There are four municipalities within Racha-Lechkhumi - Kvemo Svaneti: Ambrolauri (lower Racha), Oni (upper Racha), Tsageri (Lechkhumi), and Lentekhi (Kvemo Svaneti). The three cities of the region are the administrative center of the region, Ambrolauri, as well as Oni and Tsageri, and the two towns are Lentekhi and Kharistvala. This region, with 4,954 km2 of land area, is distinguished for its unique history and architectural monuments, with diverse nature, peaks, caves, rivers, waterfalls, and lakes.
Tsageri is a home to legendary Khvamli Mountain, known as the place where Prometheus, who challenged the gods, was chained.
Myths aside, the historical sources claim that the first traces of human life in Racha-Lechkhumi - Kvemo Svaneti date back to the Stone Age. Objects from the Bronze and Iron Ages have been found in the region and the copper mines discovered in Svaneti confirm the significant role that the region played in the mining and working of that ore.
The upper reaches of the Rioni River were exceptional since there was a large-scale bronze production center allowing the Svans to capitalize on it. Svaneti also played a large role in gold production, since in earlier times, this region was part of the kingdom of Colchis, and the Golden Fleece myth relates to the gold mining tradition in Svaneti.
Racha-Lechkhumi - Kvemo Svaneti was well-protected by natural conditions and by fortresses, and kings and noble families fleeing from their enemies often took shelter in them. Tsageri was often also called the kingdom's treasury.
One of the masterpieces of Georgian architecture is the Nikortsminda Church. Many others are scattered throughout the region including, Barakoni, Labechina, Mravaldzali, Goni Archangel, Shromisubani churches, Skhieri Monastery Complex, Khotevi and Minda Fortresses, Kvaratsikhe Fortress, the cyclopean Natsikhari, the Goni and Tskheti St. George Churches, Muri and Orbeliani Fortresses, Oni Synagogue, and more.
The unique nature of Racha-Lechkhumi - Kvemo Svaneti includes its high, middle, and low mountain ranges, caves, rivers, waterfalls, and lakes. All this makes it a place of unforgettable adventure for active sports enthusiasts. However, Khvamli Mountain, associated with Prometheus, leaves a mystical impression on many travelers.
Khvamli Mountain stands in Lechkhumi, within Tsageri and Tskaltubo Municipalities. According to ancient sources, it was on Khvamli, also known as Khomli, that Zeus ordered Prometheus to be chained, and where Heracles came to release him. It was also a place where the Greek Argonauts traveled. According to Georgian legends, Khvamli hides a great secret. It is not known whether it is a treasure or something else.
The calling card of the region is the Shaori and Lajana Reservoirs. The Nikortsminda and Skhvava karst caves, Rachkha, Chkumi and Love (Sikvaruli) Waterfalls, Kulbaki, Udziro, and Sasvano Lakes are also very impressive sites.
Hiking on the Buba and Kirtishi Glaciers or the Chiora and Khikhata Mountains is a great chance to explore the region's great outdoors. Visit the Sairme Pillars and Askhivi Massif for spectacular views of the area.
Racha-Lechkhumi - Kvemo Svaneti is one of the best places for people who love mountain vacations. There are numerous therapeutic mineral waters and balneological and climatic resorts including Shovi, Utsera, Lashichala, Bugeuli and more.
There are 525 species of grapevines spread throughout Georgia, many of which are grown on the slopes of Racha-Lechkhumi - Kvemo Svaneti. Aleksandrouli, Rachuli Mtsvane, Rachuli Tetra, Mujuretuli, Usakhelouri, Orbeluri Ojaleshi, Tsolikouri and other local wines are distinguished by their rich flavors.
Khvanchkara, a red cuvée of Aleksandrouli and Mujuretuli from lower Racha enjoys great popularity within Georgia and around the world.
White semi-sweet Tvishi, made from Tsolikouri grapes grown in a small area of Lechkhumi, also deserves attention. Make sure to try one of the most rare and expensive Georgian wines coming from Lechkhumi, Usakhelouri.
In addition to the wines of Racha-Lechkhumi, try these examples of the rich local cuisine: cheese fondue khavitsi, local ham - Rachuli lori, bean pie lobiani, cornbread with dips - tskaldaskhmula, and exceptional Svan dishes including kubdari, which is a delectable filled pastry with prepared spiced meat placed within dough; chvishtari, a mixture of baked corn flour and stretchy cheese; and tashmijabi, made with potatoes and cheese.