Georgia, national parcs. 8

Tbilisi National Park
Tbilisi National Park was established on the basis of Saguramo Strict Nature Reserve, which was created in 1957. The Park is located at a distance of 25 km from Tbilisi and is included in the Green Zone of the city. The Saguramo Strict Nature Reserve was established with the purpose of maintenance of the forest characteristic for Georgia and protection of the forest habitants, among them the rare species such as Caucasian Red deer and lynx.
Area of Tbilisi National Park is 24328 ha. It is situated near the two important cities of Georgia – Mtskheta and Tbilisi.
Tbilisi National Park is belonged to the moderate humid climate zone. The winter is moderate cold and summer is long here. The amount of annual atmospheric precipitation is 523-720 mm. The annual air temperature in January is -0.5 °C and in August +24,1°C. Geomorphologically the territory is a rugged region with numerous mountains, slopes and gorges. The highest point is located at 1385 m above sea level.
In the territories of Tbilisi National Park the plants are rather diverse. 675 species of grass and wood plants can be found here, among them 104 species are of trees and shrubs. The dendroflora of the Park is interesting due to widespread representatives of Colchis flora of Tertiary period, such as: Black Sea holly
(Ilex colchica),Persian ivy (Hedera colchica) and Pastuchov’s ivy (Hedera pastuchowii),European cranberrybush (Viburnum opulus), Butcher’s Broom (Ruscus ponticus), yew (Taxus baccata),
Caucasian rhododendron (Rhododendron caucasica), et al. The territory of Tbilisi National Park is represented by the forest ecosystems of Georgian oak, Oriental beech, Caucasian hornbeam, ordinary ash-trees, Oriental hornbeam and crabapple trees.
The fauna of Tbilisi National Park is quite rich. Among mammals the most widespread speciesare Red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and Gray wolf (Canis lupus). Beech marten (Martes foina) and weasel *(Mustela nivalis) *can be found nearly every where. Among the large beasts of prey lynx (Lynx lynx) and Brown bear (Ursus arctos) are rare.
The territory of Tbilisi National Park is distinguished with considerable diversity of representatives of fauna. Here can be found the animals such as:Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus), hare (Lepus europaeus), Beech marten *(Martes foina), et al.*Gray wolf (Canis lupus), Brown bear (Ursus arctos), Red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and lynx (Lynx lynx) can be also found there.
There are numerous Roe deers among ungulate animals. Early the Saguramo Strict Nature Reserve was famous with Caucasian Red deer (Cervus elaphus).
Ornithofauna of this place is diverse. Eurasian jay, Blackbird and several species of woodpeckers can be often found there. Among the birds of prey the most numerous is Sparrowhawk and among the Georgia’s Red List species the following can be found there: Imperial eagle (Aquila heliaca)
, Greater spotted eagle *(Aquila clanga)*and Levant sparrowhawk (Accipiter brevipes).
12 species of reptiles inhabit the Tbilisi National Park; the most widespread is European Legless Lizard. Grass snakes are also numerous. Yellow-bellied racer and Smooth snake are common to be seen in the Park.

Tbilisi National Park directly borders with the masterpiece of Georgian architecture of the 6th century – the Jvari monastery of Mtskheta, from where the breathtaking view of Mtskheta and entire environment is opened. From Jvari the archeological excavations carried out in Bagineti range could be seen on the other side of the Mtkvari River. These are the remains of palace of Pitiakhshis (supervisors of Mtskheta) of Armazi, antique baths and Pagan idols, the idols, which were demolished by St. Nino, who brought Christianity to Georgia; and after several centuries the domed temple of Jvari was built in high mountain on the opposite side of the place as a sign of victory of Christianity over the Paganism. Mtskheta is very rich in archeological and cultural monuments.
There are numerous monuments of exceptionally importance in Mtskheta and its surroundings, which are under the protection of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); these are the Svetitskhoveli cathedral temple of 11th century, Samtavro church of the same period, monastery complex of Shio Mghvime of 6th century and Jvari monastery. All of Mtskheta is a small city-museum and it hosts to numerous Georgian and foreign guests every day.
The territory of Tbilisi National Park is very interesting by viewpoint of tourism. Cultural tourism is well-developed both in Tbilisi and Mtskheta – the cities rich in multiethnic and historical monuments. Saguramo, as a part of the Tbilisi National Park, has great potential for development of ecological, botanical and bird-watching tourism.

Georgian Tourist Board for more information, see internet site
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