Belarus city photo ecotour, greenways in European, temperate forests wild life, photo tours to wilde of Europa and Israel. Tips and tools for travelling in blog. Tourist places photos. Photos de villages. Photo and some image about nature.

It’s just a hornbeam wood perhaps, but if you know what you are looking at then it is a unique stretch of the primeval forest that once covered most of Europe. There are massive oak trees, pines and hornbeams far higher and thicker-trunked than those you will see in the elsewhere. Lots of dead wood that attacts many fungi and invertebrates.

There are bison and… wolves in here too – but you’ll be very very lucky to see them. Red Squirrels, Red Deer and Roe Deer are quite common though.

It is truly surprising to see so many old big trees and just lying around a dead trees. Amazing hornbeam forest. Nature at its finest. Definitely one of nature wonders. The primeval forest is the last stand of original forest in Europe, this is the Bialowieza Primaeval Forest in Belarus and Poland, national parks of these countries.

The hornbeam trees

It can be hornbeam trees with a height of 7-15 m, and often the trees can reach a height of 30 m. The hornbeam forest is like a natural refrigerator because almost no sunlight penetrates through the dense crowns of trees. Hornbeam forest are at their most beautiful in the rain, there is something mystical in this ghostly light.

The hornbeam forests

Hornbeams are native to the northern hemisphere, a most species in Asia, especially China. There are only two types in Europe. The hornbeam grows slowly, prefers sufficiently moist calcareous, loose and rich soils. Some species tolerate dry calcareous soils but do not tolerate waterlogged and acidic soils.

What are the types of forests?

There are evergreen forests: moist tropical, coniferous, hardwood forests. The deciduous forests: temperate deciduous forests, monsoon, dry tropical deciduous forests. As well as semi-deciduous and mixed forests.


I was advised to visit these places in August. In August, it is usually the pink jellyfish season. They are harmless but very fun. If you find them this is usually an indication that the water in that area is pristine. The water in beaches very clean in the beaches compared to the harbour area.

It is really worth travelling a bit further down the spit. You can reach Juodkrante, it’s the first resort which is about 15 km away from the ferry if you are extreme cyclist. You can even rent bicycles in the old crossing, and take them with you. Just beside this beach there goes the good cycling track.

But there are wild flowers blooming everywhere and you will surely get a touch of the nature.  You won’t see many dunes on the way, but you will see beautiful pine forests… Anyway in the bicycle case you can see more wild nature and even manage to find a private spot somewhere on the beach.


Photos taken on May, 7-8, 2017


The Curonian Spit is a unique and vulnerable, sandy and wooded cultural landscape on a coastal spit which features small Curonian lagoon settlements. The Spit was formed by the sea, wind and human activity and continues to be shaped by them. Rich with an abundance of unique natural and cultural features, it has retained its social and cultural importance. Local communities adapted to the changes in the natural environment in order to survive. This interaction between humans and nature shaped the Curonian Spit cultural landscape.

The history of the Curonian Spit is dramatic: 5,000 years ago, a narrow peninsula (98 km in length and 0.4-3.8 km in width), the Great Dune Ridge separating the Baltic Sea from the Curonian Lagoon, was formed on moraine islands from sand transported by currents, and later covered by forest. After intensive logging in the 17th and 18th centuries, the dunes began moving towards the Curonian Lagoon, burying the oldest settlements. At the turn of the 19th century, it became evident that human habitation would no longer be possible in the area without immediate action. Dune stabilisation work began, and has continued ever since. By the end of the 19th century, a protective dune ridge was formed along the seashore to prevent inland sand migration, and the Great Dune Ridge was reinforced using trees and brushwood hedges. Currently, forests and sands dominate the Curonian Spit. Urbanised areas (eight small settlements) cover just about 6% of the land.


Curonian Spit 360 panorama


Pine forests grow on poor and dry soils, and have a simple tiered structure and the relatively poor fauna. These forests have not the diversity of the species, the leading land-based way of life. The fauna of spruce forests richer than the pine forests because it has the best protective properties for the animals. Also, spruce forests provide a favorable microclimatic conditions in the wintering period, which attracts animals from other habitats.

Album include the several photos of the Gold autumn series from October, 2012.

Pictures taken on 19 of October, 2012; 12 of July, 2008; 2 of September, 2007; 4 of July, 2015.



The Shio-Mgvime monastery (Georgian: შიომღვიმე, Shiomghvime, literally meaning “the cave of Shio”) is a medieval monastic complex in Georgia, near the town of Mtskheta. It is located in a narrow limestone canyon on the northern bank of the Kura River, some 30 km from Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital.

Photos taken on April, 18, 2017.

We chose the trail to the monastery by a mountain trail, it’s about 6,5 km of the way. Where was 2,2 km just go up. That was great! We were able to see nature and fauna and flora. We began our journey from Dzegvi village and went along the trail. We were guided by GPS. There’s an approaching thunderstorm that worried us. Alleluia! The thunderstorm passed us by. We did’t want to meet a thunderstorm in the mountains Is it dangerous. Especially, there were high voltage lines nearby.
Of course we saw landslides. Especially, up to this point there was an earthquake. There was a wind. We heard the whispering mountains.

The way from Dzegvi to the monastery. Big map. The way from Dzegvi to the monastery. Small map.

We were afraid to meet poisonous snakes. But we met only turtles. They are so sweet. They had a wedding season. 🙂

We reached the monastery. Monastery was covered with mystery and history.  I just got down on my knees there. The monastery is very interesting! If  we again go to Georgia, I will return to the monastery in the same way.

There was difficult to return to Tbilisi. Thank God, a random tourists agreed to take us to the nearest village. There we boarded a bus to Tbilisi.

We were lucky. Otherwise us had to walk to Dzegvi or spend the night in the mountains. It was 7 o’clock in the evening. The nights there were expected to be cold. Perspective was not fun. Because we did not have any equipment to survive in the wild. In the backpack we had two sandwiches and a bottle of water…. and Geogian wine, the wine was untouched, the mountains do not like wine if you are active in this moment. You must be careful!

p.s. Of course, there was a time when we lost hope of reaching the monastery, because we got seriously lost. But I remembered that Santa Maria was near and I found a new breath and way was near.  It gave me confidence.  Now I can be a guide in these places. 😉


  • The Shio-Mgvime complex

According to a historic tradition, the first monastic community at this place was founded by the 6th-century monk Shio, one of the Thirteen Assyrian Fathers who came to Georgia as Christian missionaries. St. Shio is said to have spent his last years as a hermit in a deep cave near Mtskheta subsequently named Shiomghvime (“the Cave of Shio”) after him. The earliest building – the Monastery of St. John the Baptist – a cruciform church, very plain and strict in its design, indeed dates to that time, c. 560s-580s, and the caves curved by monks are still visible around the monastery and along the road leading to the complex. The church has an octagonal dome covered with a conic floor and once housed a masterfully ornate stone iconostasis which is now on display at the Art Museum of Georgia in Tbilisi. The monastery was somewhat altered in the 11th and 18th centuries, but has largely retained its original architecture.

The Upper Church (zemo eklesia) named after the Theotokos is a central part of the Shio-Mgvime complex constructed at the verge of the 12th century at the behest of King David IV of Georgia. Initially a domed church, it was subsequently destroyed by a foreign invasion and restored, in 1678, as a basilica. A refectory was built between the 12th and 17th centuries and directly communicates with the Cave of St. Shio. A 12th-century small chapel adorned with medieval murals stands separately on a nearby hill.

An archaeological expedition revealed, in 1937, a 2 km long aqueduct supplying the monastic communities from the nearby village of Skhaltba, and chronicled in 1202 as being constructed by Bishop Anton of Chkondidi, a minister at Queen Thamar’s court.

  • History

Shio-Mgvime quickly turned into the largest monastic community in Georgia and by the end of the 6th century it was populated by as many as 2,000 monks. It became a vibrant center of cultural and religious activities and remained under the personal patronage of Catholicoi of Georgia. David IV “the Builder” (1089-1125) made it a royal domain and dictated regulations (typicon) for the monastery (1123). The downfall of the medieval Georgian kingdom and incessant foreign invasions resulted in the decline of the monastery. It saw a relative revival when the Georgian king George VIII (r. 1446-1465) granted Shio-Mgvime and its lands to the noble family of Zevdginidze-Amilakhvari to whom the monastery served as a familial burial ground up to the 1810s.

The monastery was ravaged by the invading Persian troops sent by Shah Abbas I of Safavid in 1614-6. Prince Givi Amilakhvari reconstructed it in 1678, but the 1720s Ottoman occupation of Georgia brought about another devastation and depopulation of Shio-Mgvime. Restored by Prince Givi Amilakhvari in 1733, the monastery was raided and the monks massacred by the Persians less than two years later. Subsequently, Shio-Mgvime was restored and its interior renovated in the 19th century, but it never regained its past importance and role in the spiritual life of Georgia. Under Bolshevik rule, the monastery was closed, but it is now functional and attracts many pilgrims and tourists.

Molchad is silent river.
Pictures of Molchad river photo gallery added on October,7, 2006.