While driving on the beautiful Kakhetian forest highway, a visit to Telavi – an ancient city surrounded by incredible views of Alazani Valley and filled by the humid air of the Alazani River – should not even be questioned. Telavi is a city not only chosen by the Grand Silk Road merchants, their suppliers, and producers, but also by the nobility, who in the 17th century, for the sake of a better way of life, moved the capital of the Kakhetian Kingdom to Telavi.
Telavi’s ancient economic and political importance, now merely a symbol of pride for the locals, was acknowledged by the Greek polymath Ptolemy, who indicated Telavi as Teleda in the work Geographia. Relics from several archaeological excavations suggest that humans settled in Telavi during the Late Bronze Age (~1000 BC).
History, blended with the aroma and flavor of the finest Georgian wine and preserved by the mighty Caucasus mountains – all this can be found in Telavi, a city where past meets present in the most magical way.
Just wandering around, one may encounter misty roads of the underground town, visit the castle of a King, who even as a child strived for his country’s independence, or make a wish next to the 900-year-old blooming sycamore tree.
What to see in Telavi:
- Sycamore Tree – the symbol of Telavi, representing its historic importance. The Sycamore tree is more than 900 years old and is treated accordingly to its needs. There is a saying that all wishes made next to the tree come true.
- Fortress ‘Batonis Tsikhe’ – built by King Archil in the 17th century, Batonis Tsikhe (Lord’s Castle) was the main royal residence of the Kakhetian kings. It resembles the Kakhetian fusion of Persian architecture and Orthodox tradition. Two churches, the royal bathhouse, the castle walls and permanent exhibition are featured. Batonis Tsikhe, which recently underwent renovations, is said to be one of the best-preserved medieval castles in the country.
- Cholokashvili Street – a newly refurbished street in the center of Telavi, where on the narrow and cozy roads with ancient pavement, colorful houses with innumerable balconies and diverse carved wooden railings.
- Giorgi Chubinashvili Telavi State History and Ethnography Museum – inhabits halls of King Erekle II’s Palace, originally built in 18th century. Among the relics, private possessions of Erekle II lie next to various numismatic, archaeological, ethnographic, and textile artefacts. Museum was named after Georgian Art Historian Giorgi Chubinashvili, in 1927.
- Nadikvari Park – a recreational zone in the Eastern part of a city for cultural and active leisure. Open space in the northern part of the park offers an incredible view of the Alazani Valley. German writer and journalist Arthur Leist described the view of the valley during a full moon as a real-life miracle.
Best time to visit Telavi: Late August – Mid-October
How to get to Telavi:
Tbilisi – Telavi (100km)
- Marshutka (minibus)