Kvareli sits on the northern tip of the Alazani Valley, which is now the beating heart of Georgian winemaking and the microregion of the world-famous Kindzmarauli wine. To the north of Kvareli, you’ll see the Caucasus Mountain Range, while Kakheti’s iconic river, the Alazani, flows through the city along with several of its tributaries.
It is a geographically stunning location, with the high mountains to one side and the sprawling plains of the Alazani Valley to the other.
Human habitation in the region dates back at least as far as the Bronze Age, with a variety of ancient churches and fortresses remaining as a testament to a long and interesting history.
Popular landmarks in and around Kvareli include:
The Nekresi Monastery Complex - A religious center of this region from the Early Middle Ages. Located on the top of the mountain and surrounded by beautiful nature, Nekresi Monastery Complex includes the buildings belonging to different centuries, including a church built in the 4th century, making it one of the oldest surviving churches in all of Georgia.
Kvareli Fortress – Dating back to the 16th - 18th centuries, this fortress had strategic importance during civil wars and when Georgia found itself being invaded by foreign powers.
Dolochopi Basilica – A monument from the 5th to 8th centuries which has unique importance for the history of Georgian church architecture. It is the oldest and largest existing basilica-type church in Georgia.
The Museum of Money – Here you will find the centuries-long history of the circulation of money in Georgia, with examples from the 6th century BCE right through until today.
Ilia Chavchavadze Kvareli State Museum – A memorial museum of one of the greatest Georgians in history, poet and public figure. Chavchavadze’s manuscripts, personal items and variety of objects highlighting his educational and public activity are kept in a modernist building in the center of Kvareli.
Kote Marjanishvili House-Museum – A museum of a brilliant Georgian theatre producers that houses his personal items, a collection of paintings, books and antiques, as well as objects related to his professional life.
Of course, there is more than just Georgia’s rich history to be explored in Kvareli. Those wanting to get out and stretch their legs will find infinite charm in the forests and mountains surrounding Ilia Lake and Kvareli Lake. The latter has a wonderful hotel built on its banks.
While lovers of fine wine will be spoiled for choice due to the proximity of the Alazani Valley and the numerous wine cellars in Kvareli, a visit to the famous Winery Khareba is a particularly unique wine tasting experience, as their wine is stored in eight kilometres worth of underground tunnels!
You’ll find numerous hotels and restaurants to cater to all tastes and budgets in Kvareli, making it an ideal stop on any Georgian itinerary.