Kakheti is a region of Georgia that shares borders with both the Russian Federation to the north and Azerbaijan to the east and the south.
People have lived in this area since the Stone Age, and this is evident in the abundance of historical monuments that dot the landscape, many of which were educational centres in the past. One notable example of this is the Davitgareji Monastery Complex, which stretches across twenty-five kilometers and is famed for both its architecture and its art.
There is a collection of ecclesiastical architecture in Kakheti, with such amazing representatives as Alaverdi, Ikalto, Shuamta, Bodbe, Nekresi and other churches.
For travelers who are interested in history, there are numerous museums in the region where ancient objects and ethnographic materials discovered during archaeological excavations are kept.
Kakheti is the birthplace of many outstanding Georgians, including kings, artists, writers, and public figures, so there are many house-museums here to honour those people and help visitors who are interested in Georgia get to know them better.
These include the palace of King Erekle (Heraclius) II in Telavi; the museums of Ilia Chavchavadze and Kote Marjanishvili in Kvareli, and in Mirzaani, the house-museum of Niko Pirosmanashvili.
In addition to its fascinating history, Kakheti is also Georgia’s premiere winegrowing region. Due to the fertile soil and the abundance of sun, winemaking is a Kakhetian farmer’s primary business. The most popular varieties are Kakhuri Mtsvane, Saperavi, Rkatsiteli, and Khikhvi.
In addition to producing the best wines, Kakhetians are also famous for the quality of their food. Notable local dishes include mtsvadi, chakapuli, and khashlama, and for dessert they will have you try churchkhela and tatara made from grape juice.
Kakhetian folk songs are so powerful and epic that they make enemies retreat. Of course they are – nobody in Kakheti can even remember a full twenty-year period of peace in the past.
The Kakheti region is full of deep rivers and lakes. Some interesting places to hike are Black Rocks Lake, Rocho Waterfall, Artsivi Gorge, and the Alazani River Valley.
The Lagodekhi Protected Areas, which are the oldest protected areas in Georgia, will share a glorious wilderness with you. Many species of plants and animals here are rare and considered endangered in Georgia and internationally. Within the park, you’ll also find Machi Fortress, on the border of Georgia and Azerbaijan, with a unique history and location.
Furthermore, when you are in Kakheti you absolutely must visit Vashlovani National Park and Kilakupra Mud Volcanoes, where you’ll feel as if you’ve somehow journeyed to another planet!
Kakheti really does have it all: history, breathtaking natural beauty, amazing food and wine, and the trademark Georgian hospitality.