Prometheus Cave

Beautiful and mysterious, Prometheus Cave is the biggest network of caverns in the country of Georgia. A journey into this natural wonder takes you through large magical grottoes adorned with spectacular rock formations illuminated in bright colors.

THE HISTORY OF PROMETHEUS CAVE

Also known as Kumistavi Cave, the Prometheus Cave Natural Monument is a karst cave found in Tskaltubo district within the Imereti region of Georgia. Situated 40m above sea level, the cave is 11km long, of which 1,060 meters are open to tourists. It has 22 halls, 6 of which are open for exploration.

Sections of the Prometheus Cave system are truly impressive. Inside, visitors can admire a wonderful array of unique stalactites, stalagmites, petrified waterfalls, cave pearls, hanging curtains, and underground rivers and lakes.

Prometheus Cave is part of a massive cave system unified by an underground river. To date, approximately 30km of the river has been explored, which is almost half of the whole length of the cave system. The cave features 4 distinct rock layers that were formed over 60 million years during different stages of the Earth’s development.

Prometheus Cave was discovered by chance in 1983 during an expedition by cavers. For the next two years, it was open only to researchers. Paths were thereafter developed for purposes of making the cave a bunker for Soviet authorities to hide out in.

In 1985, the cave was transformed into a tourist destination. By 1989, a 1km long pedestrian trail had been laid out inside the cave, paths and stairs were built, a 150m long tunnel was carved out at its exit, and construction of ground-floor buildings started. The cave was also furnished with temporary lighting. Soon after, small tourist groups began to visit.

Following the collapse of the USSR and lack of funds, the tourism initiative ended in 1990. For some years, the cave was protected from vandals by a local citizen. A statue of the citizen and his dog was erected at the entrance of the cave in tribute.

In 2007, the Georgian government restarted the project by inviting investors to fund it. In 2010, Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili visited the cave and suggested renaming it “Prometheus Cave”, in reference to the legendary Greek protagonist.

Greek mythology has it that, as punishment for teaching mankind how to make fire, Prometheus the Titan was chained to a rock to endure eternal torment. Zeus, king of the gods, sent an eagle to eat Prometheus’ liver, which would grow back overnight, only to be eaten again the next day. Eventually, Prometheus was freed by the hero Heracles.

Georgians have their own version of the Prometheus myth. According to legend, Amirani, just like Prometheus, angered the gods and was punished. However, Amirani was not chained to a rock, but inside a large cave believed to be Kumistavi.

On May 26, 2011, Prometheus Cave was refurbished and reopened to visitors. Today, in addition to being a top tourist attraction in modern Georgia, the cave also serves as a popular venue for Georgian weddings.

EXPLORING PROMETHEUS CAVE

But even without the legendary connection that gave the cave its name, Prometheus Cave is quite impressive. A Prometheus caving tour can be enjoyed on a pleasant hour-long walk or a short boat trip through the underground lake.

The tourist trail passes through 6 large awe-inspiring chambers: Love Hall, Medea Hall, Iberia Hall, Kolkheti Hall, Argonauts Hall and Prometheus Hall. The halls significantly differ from each other in scale and uniqueness of the shapes of petrified flowstones found inside.

The exploration of Prometheus Cave can be quite magical. An English-speaking guide leads you single-file through a tunnel that suddenly opens into a large cavern. There’s a concrete path leading through the cave with well-laid steps.

Along the way, you can enjoy breathtaking views of stalactites, stalagmites, mirror pools, petrified waterfalls, high cavernous ceilings, as well as underground rivers and lakes. Tours are enhanced by multi-colored lighting that transforms the walkway into a fairyland. Classical music also plays in the background.

At the end of your tour, you can opt to take a short boat ride across the 280m long underground section of the Kumi River. The temperature inside Prometheus Cave is a constant 15 degrees irrespective of the season, which makes visiting the cave possible at any time of the year.

NEARBY ATTRACTIONS

Famous for its gorgeous landscapes and spa towns, the Imereti region also feature an array of historic Georgian monuments, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Beyond Tskaltubo, Imereti’s other districts boast some of the best places to visit in Georgia.

TSKALTUBO

Sataplia Nature Reserve

Sataplia Cave is a beautiful cave complex with numerous stalagmites and stalactites. There is a park with preserved dinosaur footprints and replicas of the ancient animals outside the cave. The Sataplia caving tour also leads you to Sataplia Mountain from which you can enjoy panoramas of Kutaisi.

Tskaltubo Resort

One of the world’s oldest resorts, Tskaltubo Resort is known for its stunning underground mineral springs that contain waters believed to have medicinal properties. The spa town also has a pleasant park with a little man-made lake and a bar with a terrace.

KUTAISI

Bagrati Cathedral

Located on the high, rocky right bank of the Rioni River, the 10th century Bagrati Cathedral offers spectacular views of Kutaisi. Visit the cathedral on Sunday to attend the divine worship during which you can listen to Georgian folk music and chants.

Kutaisi State Historical Museum

The Kutaisi State Historical Museum displays more than 200,000 Georgian artifacts dating from between the 9th and 7th centuries BC to the late medieval Georgia period. Visitors can browse items from the Bronze Age and Antiquity periods, including archaeological artifacts, old epigraphs, and Georgian manuscripts.

Kutaisi State Opera and Ballet Theater

Visitors to the Kutaisi Royal District can enjoy a pleasant stroll through historic sites such as the Kutaisi State Opera and Ballet Theater. The opera house has been renovated with rows of classical statues that decorate its rooftop, which were inspired by the famous Opera house in Vienna.

Lado Meskhishvili State Drama Theater

The Lado Meskhishvili State Drama Theater is one of the Caucasus’ most beautiful architectural creations. Visitors can watch performances of Georgian dance and folk music. There are also bars, restaurants and shopping malls at which you can sit and have a rest.

Kutaisi Botanical Garden

The Kutaisi Botanical Garden houses more than 700 plant species. The gardens offer a tranquil spot to have a rest as you admire nature and take in the fresh air. In summer, locals come here to escape the heat, watch movies in the tiny outdoor cinema and attend traditional Georgian music concerts.

Rioni River

Rioni River is one of the best Georgian watersports destinations where you can enjoy rafting in Kutaisi. There are two rafting routes that depart from either Kutaisi or Tbilisi: Tvishi Canyon is 8km long, while Oni-Ambrolauri is 30km long.

Gora Park

To really feel the city vibe of Kutaisi, be sure to visit one of its numerous parks. Situated atop a hill near Bagrati Cathedral, Gora Park offers lots of family attractions and a restaurant at which you can sample the traditional cuisine of Imereti. Visitors can access Gora Park through a ropeway.

Central City Park

Kutaisi’s Central City Park is the perfect place for jogging, having a picnic or just taking in the fresh air. In summer, there are international circus performances at the park. Close by is the Colchis Fountain which is decorated with large copies of famous gold jewelry discovered at the Vani archaeological site.

Okros Chardakhi

Okros Chardakhi is the former residence of the kings of Imereti. The palace complex has several buildings including the Golden Marquee throne room, the palace church of St. George, a bell-tower and towers that served as the imperial treasury and defense posts.

Mtsvane Kvavila

The Mtsvane Kvavila neighborhood boasts beautiful Georgian nature, 3 churches, and a defensive tower. Situated on a hilltop overlooking the Kutaisi city center, the oldest basilica was built in 1117 and is surrounded by a pantheon where famous Kutaisi citizens are buried.

Green Market

Known locally as Mtsvane Bazari, Green Market is one of the biggest, most exciting and colorful produce markets in Georgia. Here you will find almost every type of food grown in the country including fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, meat, spices, herbs, Georgian wines, cheeses, and sweets.

TKIBULI

Gelati Monastery

Gelati Monastery is a Byzantine monastic complex consisting of 3 churches. Features on the UNESCO World Heritage List, the monastery has a large collection of mosaics, frescoes, and manuscripts dating from between the 12th and 17th centuries.

Motsameta Monastery

Dating from the 11th century, Motsameta Monastery is one of the most famous churches in Georgia. The monastery is named after two saints, David and Constantine, the dukes of Margveti who were martyred by Arab invaders during the 8th century.

KHONI

Okatse Canyon & Kinchkha Waterfall

Okatse Canyon is one of the two main attractions of the Okatse River. En route to the canyon, visitors can soak up the scenic nature and gorgeous views of Okatse River. From the canyon, stroll through a stunning forest towards Kinchkha waterfall, the second attraction.

Standing at a height of 70m, Kinchkha is one of the highest waterfalls in Georgia. It is especially gorgeous during spring when water levels are high and the surrounding nature is in full bloom. As it flows downwards, the waterfall creates little oases inside the river valley.

CHIATURA

Chiatura Town

Chiatura is a mining town with an abandoned industrial area that is nice to explore. It is also famous for its Soviet-era tramway that dates from over 50 years ago. Amazingly the tramway still works perfectly and offers riders a great adrenaline rush.

Katskhi Pillar

Katskhi Pillar is a 40m high natural limestone monolith with a tiny church and clergy house situated on top of the pillar. Overlooking the surrounding river valley, the buildings were erected in 2009. Unfortunately, the church does not allow visitors, although the place is stunning even from below.

BAGHDATI

Sairme Resort

Sairme Resort boasts the longest zip line in the country. Stretching 800m long, the zip-line has a steel rope cable hung with a pulley that allows visitors to enjoy sliding between 2 remote points. Visitors to Sairme Resort can also take advantage of the resort’s spa facilities.

VANI

Vani Archeological Museum

Vani Archeological Museum houses most of the finds from the Vani archaeological site. The unique pieces created by the ancient goldsmiths of Vani are contained inside a Gold Reserve. The exhibition also showcases architectural materials and unique bronze figurines.

KHARAGAULI

Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park

The Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park is unique for its historical monuments, diverse landscapes, and rich flora and fauna. Visitors to the park can indulge in a host of outdoor activities such as hiking, bird-watching, horse riding, and mineral springs.

HOW TO GET TO PROMETHEUS CAVE

For flights to Georgia landing at Kutaisi airport, you can drive 50 minutes to Prometheus Cave. That said, driving in Georgia can be daunting if you don’t speak the Georgian language or understand the Georgian alphabet. A better option would be a private transfer.

FINAL WORDS AND TRAVEL SUGGESTIONS

Wind your way through a labyrinth of amazing underground caverns, with lovely light patterns playing on unique rock formations. The quietness from within and the natural beauty of the mythical cave seduce you. A visit to Prometheus Cave offers an unforgettable journey into the heart of the ancient mountains of Georgia.

You can book Tskaltubo hotels in advance with our travel advisor. If you prefer to drive yourself, we have a modern fleet of rental cars in Tskaltubo available for hire. We also arrange travel to Georgia and Prometheus Cave with private transfers to and from Kutaisi airport.

Even better, create your own custom vacation package that includes the places you want to see and things you want to do in Tskaltubo. Fancy a visit to a magical underworld? Order your custom tour to Prometheus Cave today and be dazzled by the most beautiful cave in Georgia!

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