The views in the Alazan Valley are amazing! It's called that by the name of the Alazani River. This wonderful valley is perfect for viticulture - everything is miraculously combined: the purest water of mountain rivers, healing mountain air, suitable soil and gentle valley climate. Did you know that a real viticulturist doesn't water his bushes? So that the roots grow deep and absorb water with minerals dissolved in it from the deepest rock. There you go! In the Alazan Valley there are about 40 varieties of endemic grapes for wine.
Above the Alazan valley is the Bodbi monastery, where the relics of St. Nina rest. That's where she struggled at the sunset of her earthly life. Then a church was founded there, and later a monastery. In the Middle Ages, they were anointed there to the kingdom of the Katekhin kings. In Soviet times, the monastery was abolished. It's now restored. The holy spring is not far away. You can get some water and take a dip.
And now we're heading into town from a fairy tale. Signals are called the city of love. Here you can register your marriage at any time of day and night! Probably the only city in the world where the wedding palace is never closed, 24 hours a day it works. At the city gate, we are met by a sculpture of Don Quixote... But let me tell you, it's not Spain! On closer inspection, it turned out that he had an umbrella instead of a spear and a suitcase in his other hand. It's clear, tourist! Just like us. Just us in the car, he's on a donkey. That's why it's so slim! Drives himself leisurely in the fresh air, moves, views the beauty of the Alazan valley... And we climb the city's fortress walls. The uniqueness of the fortress is that it was erected in the 17th-18th centuries by King Irakli II, and is almost completely preserved! It stood at the crossroads of trade routes and protected residents from raids and looting. You can walk along the wall, there are comfortable handrails for security and look at the city and the Alazan valley from above. There are watchtowers along the perimeter of the wall. The red tiled roofs of houses, the view of the mountains and the valley, create the impression of Italian landscape, but no, dear, you are in Georgia. Both the valley and the main Caucasian ridge can be seen from Sighnakha.
How can you be in the Alazan Valley and not visit a winery? That's right, it's not. Let's go watch the process of making local wine, and then we will have a tasting and a delicious lunch. You can buy wine as a gift. Try and buy what you like.
Slowly we move on, and here we are in the world-famous Tsinandali. Well, what to do, there is history everywhere, everything is simply imbued with history, and Tsinandali is a patrimonial estate of princes Chavchavadze. Nina Chavchavadze was for a very short time the wife of our diplomat Griboyedov. There's a museum at the estate now. Around the estate there is a beautiful garden, where bamboo grows, slender cypresses, ancient spruce of different varieties, plane trees, there is a green maze. And a walk in the garden is ennobled with beautiful music, which flows from the speakers disguised as rocks... You can enter the house-museum, take a tour or wander on your own. That's interesting. A house made of grey stone and red brick, with a white terrace brings us back during the stay of the Chavchavadze family there. The wine cellars at the estate are surprisingly good. And how else, if you are at the production site of one of the most famous wines in the world! Cinandali - white dry wine. It was Alexander Chavchavadze, the first owner of the estate and father of Nino, who built 1 wine factory and opened Tsinandali to the world.
From Tsinandali we go to the palace of the King of Kakheti Irakli II. Now there is directly the palace itself, archaeological, ethnographic museum, art gallery. Kakheti ruler Irakli II was an outstanding statesman in both foreign and domestic politics, and his grateful descendants greatly honor his memory. The palace was built in the traditions of Iranian architecture in the late 17th century. And, of course, in the traditions of that turbulent time, the residence was surrounded by a fortress.
Often on the panoramic images we saw this ancient monastery, and we could not not go there. Majestic and calm, under the mountains that rise not far away, it is surrounded by a fortress wall. You can drive up to the very gates of the monastery. The monastery was founded in the VI century, and the Cathedral of St. George was built already in the XI century. The monastery survived many attacks: raids by Persians and militant highlanders, earthquakes and closure in Soviet times. But since the 1990s, the monastery has been gradually reviving. Despite the active destruction, the general view of the cathedral has been preserved, and many frescoes inside have been preserved. There is a grape museum at the monastery.
We're definitely gonna get spoiled on this trip. And we'll come home as avid gourmets. Meat dishes, incomparable wine, delicious cheeses (tried several varieties). Tbilisi, you never cease to amaze...