Kakheti is located in eastern Georgia and is bordering with Azerbaijan from the south and west, and Russia from the north. There is mainly a dry continental climate in Kakheti, however there are territories with subtropical (Alazani valley) and cold climates (Gombori).
Given the climate, the most developed sector of agriculture in Kakheti is vine-growing. The vineyard and wine culture is very rich and is based on ancient traditions. Vineyards occupy about 38,000 ha of land. Wine producing factories are located here as well. The most famous among them is the Tsinandali factory, which started operation back in 1865. Wines produced in this region, such as Tsinandali, Dzveli Tbilisi, Mukuzani, Tamada, Rkatsiteli, Alaznis Veli, Napareuli, Manavi, Saperavi, Vazisubani, etc. are also well known abroad. US and French investments have been made in the region’s wine industry.
Kakheti is rich with mineral resources. Limestone is extracted in Sagarejo and Dedoplistskaro districts, and marble – in Akhmeta and Telavi districts. Top-quality oil and gas deposits have been discovered in Sagarejo. Preliminary estimates put the oil reserves at 2-7 million tons. At present, 260 tons of oil is extracted per day. Experts think that the Tarabani gorge (78 km2) may contain billion tons of oil reserves. The Khadori hydro power plant was built and commissioned with the participation of Chinese capital in 2004.
Kakheti is famous for its architectural monuments. Among existing 5,000 monuments the most significant ones are the Davit Gareji cathedral, Alaverdi cathedral, Nekresi cathedral and the museum of the famous 19th century Georgian poet and public figure Aleksandre Chavchavadze. Kakheti has a great tourism potential but the development of this sector is hindered by the poor local infrastructure, including the lack of good hotels. Thirty percent of Kakheti is covered with forests. The flora and fauna is very rich here. There are several natural reserves (national parks). The most significant one is the Lagodekhi national park, the first natural reserve in Georgia that was opened in 1912. It occupies 107 km2 of land of which 12,346 km2 is covered with woods. There is a large variety of plants and animals there. It should be noted that UNESCO has listed Lagodekhi National Park among the monuments of worldwide importance. The Batsar-Babaneuri, Mariamjvari and Vashlovani national parks are also quite interesting.
Telavi is the administrative center of the region.
Kakheti consists of 8 administrative districts: Akhmeta, Gurjaani, Dedoplistskaro, Telavi, Lagodekhi, Sagarejo, Sighnaghi, and Kvareli.
There are 285 settlements in the region of which: 9 towns – Akhmeta, Gurjaani, Dedoplistskaro, Telavi, Lagodekhi, Sagarejo, Sighnaghi, Kvareli, Tsnori and 276 villages.
THE MOST SIGNIFICANT SITES OF TOURIST INTEREST ARE:
Davit Gareji cathedral
Ruins of the ancient town of Gremi
Alksandre Chavchavadze museum (in Tsinandali)
Signagi – city of love