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Kakheti

Kakheti  is a region  formed in the 1990s in eastern Georgia from the historical province of Kakheti and the small, mountainous province of Tusheti. Telavi is its capital. The region comprises eight administrative districts: Telavi, Gurjaani, Kvareli, Sagarejo, Dedoplistsqaro, Signagi, Lagodekhi and Akhmeta. Kakheti is bordered by the Russian Federation to the Northeast, Azerbaijan to the Southeast, and the Georgian regions of Mtskheta-Mtianeti and KvemoKartli to the west.

Kakheti is the birthplace of wine. The history of winegrowing in Kakheti starts in the 6th millennium BC. The earliest known evidence of viticulture – grape residues on potsherds, have been discovered dating from this time in Kakheti. Of approximately 2,000 grape varieties in the world today almost 500 are Georgian, and some believe that the word ‘vino’ from which the English word ‘wine’ comes from, is actually a derivation of the Georgian term “ghvino”.

There are  many historical places in Kakheti, such as: Alaverdi Monastery, Tsinandali, Telavi, Sighnaghi, Shuamta Monastic Complex, Nekresi Monastery, King Erekle II museum in BatonisTsikhe Castle, Ikalto Religious Academy, Gremi, David Gareja, Bodbe Monastery of St. Nino. Also there are two beautiful lakes: Ilia's lake and Kvareli lake.

Alaverdi Monastery was founded by the Assyrian monk Joseph (Yoseb, Amba) Alaverdeli, who came from Antioch and settled in Alaverdi – a small village and former pagan religious center dedicated to the Moon. At the beginning of the 11th century, Kakhetian King Kvirike the Great built a cathedral, today known as Alaverdi Cathedral, in the place of a small church of St. George. At a height of over 55 meters, Alaverdi Cathedral is the second tallest religious building in Georgia, after the recently consecrated Sameba Cathedral in Tbilisi.

Tsinandali is a village in Kakheti, famous for the estate and its historic winery which once belonged to the 19th century nobleman Aleksandre Chavchavadze (1786–1846) – a poet, translator, soldier, businessman, innovator in agriculture and the first modern Georgian oenologist. His exemplary life and achievements played a huge part in introducing new values, promoting social and economic welfare, and changing the trajectory of Georgian culture.

Sighnaghi - small Kakhetian town of Sighnaghi, recognized UNESCO world heritage site, is originated in the current form of a town on the ruins of a previously existing fortress in the second half of the 18th century during the reign of King Erekle II. He has ordered to build a town with the fence in the place of an old stronghold.  Sighnaghi was a royal town and served as a center of Kiziki, one of the districts of Kakheti region; it was administered by Mouravi (manager). The fortress occupied nearly 40 ha of land and was able to harbor whole population of Kiziki in case of enemy invasion. Once Imperial Russia annexed Kartl-Kakheti (in 1801), Sighnaghi became a center of Mazra.

Bodbe Monastery of St. Nino - The Monastery of St. Nino at Bodbe (commonly called Bodbe Monastery) is a Georgian Orthodox monastery complex and the seat of the Bishops of Bodbe located 2 km from the town of Sighnaghi, Kakheti, Georgia. Originally built in the 9th century, it has been significantly remodeled, especially in the 17th century. In the 16-17th centuries Bodbe was the important educational centre.

David Gareja is a rock-hewn Georgian Orthodox monastery complex located in the region of Kakheti, surrounded by impressive landscapes of desert colors. The complex was founded in the 6th century by St. David Garejeli, one of the thirteen Assyrian monks who arrived in the country at the same time. The complex includes hundreds of cells, churches, chapels, refectories and living quarters hollowed out of the rock face.

King Erekle II museum in BatonisTsikhe Castle - BatonisTsikhe citadel is located in Telavi town. It served as the residence of Kakhetian Kings of the 17-18th centuries.The castle encloses two churches, the ruins of the 11th century royal baths, the pantheon and the Persian style Palace of King Erekle II. At present there is established house-museum of King Erekle II, the Ethnographic Museum and the Picture Gallery.

The museum houses King Erekle’s belongings and along with them: numismatic collection, early medieval sarcophagus, late medieval armor, and collections of XVII-XIX c.c. cooper household objects, weapons, Khevsuretian (East Georgian mountainous region) clothes. It is said that King Erekle II was born and died in the south-east part of the castle.