Telavi is the administrative center of the Kakheti region. The population is 28 thousand people. It is located 165 km southeast from Tbilisi. The city is built on a mountain slope, in the valleys of the Lori and Alazani rivers, where a beautiful view opens up – the Alazani Valley and the high ridges of the Caucasus Mountains are seen as in the palm of your hand.
The name “telavi” is associated with “TELA” (elm tree), although it does not grow in Telavi now. According to historical data, Telavi, as a settlement, is mentioned in 2nd century. There was a large caravan route connecting the western countries with the nearby eastern, which, of course, contributed to its development. In the 4th-5th centuries Telavi, based on historical sources, was already a densely populated city. In the 10th-11th centuries, when Georgia was divided into principalities, the city became the residence of the rulers of Kakheti-Hereti. The city loses its significance in the 12th century during the reign of David the Builder. From the 17th century it again became the residence of Kakheti principality, and after the unification of Kartli and Kakheti during the reign of king Erekle, from 1762 to 1782 the residence of Georgian rulers were transferred to Telavi, which was called Batointsikhe, “the fortress of the lord.” The church empties and loses its significance after Georgia joins the Russian Empire. During this period, Telavi becomes a county center.
Batonissikhe is located in the center of the city, surrounded by a large fence and yard; there is a museum-house of Erekle II, the ethnographic museum and the art gallery (private collection Tinatin Iashvili, which includes paintings of 17-19st century famous Russian, French, Italian, Dutch and German artists). Opposite to Batonissihe there is a monument to ErekleII. I remind you that Kakheti is a winemaking region, so there are many wineries here.
From southeast to Telavi at a distance of 10 km there is the village of Tsinandali. Here is the estate of the poet and public figure of the 19th century Alexander Chavchavadze (1786-1846). His father Garsevan Chavchavadze was the first ambassador during the Russian Empire. He signed the St. George treatise with King Erekle II in 1783, according to which the Kartl-Kakhetian kingdom was under the patronage of the Russian Empire. Erekle II gave the lands to Garcevan Chavchavadze, so Tsinandali’s estate became the property of Prince Chavchavadze.
The Tsinandali homestead was the place where the intelligentsia gathered and the cultural center. The name of Chavchavadze is connected the production of new varieties of grapes, as well as the production of new technologies. Chavchavadze family was very popular among aristocrats and was always in the spotlight. This family was known for its hospitality not only in Georgia, but also abroad. They were written about by Alexander Dumas and Chevalier Jacques Francois Gamba, who was the ambassador of France in Georgia in 1820-24. The governess of the Frenchwoman Anna Drense, etc.
If Garcevane was visited by aristocrats and diplomats, Alexandra added writers, poets, and public figures to their number. Evenings at Chavchavadze were decorated by their daughters: Ekaterina, Nino and Sofia. Alexander also had a son, David. Catherine married the Prince of Samegrelo region, Nino-Russian poet and diplomat Griboyedov, and Sofia for the Finnish Baron Alexander Nikolai, who was the chief of staff of the army of the Caucasian governor. Just before the public Tsinandali, first read Griboyedov “Woe from Wit”. And the poem of Baratashvili dedicated to Catherine. The love story of Nino and Alexandra is tragic. Four months after the wedding, Griboyedov was sent to Tehran as a diplomatic mission, where he was killed. Despite the fact that Nina was 16 years old, she did not marry more. Griboyedov is buried in the pantheon of Mtatsminda, in the courtyard of the church of Father David. By order of Nino, a tombstone with the inscription “Mind and your deeds are immortal in the memory of the Russian, was erected on the grave of Griboyedov, but how can I survive without you! “.
Despite the fact that Alexander Chavchavadze was the son of the first ambassador of Georgia and the godchild of Russian queen Catherine the Great, he was repeatedly convicted or he was seen in anti-Russian activities and resettled. In November 1846, he fell out of the carriage, and died of a head injury. They buried him in the nearby monastery of Shuamta. His son David became the inheritor. To compare him with his father was a weak ruler, in addition to this in 1854, the people of Shamil defeated the palace, and captured his son and wife, and the youngest daughter (12 years old) Lydia was killed. In return, Shamil demanded the release of his son, whom the Russians were held captive for 15 years. After 9 months of negotiations, in 1855, Nicholas 1 Russian king agreed to an exchange. After this incident, David left military service and decided to do family business. He borrowed money from banks to finance the family economy. He could not pay them off, and most of the estate passed into the possession of the Russian kingdom, and the land was sold. During the Soviet Union, the estate passed under their authority. In 1946, with the head of the poet Giorgi Leonidze, a museum was opened, which had ideological meaning.
In the 19th century, the Georgian aristocracy had a refined European taste; proof of this is an English garden of 12 hectares. To date, the house is a museum. On the way to the house there is Cypress alley, there are a lot of exotic plants, which were brought from abroad. Among them are sequoia, cedar, magnolia, palm trees, bamboo. In front of the palace are beautiful roses.
On the right side of the entrance to the garden is the state residence, for the rest of the government members. In front of this building was a church where Nino Chavchavadze was married.
In 2008, after the repair, you can visit not only the house museum, but also souvenir shops, exhibition gallery and literary cafe.
In the house museum there will be a local guide. Here we will get acquainted with the representative of the principality and with the famous writer with Alexander Chavchavadze and the life of his family. Let’s see personal things, photos, and the first piano brought in Georgia.
The Gremi complex consists of several structures, although we will visit some of them: a museum where artefacts are stored during archaeological excavations, a church dedicated to the Archangels and a royal palace that has been converted into a museum. Transport stops in the parking lot, near the toilet. According to the situation, we decide that we visit first a museum or a church. The museum presents graphically the Gremi plan as a city. It is better to tell the history of the city here. We reach the church on the stairs. Approximately 80 steps. At the beginning of the stairs, the image of St. Martyr of Ketevan. After watching the church, we bring tourists to the museum of the royal palace. Above the palace is an observation deck, to which one must climb the stairs. Optional.
In the north-west of Telavi at a distance of 19 km. Is the village of Gremi, today this ordinary Kakheti village, but for 150 years (from 1466 to 1616). He was the capital of the region and a strategically important object.
According to archaeologists, the first settlements arose in the 6th century. The city-fortress was founded in 1466, when the Kakhetian kingdom separated from Kartli.
Soon the city began to flourish, develop and establish trade relations with its neighbors.
Roads were made of stone slabs, for tired passengers built Carvasley.
Unfortunately, the city lasted only 150 years. In 1616 after the invasion of Shah Abbas, Graham as a city practically ceased to exist, although the royal residence in Telavi was postponed, only 60 years of the 17th century.
The ruins of the city are on 50 hectares. Archaeological excavations have shown that it consists of 3 parts. In the center was the citadel, on the west side the shopping areas, and on the east side – the residence of the kings. The citadel consisted of a fence, bell and dome church.
The Church of the Archangels belongs to the late feudal era. On the west side, above the entrance there is an inscription that the church was built in 1565 by Tsar Levan. Wall paintings date back to 1577.
The frescoes represent the cycle of the Holy Week and the depiction of various saints. Particular attention is drawn to the figures of the Archangels.
Among the frescos is the “Assumption of the Blessed Virgin” (on the western portal), “Emperor Constantine” (on the western wall) and on the southern wall of the representation of St. George and St. Nino. Some murals cannot be disassembled. The names are written both in Georgian and in Russian.
The apostles – King Levan, who holds the mock-up of the church in the southern part of the western wall, he passes this mock-up to the Church of the Theotokos, on whose knee the infant Jesus sits. On the left side is an image of St. Wars. Here is an inscription on which we learn that the church was built by King Levan. He is buried in the southeastern part of the church.
The church is central-domed, and built of bricks, like the bell tower. The facade is decorated with oriental decor.
In the southern part of the cathedral a building is built, which was built before the cathedral and was called “Halls”. Earlier here, the royal palace was supposed to stand, today it is a museum. The belltower is attached later.
As previously noted, Graham was a fortified city with a citadel and defensive structures. There is a tunnel, which descended down during the invasion.
In the commercial part of the city there are several small churches, among them the Armenian Church (built in 1595) by the historian of Tsar Alexander, Matars. The church has an inscription in Georgian, Armenian and Persian, where the name of the tutor is indicated.