Middle Age monastery complex in Shemokmedi is located in Guria, on the left bank of river Bzhuzhi, 8 km to the south-west from the town of Ozurgeti, in the hamlet of Shemokmedi. The complex consists of three monument: XVI century bell tower, which was restored in 1831, and two attached cathedrals – XII century Basilica of Deity and a dome church called Zarzma. The latter was constructed by Vakhtang I Gurieli in 1572 to place there Transfiguration Icon bestowed in XVI century for the purpose of its security. Up to nowadays it is the oldest among the extant Georgian icons and is dated back to 886. As the legend goes, the icon bestowed from Zarzma in Akhaltsikhe was attached to the bull and, presumably, it was supposed to be placed exactly where a bull would stop. That is how this Icon appeared to get to Shemokmedi monastery.
Interior and outer jacket of the church of Our Lord is paved with cut stone and has marble flooring. The church is a three-nave construction without a dome. First it should have been a one-nave building with later annexes of two side naves. At the same time the church was dressed in new jacket and decorated with various color stones in staggered rows. The Shemokmedi monastery was considered the richest monastery and had a rich stock of books. The monastery used to be the burial site of Shemokmedi Bishops and the family of Gurieli.
Lake Paliastomi is located in Western Georgia, on the coastline of Black sea, in the Kolkheti lowland, in the environs of the town of Poti. By its area (18.2 sq. km) it is the third largest lake in Georgia.
The name of the lake is of Greek origin and its direct meaning is Old coast or Old inflow. The oldest gulf of Black sea which turned into a lake was separated from the sea in historical past by 2-km-wide coast dune belt.
Three rivers flow into the lake, and one – river Kaparchina – flows out. The temperature spread of the lake water is 20 degrees. However, it never freezes. In various seasons of the year the lake is typically either rough or has a drastic drop of water level. It relates to strong winds generated on Black sea where its waters reach the lake via special duct (today via strait). The strait connected with Black sea has the width of 150 meters. Due to sea water inflow into the Lake salinity of the Lake is increased 10-fold.
Intense change in salinity has instantly destroyed fish fauna of fresh water which had its habitat here. Some species also linked with the sea had preserved natural habitat. It is known that at the beginning of the last century there were species of catfish and pike represented here which are fully extinct today. Nowadays there are some tens of fish species in the lake of which only carp and mullet are good for commercial catch.
Lake Paliastomi is the major facility of Kolkheti national park