Mtskheta has been Georgia’s spiritual heart since Christianity was established here in about 327, and holds a near-mystical significance in Georgian culture. It was capital of most of eastern Georgia from about the 3rd century BC to the 5th century AD, when King Vakhtang Gorgasali switched his base to Tbilisi. It remained a spiritual capital, however, and Mtskheta’s Svetitskhoveli Cathedral is still the setting for important ceremonies of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Containing some of the oldest and most important churches in the country, and with an alluring setting where the Mtkvari and Aragvi Rivers meet, Mtskheta makes an easy and enjoyable day trip from Tbilisi. Unesco placed Mtskheta’s historic churches on its World Heritage in Danger list in 2009, citing deterioration of stonework and frescoes and loss of authenticity due to work on the buildings.