Telavi the largest city in Kakheti and serves the administrative capital of Kakheti.
Telavi was once the capital of the First Kingdom of Kakheti. During the reign of King Erekle II (1762-1798 C.E.) Telavi had historical importance, especially after King Erekle II established a seminary there and made his official residence at the ბატონის ციხე Bat’onis Tsikhe in central Telavi.
Telavi sits where the Gombori Ridge meets the Alazani Valley. The views from the city center over the Alazani Valley and the Greater Caucasus Mountains are breathtaking, especially on a clear day.
The most well-known location in Telavi is the Palace of King Erekle II (also called Batonis Tsikhe), located in the town center.
Today, the only remnants of the palace are the exterior walls, a chapel, and a reconstructed central building.
The palace’s construction dates back to the 17th Century, however, much of it has been destroyed following various invasions.
Nonetheless, the palace is one of the largest and most well-preserved of Georgia’s royal palaces/fortifications.
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The Greater Caucasus Mountains seen from the inside of Batonis Tsikhe.
Most of Telavi’s center has been renovated, most notable King Erekle II Street, which is lined with traditional Kakhetian and Georgian style buildings.
Despite locations such as Batumi, Uplistsikhe, and Sighnaghi being more well-known by tourists, Telavi offers equally spectacular views plus quiet, traditional streets to stroll down.
Additionally, Telavi is within a 30 minute drive of most of Kakheti’s best sights, such as Gremi Fortress, Ikalto Academy ruins, Alaverdi Monastery, and the village of Pshaveli (the start of the road to Tusheti) making Telavi a great city to start explore this stunning region.
All said and done, Telavi is perhaps Georgia’s most underrated city.