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Kakheti

Kakheti

Georgia is generally considered as the ‘cradle of wine’. Archaeologists have traced the world’s first known wine creation back to the people of the South Caucasus in 8,000 BC, making it the world’s oldest wine region. Kakheti is the main wine area of the country. This region is an essential visit for wine-fans and Georgian cuisine enthusiasts. Here you can discover one of the oldest methods of wine-making using unique Georgian “Kvevri” – large earthenware vessels (clay pots) used for the fermentation, storage and ageing of traditional Georgian wine. This traditional Georgian method of wine making was added to UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage.

The best time to visit Kakheti is Autumn – it is the time for Rtveli (grape harvest) and churchkhela (traditional Georgian candle-shaped candy) making. The region is also filled with enchanting vineyards and wineries, extraordinary monasteries and centuries – old castles which are worth to visit:

Alaverdi Monastery – founded by the monk Joseph Alaverdeli, who came from Antioch and settled in Alaverdi. Earliest church of Alaverdi dates back to the 6th century. The present-day Cathedral is part of an 11th century Georgian Orthodox monastery. The monastery is enclosed by defensive walls. The complex also includes dwelling houses, the refectory of the monastery, unique wine cellars, baths and other structures.

Ikalto Monastery – one of the two famous medieval Georgian Neoplatonist academies. Dating back to the 4th century, the complex played a very important role in the history of education in Georgia. It is also known that brilliant Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli used to study here.

Tsinandali residence – 19th century house-museum of famous public figure and poet Alexander Chavchavadze. Back then, Georgian aristocrats were famous for their sophisticated European taste. In this case, a sign of this particular taste is the beautiful English Garden surrounding the house. Here you can find a wine cellar where the unique collections of Georgian and European wines are preserved.

Telavi – the largest town in Kakheti. Explore Batonis Tsikhe, a museum dedicated to King Erekle II, where you can see the bedrooms, the king’s throne, and his sword. See the legendary Giant Plane Tree – unique attraction of Telavi. Visit local bazaars where tourists can buy local spices, churchkhela, seasonal fruit, etc.

Gremi – fortress built in the XV-XVI centuries. Nowadays the fortress includes a church, 15th century tower – palace and a small museum containing artifacts from the site.

Nekresi monastery complex – located up on the hill overlooking the stunning Alazani valley. Monastery has several churches built in different centuries, bishop’s palace, a wine cellar and a 16th century tower.

Famous “city of love” – Sighnaghi, old Kakhetian style town with a Mediterranean feel, cobbled streets and carved balconies. Located on a lofty hilltop overlooking the Alazani valley and Caucasus Mountains. Most of the defensive wall, with 23 towers, still stands around the city.

Bodbe monastery – built in the IX century and remodeled in the XVII. Nowadays, functioning as a nunnery but has decent facilities for tourists.

For hiking lovers, Kakheti offers two stunning protected areas with different length trails, these are Vashlovani and Lagodekhi protected areas. Vashlovani protected areas are located on the Lori upland in Kakheti region and includes Vashlovani Nature Reserve, National Park and 3 Natural Monuments – Artsivi Kheoba (Eagle Gorge), Alazani floodplain forest (Kaklis kure) and Takhti-Tepa Mud Volcanoes. Lagodekhi protected areas are located in Lagodekhi municipality and include Lagodekhi Strict Nature Reserve and Lagodekhi Managed Reserve.