Many tourists, getting ready for the journey to the ancient and at the same time young Georgia, are puzzled over what region has to be chosen for a visit. For the first visit to the country Imereti would be an ideal choice.
General information on Imereti
This surprisingly green and unique region is situated in the western part of Georgia, occupying the mountain areas covered with dense forests in the middle reaches of the Rioni river. The area of the region is more than 6.5 thousand sq. km. It is inhabited by 533 thousand people, the vast majority being ethnic Georgians who speak the Imereti dialect.
If one looks at this area with a bird's eye view, one can see the bright green carpet of forests, cut by long, winding gorges. Almost all of the free space in the valleys and flood plains of numerous rivers are the built-up areas, sometimes it is difficult to tell where one village ends and the other begins.
The history of the region dates back to the myths of the Argonauts, which mention Kutaisi as the center of the Colchian kingdom. In general, this city was of considerable importance at all times, irrespective of which states the Imereti was part of. In troubled times, the capital city was often moved to this region. Nowadays, the area is considered one of the most developed territories in Georgia.
What is the best time to travel to Imereti?
The subtropical and humid climate of the Lower Imereti makes it a comfortable place for vacation throughout the year. In the other half of the region the winter is rather cold, and it is advisable to visit this area in the summer. The best time to get acquainted with the culture of the region is the beginning of September when the traditional Georgian feast of harvest is underway. Once can see the performances of the best folk groups at numerous stages across the localities. Such incendiary dances are nowhere else to be seen! The atmosphere is extremely friendly and cheerful.
Imereti is also a very interesting place for cultural tourism, since the region is a site of numerous historical monuments, which are kept in excellent condition. However, in winter time reaching some of them would not be easy, so to get such impressions one has to come here in the period from April to October.
The area is widely known for its balneological resorts, where many diseases are effectively treated. Aspidzu, where winters are with little snow, and summers are dry and warm, one visit all-year round. Baths of sulphide and sodium-calcium waters are extremely helpful in the prevention nerve diseases and treatment of joints. Waters of the Amagleba resort are characterized by the high levels of sodium and chloride, which helps patients with peripheral nervous system and musculoskeletal system disorders. The resort town of Lugela specializes in the treatment of bleeding, neuritis and stomatitis.
What are the tourist attractions in Imereti?
The territory of Sataplia Reserve has a concentrated mass of natural attractions. Lime surface of beautiful karst caves with deep wells keeps numerous traces of carnivorous dinosaurs that lived here 60-70 million years ago. Galleries of the natural underground structures are decorated with the huge stalactites and stalagmites of different shapes. Not far from the caves, a prehistoric human site was discovered. The natural reserve is also worth visiting for the crater of an extinct volcano. The surrounding flora is also gorgeous. The forests vegetation includes yew, boxwood and beech. Lush ivy is omnipresent.
Among the numerous architectural monuments of Imereti the most prominent are the partially ruined temple of Bagrati consecrated as early as 1003. It had long been considered the main place of worship in the country, the coronation site of its rulers, including the King David. No less interesting would be the visit to the Gelati Monastery dating back to the XI century. It is a true masterpiece of the medieval Georgian architecture. The walls of the church, the part of the complex, are decorated with beautiful ancient mosaics. In the vicinity of the town of Vani one should visit the ancient ruins of the ancient antique town, which flourished during the III-I centuries B.C., at the time of prosperity of the kingdom of Colchis.
Visiting Imereti will long be remembered as an exciting and extremely informative journey. Impressions gained here will definitely be with you for years to come!