Samtskhe-Javakheti region is the administrative unit of the Republic of Georgia located in the south of the country. In ancient times it was a part of Armenia, and now is attracts genuine interest of great number of visitors.
General information about Samtskhe-Javakheti
Samtskhe-Javakheti is a multinational region, inhabited by Armenians, Georgians, Ossetians, Greeks and Russians. Its population is 160 thousand people, and it is distinguished by the two official languages dominated there: Georgian and Armenian. The total area of the region is more than 6.4 thousand sq. km, it includes such major towns as Borjomi, Vale, Ninotsminda and Akhalkalaki. The center of the administrative district is the town of Akhaltsikhe.
Those who expect enjoy the Georgian sun, should look for other sites to relax. The climate here is very specific: in the summertime drought is predominant, while in winters the frost can reach -40 degrees Celsius. For this reason, the region has poorly developed agriculture and almost no vineyards, while the potatoes are the staple food. The most pleasant site for a visit is the Abastumani resort famous for its good ecology, clean air, pine forests, numerous sanatoriums for people with respiratory disorders.
What are the tourist attractions in Samtskhe-Javakheti?
Samtskhe-Javakheti is a region extremely rich in cultural and architectural heritage. It is the area of more than 50 temples and churches. The cult place to visit is considered Vardzia, the cave city.
For those interested in architectural monuments, ancient fortress of Rabat, Okros, Zanavi and Peter would be worth visiting. Defensive structures of Saro, Shaori and Abuli are one of the most ancient in the region, and the sites of the most attraction among the travelers.
Natural sights of the region are also of interest. Between the towns of Borjomi and Akhalkalaki is the location of the Tabatskura lake. Among the Georgian lakes it is the largest by the volume of water. The population of nearby villages use it as drinking source.
Best resorts in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region
The highlights of the region are the resort towns of Borjomi, Bakuriani and Abastumani. The first one is the spa resort in the eastern Georgia, where guests can enjoy excellent mild climate, abundant coniferous forests, and beautiful mountain scenery. It was frequented by political workers and leaders of Soviet culture, and it was often visited even by Joseph Stalin. Tourists can visit here the National Park, one of the best in the territory of Georgia. History lovers are recommended to visit the Local history museum.
The small town is famous for the unique mineral water extracted from the gorge, which has tremendous therapeutic benefits. A few mineral water springs are fitted there, each of its own benefits and use in specific conditions. Apart from the Borjomi water, the Likani water is also extracted there, so tourists often come here for therapeutic and treatment procedures.
Bakuriani is a Georgian ski resort located in the Borjomi Gorge. The first trail for skiers was built here back in 1932, and in 1970 it was a training site for the Soviet Union national team. The local ski slopes are suitable for both amateurs and professional athletes. Their height is at some places reaches 2,800 m, and the length can reach up to 10 km. The Mountain of Kokhta is the highlight of the town, a picturesque hill, from the top of which in good weather one can overlook the peaks of the Caucasus Mountain Range.
Abastumani is the most famous holiday village in the eastern Georgia. Due to its unique climate, it is popular among TB patients. It is the location of specialized medical institutions. The town is also known for its Astrophysical observatory. Initially, it had been located in the village, and then it was moved to the mountain of Kanobili. In the 2000s, the Center for plasma astrophysics was established there.
Samtskhe-Javakheti is a unique corner of Georgia, with its original culture and traditions. Having visited it once, one falls in love with this place forever!