Published in Georgia for Expats
is a region in western Georgia situated along the middle and upper reaches of the Rioni river. You get into it after passing Rikoti Pass (996 m above sea level) that divides Georgia into its eastern and western parts. The capital of Imereti, Kutaisi, is one of the oldest cities in the world - archeological evidence shows it served as the capital of the ancient kingdom of Colchis as early as the 2nd millennium BC. Kutaisi was founded as Aia/Aea and only later it changed its name into Kutaisi, from Persian "Kota", meaning "Fort Aea". In ancient times the region was rich in gold and it is believed that Jason's and the Argonauts' journey of Golden Fleece was accomplished in Georgia (Colchis). Imereti has been a place of highly sophisticated culture at least since the Bronze Age. Archeological digs confirm the presence of a rich and thriving Hellenistic culture in the region. Wine production here dates back over eight thousand years. The region's renaissance of 10-12th centuries was marked by a number of architectural masterpieces including Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery complex. This area of Georgia is also abundant in canyons, waterfalls, and caves and some of them are a must-see even for short-time visitors.