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Imereti was the cultural centre during the centuries. It was oldest transit trade route- great Silk Road, and had the function of a transit link between Europe and Asia. Even now, one can hardly find a Gorge in Imereti without any footstep of the past. Geographically, the region occupies the central part of the Nation. From the north it is bordered by Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo (lower) Svaneti, from the east- by Shida (inner) Kartli, from the west- by Guria, Samegrelo and Zemo (upper) Svaneti. Imereti is surprisingly green and unique region. The area is occupied by dense forests, can say, that this region is always in blossom, with mild winters and abundant harvests. If you ask anyone, what they remembered the most in Imereti, (who have ever been there, doesn’t matter if she/he is Georgian or not,) they will immediately tell you - Cousin and Hospitality. Everyone knows Imeretian khachapuri, Mchadi, different kind of Lobio (red beans) with most delicious Imeretian Cheese. Don’t forget about matchless green pickled Tkemali- which is the “visit card” of Georgia in foreign countries. This is unique, special, Georgian “characteristic” plum sauce. Imereti is the mother of juicy fruit-stewed fruit and organic vegetables- healthy salads, which taste will never be forgotten. Apart from being exotic and stunning, imereti is rich both- cultural and spiritual.
Let’s start with Kutaisi- an administrative centre of Imereti. In the 15-13 centuries BC, the area was home to the Colchian culture. Archeological excavations prove that, in the VI century BC there was a township there. For many centuries it played the role of important political, administrative, cultural and educational centre of Georgia. Later, Kutisi was the capital of Georgia, it was the throne city, with royal seat. so it has a wonderful history behind. This is the second largest city of Georgia. It is settled on the both banks of the River Rioni. Deep down in the history, river Rioni was called Phasis. Europeans have become familiar with it through Argonauts. (so, where is the Golden Fleece?). Also, not far from the city are located the Ajameti conservation area, the Pillar of Katskhi and other natural sightseeing locations, like Sataplia sanctuary territories, which you see on on the picture.
At 7 kilometers from Kutaisi you can see worldwide famous Tsqaltubo Spa. It was especially popular during the Soviet Union, when from every “part” of USSR rich and famous people get there to relax. During this time there were up to 30 sanatoria and rest-houses. Among them was the most popular sanatoria, called Shakhtior, that could host up to 500 holiday makers. Tsqaltubo spa is still useful for health, here you can bathe in Tsqaltubo thermal waters. It’s still useful for health, here you can bathe in Tskhaltubo thermal waters, which have been known for centuries. Thermal waters are very effective treatment for rheumatism, bones, nerves, cardiovascular system, skin and gynecological diseases.
There are numerous karst caves on the territory of Imereti. One of the most remarkable in Europe is a Prometheus Cave (Tsqaltubo district, village of Kumistavi). The cave has 17 halls and there are a lot of beautiful cold lapped shapes of stalactites and stalagmites, pisolites, “waterfalls in stone”, “stone curtains” and so on... The climate of the cave is wholesome for people suffering from asthma.
As for me the most interesting in Imereti is Sataplia. If you love ancient stories, myth or legends about dinosaurs, then, here you go! You can see and even touch the footprints of dinosaurs here! In 1933 up to 200 unique tracks of predator and herbivorous dinosaurs were discovered in Western Georgia. Shudder will run through your body, when you see them. It’s so clear that you may feel a kind of fear. (maybe it is still there, hiding somewhere near).
The cave is a natural riverbed for river Ogaskuri. During 30 million years, this small rivulet step by step tried to make its way and widened corridors of the cave. The cave was accidentally discovered by the curator of Kutaisi museum, while exploring and looking for stations of ancient hominids. Gigantic dinosaurs stationed in the managed national reserve of Sataplia around the cave millions of years ago. Sataplia was the first karst cave in Georgia, where the tourists infrastructure was arranged. So, I think, this is the place, everyone should visit, while alive. This should be, as for me, in list of the world’s wonders! The site preserves other than Speleological, geological, paleontological, zoological and botanical attractions.
The biggest part of the Imereti is covered by Colchis forests, here you can see evergreen and deciduous species of plants of plants and bushes. More than half of the tree-plants are relicts of the Tertiary period, which is a rare case for the territories located in the likely attitudes. Also, there are more than 50 wildlife species, of which the population of birds is noted for its variety. In the vicinity of the sanctuary, there are many historical and archeological monuments. Among them one should mention settlement of Vani, early Middle Age church of Ubisi, church Motsameta (people from different countries just visit Georgia to see that masterpiece of nature, the most picturesque place in the world) Gelati Monastery Complex (under the protection of UNESCO) and Bagrat Cathedral.
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