Top 10 Landmarks and Attractions in Kakheti

Top 10 Landmarks and Attractions in Kakheti

Kakheti is a land of endless valleys, green mountain ranges, noisy rivers, and peaceful lakes. Kakheti sights are a must-see when traveling around Georgia. You can spend a day, a weekend, or even more than a week exploring the region. However, among many memorable places, we tried to single out the top 10 landmarks and attractions in Kakheti: elegant, monumental, and created with love and devotion by locals.

1. Alaverdi

Alaverdi, Kakheti

One of the largest and the best-preserved medieval temples, Alaverdi, is a popular destination not only for believers but also for the connoisseurs of ancient history. It was built about a thousand years ago, in the 11th century.

The history of the monastery dates to the 6th century, when one of the Assyrian fathers, Joseph Alaverdeli, built a small chapel here, founded a monastery, and started preaching.

Alaverdi is an active monastery. The complex incorporates several buildings, including the cells for monks, a shop, a bakery, a wine cellar, and a vineyard. The annual harvest is used to make tasty monastery wine. The Cathedral is surrounded by a defensive wall, which makes its appearance even more majestic.

2. Bodbe

Bodbe, Kakheti

The Bodbe Nunnery is located just a couple of kilometers from Sighnaghi. It is considered one of the most sacred places among the Kakheti sights because the tomb of St. Nino is located here. She was a Christian enlightener, who converted Georgian King Mirian to Christianity in the 4th century. Soon the king decided to convert the whole country to Christianity with help of St. Nino.

According to the legend, during the baptism of King Mirian, four stars appeared in the sky, which scattered in different directions. St. Nino followed one of them and found a place in Kakheti for a quiet, modest, and secluded life, where she died a few years later. A temple was built on her grave and soon the nunnery was open here.

People come to Bodbe not only to visit the holy place and the grave of Nino but also to admire the picturesque views of the Alazani Valley. A stunning panorama with endless mountain ranges and a green valley stretching into the distance attract many visitors.

3. David Gareji

David Gareji, Kakheti

David Gareji Monastery is a special place for Georgians. It is located at the border with neighboring Azerbaijan, on the high slopes of the mountains. It is a cave complex. The monks excavated cells, dining, and utility rooms for themselves in dense layers of limestone with their own hands.

The history of the complex starts with one of the Assyrian fathers, David Garejeli, who arrived in Georgia in the 6th century AD to strengthen Christianity and established the monastery here.

The monks led a modest life. They had to endure many hardships. In the Middle Ages, the monastery was destroyed by the invaders, and all the monks were killed because they did not want to renounce the Christian faith.

Today the monastery is restored, and visitors can admire its beauty. An additional bonus will be climbing to the top of the hill, where a small chapel is located, opening a magnificent view of the endless valleys of Azerbaijan.

Don’t leave Kakheti without visiting David Gareji Monastery. Be sure to include it in the list of Kakheti sights to visit!

4. Gremi

Gremi, Kakheti

Gremi is a beautiful fortress, located on the way from Telavi to Kvareli. It used to be an important city, connecting trade routes between Europe and Asia. From here you can admire the bewitching views of the surrounding mountain gorges. The fortress also has a museum with a tower. Nearby there are souvenir shops and stalls, where local merchants sell honey and churchkhela.

The architectural ensemble of the fortress that we see today was built in the 16th century when the city lived to the fullest, and the number of its inhabitants reached one hundred thousand persons!

Gremi is visited by thousands of tourists every year. Full restoration works were done several years ago by the government. Among other things, parking for several dozen cars is possible here.

5. Ikalto

Ikalto, Kakheti

Ikalto is an ancient monastic complex, located just 6 kilometers from Telavi. Situated in a quiet place, it has witnessed many important events of past countries. The complex includes churches, ruins of the academy, and the wall. In the courtyard of the monastery, you will find neatly arranged clay jugs called Qvevri. The monks used to produce wine here.

Nowadays the complex is fully renovated for tourists. It also includes an active church for believers.

6. Sighnaghi

Sighnaghi, Kakheti

Sighnaghi is one of the most famous Kakheti sights. It was restored several years ago and today attracts locals and tourists equally. Winding cobbled narrow streets, tiled roofs of houses, and carved wooden balconies create an atmosphere of comfort and homely warmth. In addition, the city center offers a beautiful panorama of the Alazani Valley, the pride of Kakheti, and all of Georgia. The old fortress wall with towers is surrounding the city. You can walk along it, admiring the delightful nature of the local lands.

One of the notable features of Sighnaghi is the 24-hour wedding palace, located in the center of the city, where you can get married at any time of the day or night. Perhaps that is why Sighnaghi is often called the city of love. Here you can celebrate your wedding, taste local wines, and enjoy the picturesque views.

7. Telavi

Telavi, Kakheti

The city of Telavi is the administrative center of the region. Telavi is one of the largest wine-growing centers of Kakheti. Throughout its history, the city played an important role in political processes and the administrative-territorial division of the region. In previous centuries, its status was as important as that of Mtskheta, Tbilisi, and Kutaisi.

In Telavi, you will find a magnificent fortress, that was the residence of the Kakhetian kings, which is popularly called "Batonis-tsikhe", or "master's fortress". The name was given in honor of the last eminent ruler of Georgia, Erekle II. You will find a 900-year-old plane tree nearby. Its trunk reaches 7-8 meters in diameter.

There are many restaurants in the city, offering delicious Georgian cuisine. One can also find family dining halls where dishes are cooked according to old recipes. You will be met by the cordiality and hospitality of the locals, who will leave the warmest memories in your memory.

8. Tsinandali

Tsinandali, Kakheti

A small village in the municipality of Telavi has been a center of attraction for connoisseurs of culture and history for more than two centuries. The reason for this is the estate of the Chavchavadze family, well-known throughout Georgia. The most famous owner of the estate was the poet, public figure, and high-ranking military figure Alexander Chavchavadze. He inherited the estate from the commander Prince Gersevan. Alexander renovated the estate, landscaped the surrounding gardens, and converted the mansion into one of the main centers of culture and art in Georgia.

He opened a winery, where excellent wines were produced according to the local traditions and European style as well. Among the visitors of the estate were Mikhail Lermontov, Aleksander Pushkin, Aleksander Griboyedov, and many other revered figures of literature, science, and art from Russia and from Europe.

When visiting Kakheti, be sure to include Tsinandali in your travel plan. You can visit the museum, which will take you back in time to a couple of centuries ago and taste the excellent local wine of the same name. Dry white wine "Tsinandali" is another hallmark of this amazing place!

9. Shuamta

Shuamta, Kakheti

Shuamta is an ancient and mysterious place whose history dates to the 5th century. It is an ensemble of two monasteries: the old one and the new one. Old Shuamta is a complex of three churches, the main of which is reminiscent of the Jvari temple, located in Mtskheta, the ancient capital of Georgia. The new part of the complex was built in the 16th century, more than five centuries ago. The monks live here to this day, conducting daily services.

Shuamta is located in the middle of green hills, framed by a chain of high mountains with snow-capped peaks. In summer, the monastery is buried in greenery, and in the cold season, it looks ascetic and mysterious. Visitors admire the tranquility of this place. You will not find shops and crowds of tourists here.

Shuamta is a true Georgian diamond among the top 10 landmarks and attractions in Kakheti, reserved for true connoisseurs of peace and calmness.

10. Vashlovani National Park

Vashlovani National Park, Kakheti

The top 10 landmarks and attractions in Kakheti include not only cozy cities and ancient monasteries but also exquisite and unique natural sites. One of the examples is Vashlovani Park, located in the easternmost part of the country. With beautiful steppes, forest-steppes, and turbulent rivers with a lot of diverse fish, it is one of the most popular destinations among lovers of adventure. Many travelers compare the remote corners of the national park with the desert landscapes of Mars! 

The most comfortable way to get to Vashlovani Park is by driving an SUV. The best months for a visit are May and September. Visitors will be able to enjoy the silence and pristine nature untouched by man! Vashlovani National Park has two zones for overnight staying. You must register at the tourist information center, which is located in the village Dedoplistskaro. There you can also get maps and detailed instructions for the safest stay in the park.

Spend a couple of days in this amazing place - and it will open Georgia to you from a new, unexpected side!