Kakheti is the eastern region of Georgia, famous for stunning landscapes that include snow-covered peaks and curving passes, traditional winemaking in qvevri, and gorgeous cities. It’s one of the country’s most diverse areas. So, here are some of the best things you should see and do in Kakheti while visiting Georgia.
Visit the monasteries
Kakheti is home to many different monasteries and churches. Some of the most distinguished ones are David Gareji, Alaverdi Cathedral, Nekresi Monastery, and Gremi Monastery.
David Gareji, located in the desert of the country that borders with Azerbaijan, is a complex of cave monasteries carved in the rock.
Dating back to the 4th century AD, Nekresi is the oldest Christian church in the country. In the past, it was the most important spiritual, cultural, political, and educational center of the nation.
The cross-domed Alaverdi Cathedral was built in the 11th century by Kakhetian King Kvirike. The height of the cathedral is more than 50 meters (164 feet), making it the second tallest religious building in the country after the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Tbilisi.
Being one of the smallest towns in Georgia, Sighnaghi is also one of the most charming ones, complete with breathtaking landscapes, cobblestone streets, and pastel-colored houses.
You can visit the Sighnaghi Museum, overlook the picturesque Alazani Valley, walk on the ancient defense wall of the city, or try some local wines at several wineries scattered across the area. And if you are traveling with your loved one, you can even get married at the civil ceremony office that’s open 24 hours a day.
St. Nino is an essential figure in Georgia, as she brought Christianity to the land in the 4th century. Bodbe Monastery, located very close to Sighnaghi, is the final resting place of the saint. King Mirian initially built the church over her grave, but it has since been rebuilt and renovated several times.
Prince Alexander Chavchavadze (1786–1846) was one of the most influential figures in Georgian history. Thus, his palace and gardens in the village of Tsinandali is a must-visit during your Kakhetian tour.
The palace was restored a couple of years ago and displays unique relics and memorabilia of the famous family of the 19th century. The park, laid out in an English style, features ancient trees and unusual plants such as Sequoia, ginkgo, and yucca. While you are there, don’t forget to visit Alexander’s winery as well.
The Ikalto Academy was one of the most vital cultural-scholastic centers in the country. Arsen Ikaltoeli and King David the Builder established the academy at the Ikalto Monastery in the early 12th century.
The academy taught theology, astronomy, philosophy, geometry, geography, and chanting, to name a few. However, besides those required classes, students learned practical skills of viticulture, wine-making, pottery-making, and metalwork.
Telavi, one of the oldest cities in the country, is the central city of the region that boasts various attractions for a day trip or a stopover on your tour. One of the most iconic landmarks to visit is Batonistsikhe, the residence of the Kakhetian kings during the 17th and 18th centuries. It includes a Persian-style palace where King Erekle II was born and died.
Tusheti, recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most charming and rural regions in the country. Here, you can explore untouched wild nature, medieval defense towers, and ancient villages.