Telavi is the proud home of the palace of one of Georgia’s most beloved kings, Erekle II. King Erekle II was a brilliant diplomat and general who was born in 1720, lived a long and eventful life and died in his palace at the age of 78. He was considered one of the most powerful people of his time in both Europe and the East.
After paying a visit to King Erekle II’s palace in the center of Telavi and seeing some fascinating exhibits from all around the region, it’s time to explore the elegant old brick buildings, historic monuments, broad avenues, and amusement parks that line the streets of the city. In particular, Kakutsa Cholokashvili Street is notable for its architecture, with the Church of the Mother of God being of special significance.
It would be unthinkable to visit Telavi without taking a picture next to the 900-year-old plane tree at the center of town. Legends about this tree are being invented all the time, and some locals swear that if you make a wish while standing beneath its boughs, your wish will come true.
In the evening, you should pay a visit to Nadikvari Park. Surrounded by forest from three sides, it's very green and cozy. There you’ll find beautiful gazebos, quaint cafes with large terraces for outdoor dining, an amphitheater in which performances take place in the summer, and amusement park rides to entertain children.
If you’ve got time during your visit to Telavi, you must pay a visit to the Aleksandre Chavchavadze House Museum in nearby Tsinandali, where you’ll get a glimpse into the life of an aristocrat in 19th-century feudal Georgia. The museum is surrounded by a beautiful garden and offers a wine tasting too!
Another nearby landmark is Iqalto Monastery. The monastery was a center for education in the region during the 11th and 12th centuries.
Other important monuments include old and new Shuamta monasteries, the Vanta Palace Complex, and the Kisiskhevi Church of the Mother of God.
Telavi is also one of the main stops on the Georgian wine route, where you’ll be able to visit a mixture of both family-run wineries and larger producers both in the city and in the villages surrounding Telavi.
Many of these family-run wine cellars invite guests to participate in a wine degustation in which they’ll sample homemade wines, taste iconic Georgian food, and enjoy Kakhetian folk music in a traditional Kakhetian feast.
During your degustation, you’ll learn about the Georgian winemaking tradition of Qvevri fermentation, a method used for more than 8,000 years that is listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
If you’re looking for a more hands-on approach, you can even participate in a Georgian cooking masterclass!