Martvili is the official name of the city since 1964 when it changed status and become the city. Before that the city had two different names; the first one- Tchkondidi and the second one -Gegechkori. There is an interesting history about the first name of the city. In the Megrelian language, Tchkondidi means «Big Oak». To the south-east of Martvili, where the Martvili monastery ensemble is located, stood a huge oak Tchkondidi in pre-Christian times, which was considered an idol. In ancient Georgia, there was a powerful cult of paganism. The sacred tree was associated with abundance and fertility. At the same time, people performed rituals near the tree and demanded the breeding and protection of cattle, the multiplication of the genus, the health of the meteors, and so on.
Martvili Canyon is a picturesque landmark of water and rocks, located 50km west of Kutaisi. It is 5 km from the town of Martvili, and 2 km from the village of Gachedili (which gave the canyon its other name, Gachedili Canyon). In 2016, the canyon’s tourist infrastructure was improved: new paths and bridges were built, and the boats that take tourists down the river were upgraded.
The canyon was formed by the waters of the Abasha (Abashi) River. It is 2.4 km long, and the height of the canyon walls reaches 40 m in some places. This natural landmark attracts many tourists who want to experience the contrast between the tranquil river and the dynamic waterfalls. At the beginning, Martvili Canyon is a very quiet, deep gorge with high humidity, where the rocks are covered with moss and the flow of the river is so slow that it seems as if time has stopped. In the middle of the canyon suddenly appears a large 12 m waterfall, from which tons of water fall every second.
Sightseeing around Martvili
The Natural Monument is located in the southern part of the Abasha River massif, on limestone rocks. The length of canyon is – 1400 meters, width – 5-10 meters, and depth – 25-30 meters.