Kakheti

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alaverdi

Kakheti 

is the most eastern region of Georgia with Telavi being its capital and the biggest city. The city itself is not particularly interesting although thanks to its central location it can be a good jumping-off point for excursions. The region is famous for its wine production - every house has its vineyard and makes its own wine and many local dwellers organize wine tasting feasts for tourists during the harvest season. Kaheti is a very diverse, thus picturesque region - fertile valleys and fields surrounded by sky-high mountains of the Caucasus, next to semi-desert areas of Dedoplistskharo and Sagarejo, side by side with beautifully located ancient churches, monasteries, and fortresses.

Such a variety of landscapes encourages hiking and biking trips.

tushetiTusheti province a very popular mountain destination with remote villages hidden in the wild, towers and castles erecting on tops of the mountains, unique pine forests, all-year-round snowy peaks, fast rivers, and breathtaking views. The Abano Pass leading to Tusheti, at 2,850 meters, is the highest drivable mountain pass in the Caucasus (and in Europe, if consider Georgia a European country) and it is open only between mid-June and early October. The road is quite challenging and one needs an SUV to get there. Apart from that, it's reasonable to have some provision at hand and full tank in your car, because there are no shops and a gas station on the other side of the Pass.

Batoniske

Nekresi Monastery - beautifully situated monastery complex, once a very peaceful and calm place, after the recent renovation quite crowded (especially on Sundays), still marvelous and definitely a must-see. The town of Nekresi was established in 2 century BC, and the basilica type church was founded there by St. Abibos Nekreseli, one of the thirteen "Syrian Fathers" in the 4th century AD when Georgia accepted Christianity. It is one of the oldest surviving Christian temples in Georgia. Since 4th till the 16th century gradually many buildings were added to the complex. Apart from the 4th-century church, other monuments include the Blessed Virgin Church (6th-7th century), the domed church of 8th - 9th century, the two-story bishop’s palace of the 9th century, with the later four-story tower of the 16th century built by the palace and a wine cellar (Marani). The complex is located at the side of a mountain and visitors have a choice of either walking all the way up or going by minibus. The road is rather steep, so walking is quite a challenge, especially on a hot day. On the other hand, the buses are in pretty bad shape, so the choice is difficult.

David Garejare

Tsinandali - is a small village 10 km from Telavi. Two most famous things about the place are the estate and historic winery with wine cellars, both once belonging to a noble Georgian poet, public benefactor and military figure - Alexander Chavchavadze. He inherited this village, refurbished the estate, constructed a new palace and built a decorative garden in 1835. He also built Georgia’s oldest and largest winery where he combined European and centuries-long Georgian winemaking traditions. The dry white wine Tsinandali is still produced there. In 1854 the Chavchavadze estate was raided by the troops of Imam Shamil, a Muslim leader of the northeast Caucasian opposition to the Russian expansion. Revenging the Chavchavadze family for their contribution to the Russian success in the Caucasian War, the mountaineers pillaged the estate and kidnapped the wife, children, and relatives of Alexander’s son David. In 1855, after complicated negotiations, the hostages were exchanged for Shamil’s captive son Jamal al-Din and 40,000 silver rubles. After David Chavchavadze’s death, due to the failure to pay the debt to the Russian Public Bank, the estate passed to the property of the Imperial family. The Tsinandali garden was renovated in 1887 and passed to the state n 1917. In 1947, the estate was organized into a museum. The nowadays rehabilitated palace is still a house-museum of Alexander Chavchavadze and it has a marvelous atmosphere. The garden, with stunning old trees and paths to walk, encourages long strolls.

dzvelizi

 

Sighnaghi - a town located at the slopes of Gombori mountain range, overlooking Alazani Valley. One of very few mostly renvated towns in Georgia - streets, buildings and public spaces where rehabilitated a few years ago, so walking around is very pleasant. Sighnaghi was built in the first half of 18th century as a main city of Kiziki dictrict and a fortress, thus it has city walls that go along the mountain relief. The name of the city comes from the Turkish word "sığınak" meaning "shelter, refuge" and it defintly was one - the fortress was able to hold the whole population of the district in case of enemy attack. It is possible to have a walk along some parts of the city walls and enter several of the towers. There are 23 of them and they are named after the villages of the district..

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