Monasteries and wine of Georgia

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June 12th 2018
Published: June 29th 2018
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Telavi and Signaghi

Telavi is not the most inspiring town, there are good views from the palace down into the valley.

We hired a driver for the day, organised by our host Svetlana – the most comfortable car we have been in so far! Hetook us around the area to four different historical sites, a 6th Century church at Ikalto, a big and still operating monastery at Alaverdi a UNESCO site with buildings from 6th Centruy. Then on to ancient palace on a hill at Gremi from the 16th Century and finally to the foot of a steep hill that took us up to another ancient church at Nekresi from 4th Century. A very pleasant day, quite a lot of tourists doing the same circuit. We didn't add in the vineyard trip. Great locations for their churches, either verdant gardens or hills with great views.

After two nights in Telavi we moved on to Sighnaghi. Maia's Guesthouse has a balcony with great views over valley, the town walls and the Caucasus Mountains. Town is prettier and more touristy than Telavi. Walked the 2km out to a monastery with more great views. Lots of ridges here so everywhere has a good view, including a lovely café on the walk back from the monastery.

Hired a driver for a day through Maia to visit the ancient David Gareja monastery and cave churches. The setting is stunning, high mountain plains, multi coloured rocks and the cave churches all along a steep escarpment looking down into Azerbaijan. Beautiful day, enjoyed the walk, the scenery, the frescoes, the many lizards, birds, butterflies and flowers. Quite steep slopes to hike up and then down.

Very pleasant couple of days in Sighnaghi.

Where to stay: Telavi at Svetlana's B&B and Sighnaghi at Maia's Guest House.

How to get there: Taxi from Ilgar's to bus station in Sheki (5 AZN). Minibus from Sheki to Balakan. Taxi from bus station to border (5 AZN). Walk across border. Taxi on Georgian side to Telavi (50 Lari).

To Sighnaghi, minibus from Telavi to Tsnori, then another from Tsnori to Sighnaghi (5 Lari, then 1 Lari)

Taxi out to David Garej was 120 GEL about 2 hours drive each way plus 3 hours there.

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