Kvareli is a small town in the east of Georgia, in the picturesque region of Kakheti full of tart grapes. Despite the fact that local attractions do not carry the prefix “UNESCO”, it is still worth visiting here. After all, Kvareli is the birthplace of the great publicist and “father of the Georgian nation” Ilya Chavchavadze. The second point is the legendary “Kindzmarauli” and a whole winery where you can find out all the subtleties of the origin of this “drink of the gods”. Also, Kvareli Lake is an amazing place for outdoor recreation, along with a glass or two. (In Georgia, everything somehow turns to wine by itself.) Finally, this city can be called one of the most convenient points for exploring the sights of Kakheti, and this is already worth a lot. See citypopulationreview.com for weather information.
How to get there
The city is located in the Alazani Valley, about 19 km north of the large railway station Mukuzani, which runs trains from Tbilisi to Telavi. However, most tourists prefer to arrive in Kvareli on wheels. The bus station of the city is located on Gogebashvili Street and receives a lot of buses and minibuses from Tbilisi (about 20 departures per day, fare 57 GEL), Telavi (49 GEL) and some other points, including from Azerbaijan.
The history of Kvareli is shrouded in mystery, the exact date of the foundation of the settlement can hardly be found. It is known for certain that already in 1533 a large wine storage was built here. The second known important fact is the appearance of the Kvareli fortress somewhere in the 18th century. In addition, local residents are proud of the fact that the famous director and founder of the Georgian theater, Kote Marjanishvili, was born in the city in 1872. Finally, it was in Kvareli that Ilya Chavchavadze lived, whose house-museum is today considered an important landmark of the city.
There are not many hotels in Kvareli (to be precise, they can be counted on the fingers of one hand), but the choice can always be supplemented with nice guesthouses. The tourist infrastructure in the city is still on the rise, but you can still find good rooms. Firstly, the expensive and pretentious hotel Chateau Kvareli, which is in the very center of the city near the fortress. The second option is a nice and, at the same time, a budget hotel “Kavkasioni” in the south of Kvareli. Finally, you can stay nearby in the mountains, on the lake of the same name, where the expensive Kvareli Lake Resort hotel is chicly located. An exceptionally popular place among foreign guests who come to Kakheti for “wine” tourism.
Entertainment and attractions of Kvareli
The main street of the city, as you might guess, is named after Ilya Chavchavadze: all the most interesting things are located right here. In particular, the Kavkasioni and Chateau Kvareli hotels, the Kindzmarauli Corporation winery, the main square on May 26, the Kvareli fortress, police, restaurants, shops. A little north of it is the same Chavchavadze Museum and the cozy Elijah Square, which houses a large tourist information office and the 12th-century church of St. John the Baptist.
The Kvareli fortress only sounds proud – in fact, the stronghold does not have an expressive physiognomy, and the date of its construction, in comparison with many other citadels of Georgia, does not strike the imagination – the 18th century. In fact, this is a square 800×900 m with towers in the corners and gates.
But the Chavchavadze Museum is just the very place for which many aspire to Kvareli. The house-museum looks rather modest, a typical one-story building, but it contains a lot of interesting things. Nearby is a wine storage, a garden with fir trees, a square tower of the Chavchavadze family and an avant-garde reception building that was built in Soviet times. Inside, in addition to the box office, there are two exhibition floors with family photos.
Museum opening hours: from 10:00 to 17:00. The cost of visiting is 2 GEL.
The winery in Kvareli is the main producer of the famous semi-sweet Kindzmarauli.
Located literally in the center of the city (55 Chavchavadze Street), this winery is one of the largest in Kakheti. It not only conducts excursions, but also arranges first-class tastings, and also invites everyone to its store, where wines and cognac are sold at exceptionally good prices. By the way, this stone building is the main producer of the famous semi-sweet Kindzmarauli.
Pay special attention to the store at the winery. Not only are the prices there almost two times lower than in Tbilisi, but the storage conditions for amazing wine deserve all praise.
Opening hours: from 09:00 to 18:00. Guided tours and tastings are only for organized groups (including small ones).
There are a lot of interesting things in the vicinity of Kvareli. In particular, Lake Kvareli, the Nekresi Monastery, the powerful Gremi Castle and the legendary Kindzmarauli vineyards. To the east of the city, you can pay attention to the unusual, but very beautiful temple of Dzveli-Gavazi, a little further on the picturesque Lagodekhi National Park and all of Azerbaijan.