Chachuna Managed Nature Reserve
Chachuna Managed Nature Reserve is a Protected Area which was established on the basis of former Chachuna State Forestry. Total area of the Managed Nature reserve is 5200 hectares and is at a distance of 130 km (2 h) from Tbilisi. X - 592183 Y – 4590704
The Administration of Chachuna Managed Reserve is located in Kakheti, Georgia, Dedoplistskaro and shares Vashlovani Protected Areas Administration. The Reserve is 50 km away from Dedoplistskaro (regional center). There is no public transport moving towards.
Chachuna is located in Kiziki – the historical Kambechovani. Geologically Chachuna Managed Nature Reserve belongs to the Transcaucasian intermountain region, covers the Molassic zone of its eastern hollow within the intermountain depression of the Mtkvari River and is presented with Molassic sediments. In Chachuna one can find sands, sandstones, clay with the layers of volcanic ash and gravesites. Part of the Managed Nature Reserve is constructed with limestone conglomerates. Near the Managed Nature Reserve the limestone sources for flux and lime are observed, as well as the outcrops of limestone of bitumen composition and the bitumen deposits presented as small lakes. The relief of the Managed Nature Reserve is not homogeneous. Barrow, clay hills, steep slopes, terraces and dry gorges replace each other very fast and create specific, quite beautiful landscape.
The Iori River creates a marsh with the area of 24 hectares in the territory of the Managed Nature Reserve. Chachuna is characterized with a warm continental, mild climate. Average temperature in January is - 2.50, and in July the average temperature is + 220 in the shadow. Dark brown, alluvial, black soils and alkali soils are characteristic to the Managed Nature Reserve.
Flora is quite diverse in the Chachuna Managed Nature Reserve. Compared to its territory, Chachuna has very rich flora. Along the Iori River the floodplain forest of Tugai type is growing, and its adjacent hills and terraces are covered with fragments of arid, light forests, semi-desert and steppe plants of different species. The dominant plant is an Aspen (Populus tremula). Floodplain long-stalk oak (Quercus longipes), Wild pistachio tree (Pistacea mutica) and White willow (Salix Alba) can be found in little amount there. The Wild pistachio tree, several juniper species (Juniperus oxycedrus, J. foetidissima, and J. polycarpos), hawthorn, oak, pear and Caucasian hackberry (Celtis glabra) create arid light forests. You can find reeds (Pragmites communis) and Giant reeds (Arundo donax) in the near-bank zone of the river and the swamped areas, as well as the rare and threatened and endemic species such as Georgian iris (Iris iberica) and Eichlerian tulip (Tulipa eichleri).
The fauna of Chachuna is diverse and rich. Among insects the grasshoppers are found in great amount. Sun spiders and scorpions can be found there as well.
Among reptiles the Greek Tortoise (Tesdudo graeca) and the most poisonous snake of our fauna – Levantine viper (Macrovipera lebetina) are also found there.
There are 82 species of birds in the Managed Nature Reserve and 10 out of them are included in the Red List of Georgia. There are also many Wood-pigeons, Turtle-doves, Sparrowhawks, Goshawks, Magpies, Chukars and Imperial eagles there. Griffon Vultures and Egyptian Vultures nest in the holes of the cliffs of limestone origin in Chachuna, while the Cinereous Vultures do so in juniper trees. Chachuna is important with the population of the very beautiful bird – Black Francolin.
Among mammals several species of rodents, jackal, Red fox (Vulpes vulpes), hare (Lepus europaeus), jungle cat (Felis chaus), lynx (Lynx lynx), badger (Meles meles) and Wild boar (Sus scropha) inhabit Chachuna. Scientists hope that few striped hyenas (Hyaena hyaena).still survive in the Managed Nature Reserve.
There are very important monuments in the Chachuna Managed Nature Reserve, such as: the ruins of the Khornabuji fortress-town of the early middle centuries, Ozaani domed temple of the eleventh century and the town of Kiziki of eighteenth century – built by the Georgian king Erekle II in the junction of caravan roads and preserved nearly in its original shape, thoroughly surrounded by a fence with 23 built-in towers and 5 gates.
Botanical, photo and ecological tours are developed in the territory of Managed Nature Reserve, while the bird-watching and animal-watching are rare.
Dedoplistskaro region is remarkable for many historical and cultural monuments:
- 5th century Khornabuji Fortress (founded by King Vakhtang Gorgasali). It is located 4 km north from Dedoplistkaro Municipality Centre on steep limestone rocks. Travel from municipality centre to the city-fortress takes 15 minutes by car. It is possible to hike up the fortress on foot.
- V-VI century St. Elias Church on Mount Elias. It is located 3 km to the south from Dedoplistskaro Municipality centre, on limestone rock of Mount Elias.Travel from municipality centre to Mount Elias takes 10 minutes. It is possible to walk up to the church, which is built in the middle of the rock at a height of 60 m.
- The domed Church of the Ascention (X century) near village Ozaani, which is decorated by unique frescoes that date back to X century. The church is located 19 km to the north-east of Dedoplistskaro Municipality center in a broad-leaved forest. Travel from the municipality centre to the church takes 30 minutes.
- The domed Church of Seraphoim of Sarov (XVIII) in village Samreklo. The church is located 3 km to the east of the municipality centre. Travel to the church by car takes 10 minutes.
- Khirsa Monastic Complex (VIII), where the burial place of Stephen of Khirsa (one of the Assyrian Fathers) is located. The monastery is located 25 km to the north of Dedoplistskaro Municipality centre, in the southern part of Alazani Valley, on a hiltop. Travel from municipality centre to the church takes 30 minutes.
- Dedoplistskaro Cave Complex (X-XI), rock carved temple, which is decorated with frescoe ornaments. The complex is located 20 km to the south of Dedoplistskaro Municipality centre, on Iori plateau. Travel by car takes 30 minutes. It is possible to hike up to the temple by foot.
Services: guest room in visitor centre (one place) costs 15 GEL, Camp Place 5 GEL, Tent per day 12 GEL, Sleeping bag/ camping mat per day 5 GEL
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