Best things to See and Do in Telavi

Telavi city | © Константин Александрович / WikiCommons
Telavi city | © Константин Александрович / WikiCommons
Photo of Baia Dzagnidze
Writer13 April 2018

The central city of Kakheti region, Telavi, is a historical city boasting stunning mountain landscapes, beautiful architecture, ancient monasteries, and picturesque valleys. Aside from being a famous tourist destination, Telavi, and the whole region, is recognized as the center of traditional Georgian wine-making. The city is not big but has some interesting sights for you to check out.

Explore Batonis Tsikhe

Map View
City walls in Telavi | © tomasz przechlewski / Flickr

Batonis Tsikhe, or the Fortress of the Master in English, is one of the best-preserved medieval royal palaces in the country. Built by King Archil in the 17th century, the fortress was the residence of Kakhetian kings during the 17th and 18th centuries. King Erekle II expanded the area of the castle in the second half of the 18th century. Today, the area houses a museum dedicated to King Erekle II, where you can see the bedrooms, the king’s throne, and his sword.

Explore the Estate of Prince Chavchavadze

Winery, Building, Museum
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Chavchavadze Family Estate | © Donovan Driver / WikiCommons
Prince Alexander Chavchavadze (1786–1846) was one of the most significant figures in Georgian history. His palace and garden in Tsinandali is a must-see place in Telavi. Only 9 kilometres away from the city, the palace showcases the unique memorabilia and relics of the royal family of the 19th century. The courtyard, laid out in English style, has unusual plants and ancient trees. You can also visit Chavchavadzes winery and try some of the locally produced beverage on-site.

Visit Alaverdi Monastery

Church, Cathedral, Monastery
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Alaverdi Cathedral | © Peter / WikiCommons

Alaverdi Monastery, located in Akhmeta municipality, and only a 25-minute drive away from Telavi, is another must-see places once in the area. Some parts of the church date back to the 6th century, while the present-day cathedral was built in the 11th century. It is believed that the monastery was founded by Joseph Alaverdeli, one of the Assyrian monks who came to Georgia from Antioch and settled here. Back then it was a small village with a pagan religious center dedicated to the moon. With a height of more than 55 meters, the monestary was the highest religious building in the country until 2004, when the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi was constructed. The place gets very crowded during an annual religious festivity called Alaverdoba.

Explore the Ancient Academy of Georgia

Church, Monastery, Ruins
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Ruins of Ikalto Academy | © Abramia Giorgi / WikiCommons
Located only 10 kilometres away from Telavi, Ikalto village is known for the monastery complex and Ikalto Academy, founded by one of the 13 Syrian Fathers in the 6th century. Being one of the most significant cultural scholastic centers of Georgia, the students here learn theology, philosophy, astronomy, geometry, chanting, and geography. They also learn more practical skills like pottery-making, wine-making, viticulture, and metalwork.

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