Ever read or heard of Prometheus – the Greek deity – believed to be the creator of mankind. Legend has it that Prometheus stole fire from Mount Olympus and gave it to mankind. The Gods were angered and as a punishment he was chained to an unbreakable rock inside a cave. Guess where that cave is in today’s world!?!
In Georgia (not the State in US but the country)…… And so visiting this cave was included in our Georgian Itinerary.
‘Prometheus Cave’ or Kumistavi Cave, discovered in 1984, is situated in the town of Tskaltubo, approximately 20 – 30 minutes’ drive from the city of Kutaisi, located in the Imereti Region of the country. We took a day trip to Kutaisi from Tbilisi thru the City sightseeing Tours which also included Prometheus, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery.
When you enter the gates of the premises, you can see the Visitor Centre in the middle wherein you can purchase the entrance tickets. You can either opt for a tour of the cave only which lasts almost an hour or cave visit and return via the boat which is an additional 20 – 30 minutes.
The tour is accompanied by a Georgian / Russian / English speaking Guide, who will lead and guide you in and out of the 1060 metres long cave halls (only a part is open to the public), filling you with information on the natural formations within.
After you are ushered in through a separate entrance, the guide leads you down a long winding staircase amidst the lush forest greenery. At the entrance to the cave, she gives you an overview of the cave as well some instructions to be cautious about while within.
The tour takes you through a dark n chilly cave, lit up sporadically with colorful lights focusing on an array of magnificent stalagmites, stalactites, underground lakes and petrified waterfalls that look as though jinxed and would start flowing the moment you turn.
A quick brush on the Geography lessons – A Stalagmite is a rock formation rising from the floor of the cave and composed of mineral drippings from the cave roof while a Stalactite is the same but grows downward from the cave roof to the floor. Wonder what is the age of this cave???
It was a wonderful experience with astounding creations of nature along with a faint music (was that Mozart?) at the background. The ground is slippery and have to be careful during the jog with the group. I lost the count of the halls that we visited as I was busy marveling at the natural beauty and trying to remember my Geography lessons… I listened less to the guide and was able to only listen a few words here and there but my ears picked up the word ‘Love Cave’ though I did not understand why it was named so. The Guide said that a couple of wedding ceremonies had taken place in the Love hall and…. The rest I dint hear…: D
At the end of the tour you have an option of either taking the boat ride or without. We chose the boat tour and hence descended down to the underground river and waited for the boat. We were given helmet and safety jacket to wear before getting in to the boat. The ride was interesting with a very low cave roof and chill water beneath, riding in semi darkness hardly enough to see the eerie silhouettes. A minibus takes you back to the Visitor Centre where you can join your tour group or taxi outside the gate (or wait for the regular bus back to the town).
We went to the restaurant outside the gates where our fellow tour mates lunched and ordered the Imereti style Georgian food – Khinkhali (meat filled), Homestyle Potato fries, Imereti Style Khachapuri, Meat Soup (something in between a Goulash & Borscht)..
And to wash all this down with our favorite Zandukeli (lemonade)… We are in love with Zandukeli so much so that we brought 6-7 bottles back home and gifted to our friends and family.
Ticket: The ticket for the cave visit is GEL 7 and GEL 7 for the boat rip. The cave is closed on Monday.
- Take a day tour with any of the tour agencies in Tbilisi. We opted for City Sightseeing Tbilisi .
- Take a mini bus (mashrutka) from Didube station in Tbilisi to Kutaisi city (3-4hours drive through scenic landscapes) and then take another bus (from station next to McDonald Kutaisi city) to Tskaltubo town (20minutes drive) and a further bus or taxi to the Cave (Bus from Tskaltubo to Cave costs GEL 1).
- Take a direct taxi from Kutaisi city to the Cave (Various blogs states that the RT drive costs approx. 20 – 30 GEL…. Haggle your way through)
- The temperature within the cave could be a bit chilly, so keep a shawl or sweater handy.
- The tour is a continuous walk (jog) for a whole hour, so use the restroom beforehand.
- Wear comfortable sneakers or shoes as there is considerable amount of climbing up & down and sometimes slippery ground.
- Keep a small bottle of water handy lest you feel tired with the climbs and trying to pace up with the group.
- Don’t forget to take loads and loads of photographs in between gazing at the natural wonders.