, or 140 meters. While you walk up to this bridge, you see something astonishing after each curve of the path. This is a breathtaking beauty of the place untouched by a man. When you finally reach the bridge, way down under your feet you can see the mountain river winding and coming down between the white limestone of the canyon. In some places it creates small but deep lakes with water that is clear as a crystal and seems to have wonderful turquoise color. The stream is very strong and you can hear the sound of the rushing water, even though you are high above it.
In the distance you can also see an observation desk hanging over the abyss. To get there you need to go along the path and then climb another stairs leading up the hill and then going down – right to the desk you’ve seen. It is a final point of the one and a half kilometer long canyon bridge. Here you can sit and have a rest before your way back, enjoying the wonderful scenery and fresh wind.
When you approach the edge of the observation desk, you can see the whole way you’ve covered above the river as well as the second part of canyon that stretches further for another 1,5 kilometers. In this place you can’t hear that noise, so usual for the cities. Just the rustle of leaves, sound of the wind, the murmur of the river and birds singing. Swallows are flying above your feet and then come back to their homes on the rocks.
You can hire a taxi from Kutaisi, the nearest big city