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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.
Telavi is the administrative and economic center of Kakheti region. There was a time, when Telavi was an important hub for caravans en route from Asia to Europe. In down town of Telavi visitors can see the most beautiful residence of Kakheti kings, which bears the moniker of “Batonis Tsikhe” (Fortress of Master). This complex includes two churches, royal palace, bathhouse, tunnel, fortress and 5-meter wall, where residents of the town found refuge during hostile invasions. Near Telavi is located the Tsinandali Museum- belong to the prominent Georgian poet and public figure, Alexander Chavchavadze. This garden was at various times visited by: Alexander Dumas, Mari-Felicite Brosse, Russian poets Alexander Pushkin, Mikheil Lermontov and Alexander Griboedov. In the first half of the XIX century, along with his beautiful, paradise-like garden and castle, Alexander Dumas called Tsinandali park “the garden of Eden”.
Chavchavadze also constructed here a winery and huge underground wine cellar in Tsinandali. He was the first, who introduced carriage and grand piano in Georgia, also, he was the pioneer in the founding collection of wine, which is home to Georgian and European 16,500 wine bottles of 70 brands up to these days. In international exhibitions held at different times this collection was awarded 11 Gold Medals. Nowadays, Tsinanadali has gained the function of a contemporary museum, which consists 4 parts: museum, park, hotel, accommodation and wine repository (winery and wine cellar). Everyone knows, that Georgia is a wine land, and Telavi is the most important vineyard and wine-producing flash-point. On this territory of the country, centuries ago, during millennia the unique culture of growing grapes and producing wine was shaping up.
20 km from Telavi, in the heart of the mountains covered with deciduous trees, river Lopota water created artificial lake, with the girth of 1 k and maximum depth- 4 km. in 2008 recreational zone was built on the banks of the Lake. Nowadays, several hotels operate here and is very popular rest-place for youth. The lake is also used to breed fish, including common carp, crucian carp, catfish, sturgeon. The lake is surrounded by cycling lane. Here also takes place annual Wings for Life- World Run charity festival.
There are other famous lakes in Kakheti, among them is Ilia’s Lake. This is recreational zone, which comprises 800 m lakeside boulevard, 3-km perfect lane for cycling, amphitheater for 1400 spectators, artificial islands and well-organised lake shore, basketball ground and soccer pitch. Since 2013 on the lake shore has been operating majestic, multi-functional complex, “Royal Batoni”, which will create unbelievable, unforgettable memories.
SignagiSignagi- city of love, is the heart of the most picturesque corner of Kakheti. In 2005-2008 Signagi underwent a fundamental rehabilitation program. Infrastructure was changed, the streets renovated, buildings were given those centuries-old, historical, most pretty appearance. Today this city is one of the most popular place among tourists. Many people spend their honeymoons here, as this is the symbol of love. Here you can see several museums, namely, Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, which houses a unique collection of a self-educated artist, Niko Pirosmanishvili.
Signagi and its environs are peppered with ancient churches and monasteries, as well as the historical monuments. They are visited every year by tens of thousands of worshippers and holiday-makers. In the fall, a wine festival is usually held in Signagi, where wineries and alcohol-producing companies of Georgia present their products. The festival also hosts specimens of popular handicrafts- felt, quilt, rugs, carpets, flutes, panduri (three-stringed national lute). At 2 km away from Signagi is the nunnery of St.Nino and episcopal center of Bodbe Eparchy. The monastery was built in IV century 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 prays of Nino, there is ablution site and a small church. Every day it is visited by crowds of people. In 1889 by Decree of the Russian emperor, Alexander III, Bodbe Convert was opened. Here also was arranged boarding school of noble ladies.
David Gareji Monastery Complex
David Gareji Monastery Complex is one of the most popular places in Georgia. To the southeast of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, within 60-70 km distance, in the semi-desert of historical Kakheti, in the rocky mountains of Gareji lies one of the outstanding monastery centers founded in the VI century by the Holy Father David Garejieli, who came here from Assyria. At first he settled in the natural cave and later, it became a noted monastery under the name of David’s Lavra. Today, the monastery complex consists of more than 20 historical monuments. David Gareji monasteries have created peculiar monastery and construction tradition and their own school of mural painting. Especially brilliant and impressive masterpiece is the painting of the church of Virgin Mary of the XII-XIII cc. Here also was a rich collection of manuscripts kept.
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