Tour in Kakheti

More information
Duration:

1 Day

Location:

Kvareli-Sighnagi-Bodbe-Telavi-Gremi

Kakheti is the largest region of Georgia. It is one of the diverse regions, but it is also known to everyone, that Kakheti is the land of Grapes. The fifth part of vineyards in the nation belong to Kakheti, while grapes grown here amount to the half of the grape harvest in the country. But, of course, this is not everything. As soon as you get close to Kakheti, on the way the smell of hot, freshly baked traditional Shoti (local special bread, kind of  long pointed loaf) will hit you. You will have an itch of eating it immediately, with local amazing cheese and butter. Oh, and most delicious, Churchxela (known as Georgian Snikersi). Once you tasta  KaKhetian cousin, you will hardly ever wish anything better.

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Signagi - the heart of Kiziqi which is the most picturesque corner of Kakheti, is lying on the South-Eastern slopes of Tsiv-Gombori range. The townlet is overlooking Alazani Valley from the height. Its elevation from the Valley is 400 m. The name of the town derives from Turkic word and means ‘shelter’, or, according to other historical sources, ‘invincible’. Like Telavi, the townlet was considered the king’s estate. The foremost geographic location gave Signagi a strategic importance. It was crossed by trade routes arising from Tbilisi, Hereti and Telavi. That is why the townlet was shaped up as a venue of craftsmen and merchants. After the fall of Hornabuji, Signagi became the center of Kiziqi and important town. In 1762 king Erekle II turned it into a royal residence and surrounded it with a wall surviving up to the present nearly unchanged. The wall encompasses an area of roughly 40 ha and is the largest fortified structure in Georgia. In 2005-2008 with the support of the Ministry of Culture and the President of Georgia, Signagi underwent a fundamental rehabilitation program. Infrastructure was changed, the wall was revived and streets renovated, buildings were given back historical, century-old appearance. Today the sights of the town include several museums, namely, Museum of Archeology and Ethnology which houses a unique collection of a self-educated artist, Niko Pirosmanishvili. In the fall, a wine festival is usually held in Signagi where wineries and alcohol-producing companies of Georgia present their products – wines of kvevri (clay vats), wines produced in European-style and Georgian farmers (so called ‘peasants’) domestic wines. Festival also hosts specimens of popular handicrafts – felt, quilt, rugs, carpets, flutes and panduri (three-stringed national lute). The wall of Signagi was erected without foundation, with cobble stone, sand and limestone. There are stone steps arranged in several spots to embark on it. The wall has two levels. In the upper-level walls there are direct and lowered down firing ports placed in sequence. There are 23 2- and 3-story towers built in the wall with the diameter of 3-3,5 m and height of 4-5 m. The towers bear the names of Kiziqi villages. During foreign invasions each tower was a shelter to the villagers of relevant name. The nunnery of St. Nino and Episcopal center of Bodbe (Kiziqi) Eparchy is 2 km away from Signagi. The monastery was built in IV c. on the tomb of St. Nino who baptized Georgia. Bodbe is home to active monastic life. Near the spring of water which emerged, as the locals believe, due to prayers of St. Nino, there is ablution site and a small church. The spring is assigned miraculous therapeutic properties and every day it is visited by crowds of people. Sighnaghi is very close to Tbilisi. It's only 100km. So it's easy to get there by taxi or public transport. There are many minibuses starting from Samgori Bus Station. 1 or 2 days are enough to see the most interesting attractions in Sighnaghi.
 
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Bodbe Monastery of St. Nino and Episcopacy is located in Kakheti, 2 kilometers away from Sighnaghi. According to the legend it is built on the burial place of Saint Nino. Georgian kings were paying great attention to the Bodbe Monastery. It has been repaired and restored many times. In XVII-XVIII centuries, there were scribes: Zakaria Bodbeli (XVII c.), Onofre Bodbeli (XVIII century), Ioane Jorjadze (XVIII century), David Bodbeli (XVIII), Ioane Makashvili (1743-1837) and others. From 1837 Bodbe Monastery was abolished and became a church for believers. In 1889 the Bodbe Mother's Monastery was opened. There was a teaching school with an artistic department. In the complex there is a monument of Georgian architecture- three-nave basilica( with three apsides). With the initial architectural shapes it belongs to the earlier feudal age. Nowadays, it significantly changed. Plastered from the inside and outside. The footprints of the XVII and XIX centuries restoration are apparent. According to the inscription, in the 20s of the XIX century, the church was thoroughly repaired and painted under the direction of Metropolitan Sighnaghi and Kiziki Ioane Makashvili.

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Tsinandali museum complex - Alexander Chavchavadze House-Museum, beautiful garden of Tsinandali and the 19th century unique wine cellar. Located in the Kakheti region, Telavi municipality, village Tsinandali. The Tsinandali Palace belonged to Garsevan Chavchavadze - Ambassador of Georgia in Russia during King Erekle II. The palace was inherited by his only son, Alexander Chavchavadze, the founder of Georgian romanticism, poet and public figure. Chavchavadze Palace in Tsinandali was built in 1886 and is now is a House-Museum of Alexander Chavchavadze. There are preserved personal belongings of Chavchavadze family members. Various publications of the 19th century, manuscripts of the 18th century, photos of Dimitri Ermakov, paintings and lithographic patterns, Georgian, Russian and French furniture and various household items of the 18th and 19th centuries. Including: Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Italian, Georgian and Russian dishware with musical instruments.  The Tsinandali decorative garden is the first European type recreation zone in Georgia and the park covers 18 hectares. Alexander Chavchavadze brought European landscape architects to build it.  It is unique with exotic varieties and planning. You will also meet exotic plants from China, America, Japan, Mediterranean Sea and other countries. There you will see the valley of love in Tsinandali garden. According to legend, if the couple are able to walk in this avenue with closed eyes, their love will be happy. Wine storage of Tsinandali is located on the territory of the park and it is one of the first cellars in Georgia, which was built in 1835. That was the time when Georgian wine was bottled for the first time. Alexander Chavchavadze is the first person in Georgian history who bottled Georgian wine made in European style. In the Tsinandali cellar are preserved 16,500 bottles of wine bottled in various countries.

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Tour Route: Tbilisi> Bodbe> Signagi> Kvareli> Gremi> Telavi> Tbilisi

 

Author of material: https://georgiantravelguide.com/

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