Darial Gorge


Visit Guide to Darial Gorge

Marvel at the strategic Caucasus Mountains pass that invading armies have fought over for millennia. See ruins of ancient fortresses and a modern monastery in the dramatic Darial Gorge, with soaring Mount Kazbek overlooking the river valley. Located along the Georgian Military Highway by Stepantsminda.

Main image: © Vyacheslav Argenberg / http://www.vascoplanet.com/, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Getting there

Accessing the Darial Gorge by road is easy: the Georgian Military Highway goes straight through, though this can mean there are traffic jams. If you don’t have your own transport, it is best to go first to the town of Stepantsminda. There’s an hourly bus from Tbilisi, and from  Stepantsminda you can get a taxi or hitch a ride to the gorge.

What to Expect

The landscape is the biggest attraction in the Darial Gorge, but you can still see the ruins of Dariali Castle and the modern Fathers’ Monastery, which was consecrated in 2011.


The Darial Gorge is at the foot of Mount Kazbek (5,054m) on the border between Georgia and Russia. Cut through the Caucasus Mountains by the Terek River, this was one of only two route options through range for invading armies including the Persians, Greeks, and the Arab caliphates.

Each generation added their own layer of fortifications to defend this strategic location, and the gorge has had a variety of names, including the Iberian Gates, Caucasian Gates, and Caspian Gates. Some historians believe that this was the location described by the Roman historian Flavius Josephus as the Gates of Alexander, though the fortifications are of a later date.