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Kakheti

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Kakheti

In this country of wine-lovers, everybody knows that the best wines come from the fertile eastern part of Georgia, named by Dumas “the garden country of Kakheti.” Actually, few things have changed since his time – horse-drawn carts are an often sight on the silent country roads, the fields are dotted with haystacks, and the sweet grapes are still cropped by hand. But wine is not the only thing that Kakheti can offer – the rich history of the area has left us some of Georgia’s greatest examples of church architecture. Moreover friendliness hospitality of people will prove you why a visit to Kakheti is always a pleasure.

The town of Telavi is the administrative and cultural center of the area. The town is located on a hilltop above the Alazani lowland with the Caucasus Mountains in the background. In early centuries, it was the capital of the Kakheti kingdom and the 18th century royal palace of Batonistsikhe still dominates the center of the town nowadays. The palace concludes two temples, the ruins of the 11th century royal baths, the pantheon and the Persian-style Castle of King Erekle II. The Castle today includes the King Erekle’s House-Museum, the Ethnographic Museum and the Picture gallery.

Sightseeing places:

Among sightseeing places one of the most important is Alaverdi Cathedral which was built in the 11th century. It stands in the river lowland, its surrounding walls erect against the backdrop of the Caucasus Mountains and concluding the monkish refectory, wine-cellar and bath-house as well as the 17th century ruler’s estate from a time when Kakheti was under Islamic rule.

Tsinandali was the residence of the Chavchavadze family – representatives of the 19th century Georgian aristocracy. A walk along the magnificent English-style garden will take you to the house-museum of the popular poet and duke Alexander Chavchavadze and the winery where you can try some well-known Kakhetian wines and visit the collection of old wines of 1814.

Shuamta is the name of two monasteries – Akhali Shuamta, a 16th century monastery now once again in use, and the isolated Dzveli Shuamta with its three ancient churches dating to the 6th-7th centuries set among forested hills.

The fortified town of Sighnaghi is located on the ridge overlooking the Alazani valley. The protective walls and 28 towers were constructed by King Erekle II in the 18th century against the Lezgian intrusion. Little has changed here for the last 200 years. The town saved its original image and now suggests visitors wonderful views of the surrounding Caucasus Mountains.

Bodbe Monastery of St Nino holds the tomb of St Nino, the Cappadocian maiden who turned the Georgian people into Christianity as early as 337AD.

Nekresi Monastery is another attracting place, a complex has few interesting buildings, especially the 4th century church which is one of the ancient in Georgia, and the extraordinary 7th century three-church basilica. Other structures within the complex application are the 9th century cross-cupola church, the wine-cellar, the refectory, the pontiff’s palace and the 16th century tower.

David Gareja Cave Monastery was founded by the end of 6th century by David, one of the 13 Syrian Fathers who sermonized Christianity to the Georgians. The complex is situated in the semi-desert and consists of 19 monasteries. The oldest is Lavra Monastery holding the tomb of Father David, while the colorful caves of Udabno Monastery look out over a wonderful landscape of striped scenery and ridges showing stunning views over to neighboring Azerbaijan.

History:

Kakheti was autonomous feudal princedom from the middle of the eighth century. It was incorporated into the united Georgian Kingdom at the middle of the eleventh century. But in the beginning of the twelfth century Georgian King David the Builder combined Kakheti into his Kingdom successfully.

After the disruption of the Georgian Kingdom, Kakheti became an autonomous Kingdom in the 1460s. In 1762, the Kakhetian Kingdom was combined with the neighboring Georgian Kingdom of Kartli, with the capital of the former, Telavi also capital of the Albanian Hereti, becoming the capital of the united Eastern-Georgian Kingdom of Kartl-Kakheti and assimilation of Albanians reinforced by church. Both Kingdoms were loosened by often Safavid intrusions. In 1801 the Kingdom of Kartl-Kakheti was joined to the Tsarist Russian Empire.

In 1918–1921 Kakheti was part of autonomous Democratic Republic of Georgia, in 1922–1936 part of Transcaucasian SFSR and in 1936–1991 part of Georgian SSR. Since the Georgian autonomy in 1991, Kakheti is an area in the republic of Georgia and Telavi is considered to be its capital.

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