Telavi, the former capital of Kakheti kingdom is spread out over the foothills and along the wooded slopes of the Tsiv- Gombori Range (550-880 m elevation). The landscape is scenic, wrapped in picturesque hills, and as a background of the splendid Alazani River valley there is a fantastic view of The Greater Caucasus Mountain Range.
Telavi municipality is bordered by Akhmeta Municipality (the north and west), by the Republic of Dagestan (Russian Federation on the northeast), by Kvareli Municipality (on the east), by Gurjaani Municipality (on the south-east), by Sagarejo Municipality (on the south-west and includes), and includes 27 administrative units - Central Telavi, Old Telavi, West Telavi, Alazani-Caucasus, East Telavi, Akura, Vanta, Busheti, Kvemo Khodasheni, Tsinandali, Kondoli, Kisiskhevi, Shalauri, Nasamkhrali, Gulgardi, Kurdghelari, Kurdghelari Ikalto, Karajala, Napareuli, Lapankuri, Laliskuri, Saniore - Jughaani, Artana, Pshaveli - Lechuri, Tetritsklebi. The highest peak of Telavi Municipality is Tsivi (1991 meters). The main river – Alazani.
As a city, Telavi counts more than 1800 years and first written sources referred to the Greek scripts of the second century. It became the capital of Kakheti after Gremi town was destroyed by the Persians in the 17th century.
The population of Telavi is 19,599 (2020).
In the center of Telavi one will find 8.5 meters high bronze equestrian statue of the King Erekle II holding a huge sword (sculpture by artist Merab Merabishvili, 1971). The Georgian monarch of the Bagrationi dynasty, father of 23 children, was born and died wounded after his last war by the age of 77 in a simple palace located right behind of this statue (1720-1798). The Palace is named as “Batonistsikhe” – “The Master’s Fortress” and houses Telavi History Museum and Ketevan Iashvili Art Gallery. Museum works every day 10:00-18:00 except Mondays.
On the opposite side of the statue in a small street, nearby there is a 900-year-old maple tree (sycamore), which is 45 meters high and 12 meters around.
Telavi Theater, Niko Sulkhanishvili Music college, Elene Akhvlediani Art School, Telavi Municipality Georgian folk song and dance ensemble, Folk ensemble "Little Kakhi", Folk ensemble "Tsinandali" – all the cultural life is on a walking distance around the main square. Telavi stadium and Nadikvari Park are meeting points for Telavi University students.
The visitor can see the drama theater, where the spectators saw the first performances at the end of the 18th century; historical and ethnographic museum (1927), art and music college (1919), Telavi State University (established in 1939), which is considered as a successor of Ikalto Academy (12th c), Libraries, tennis courts, Nadikvari park.
Telavi is the host town of two annual International Classic Music Festivals: Telavi International Music Festival and The Tsinandali Festival.
The main historical and cultural monument around Telavi are listed below:
Batonis Tsikhe (Fortress of Master) and “Dzveli Galavani” (Old Walls) were fortified royal residences built in the 17th and 10-11th centuries respectively. Korchibashishvilebis and Vakhvakhishvilebis Castles (18th century) were owned by the local lords;
Tsinandali Garden, winery and house-museum of Lord Chavchavadze's family (18th-19th cc);
Alaverdi St.George's Cathedral, built in the 11th century. It used to be the highest cathedral in Georgia before Tbilisi Sameba Cathedral was constructed in 20th c;
Ikalto Academy (8-12th centuries AD), the Church of St. George,
Shuamta - a complex made up of Old and New Shuamta Monasteries (6th-16th cc); .
In the vicinity of Telavi there is Lopota Lake Resort. It was founded as a small family hotel, but nowadays it is represented with 186 spacious rooms, sauna, steam rooms, jacuzzi, basketball and volleyball courts, outdoor and indoor pools, horse-riding area, outdoor bungalows and bars, restaurants.
The main economic income of the city is related to wine, tourism and other agriculture businesses. While you are in Telavi, don’t miss wine tasting at Shumi winery in Tsinandali, Elizbari winery and The Schuchmann Château in Kisiskhevi village, Château Mere, Jakeli Organic Vineyard and Bardanashvili's Marani in Vardisubani village. Don’t skip cooking master- classes at Chateau Mosmieri Resort and Wine Cellar ARGE at Telavi vicinity.
Telavi and Tbilisi are connected by two roads. The most popular (and better-paved) one runs through the villages of Kakheti and is twice longer than the other, which goes through Shuamtra forest and Gombori Mountain Range. The shorter route is spectacular, curvy, but blocked in winter(rarely).
Telavi railway separates Tbilisi-Telavi line to Tsnori.
There is Telavi King Erekle II airport on the territory of the city, locally named as “Mimino”, after the comedian Soviet movie character. The Airport mainly serves domestic charter flights.
To book the tour check itineraries and prices below:
One Day Wine Tour to Kakheti
Kakheti Wine Tour - 2 Days
Exclusive Wine Tour - 3 Days
Kakheti Exploration - 2 Days
Georgian Holidays - 15 Days