Akhalkalaki’s favorable geographic location made it a city by the 9th or 10th century, and by the 11th century it had become the political and economic center of Javakheti region. It should be noted that one of Georgia’s most significant architectural monuments is located in this region – the 10th-century Kumurdo Cathedral, but there is also:
The 11th-century Georgian Baraleti Church;
The 8th-10th-century Ghrtila Church;
The 10th-century Abuli Church;
The 10th-century Bavra Church;
The 9th century Samsari Church, carved into a cliffside
The 19th-century Armenian Church.
One of the main historical monuments of Akhalkalaki is the ruined 11th-century fortress city. The citadel, towers, and a mosque remain to this day.
Akhalkalaki is known to have been home to people since the Stone Age. During archaeological digs one kilometer south of modern-day Akhalkalaki Stone Age hand axes, scrapers, and other primitive tools made of basalt were found. An extremely interesting artifact from a somewhat later period was also found here: a bronze disk with a diameter of 40 centimeters and a thickness of two to three centimeters dating back to the 1st century CE. It is believed to be an astronomical calendar and is now kept in the Akhalkalaki Local Museum.
The beautiful landscapes of Akhalkalaki Municipality are quite popular among tourists, especially the Abul-Samsari Mountain Range, with its magical lakes and proud mountains.
Levani Lake is particularly famous for its clear, green waters. There is also Kartsakhi Lake, which is the domain of water birds.
The highest peak of the Abul-Samsari Range, which is also the highest point in southern Georgia, is the extinct volcano of Didi Abuli Mountain.
While this peak makes for a beautiful sight to see from the city, it is worth making the fourteen kilometre drive to climb the mountain yourself, if only for the breathtaking views that it gives you over the entire region.