Imereti_ugogeorgia

Imereti is a place with a charm all of its own. It is part of the country that was known to the ancient Greeks as Colchis – the land of the Golden Fleece, and there is certainly something mythic about its lush mountains and fertile valleys. It was here that King Aeetes, keeper of the Golden Fleece, had his capital. Some think it was where the current port of Poti is located, others that it was at the regions current capital Kutaisi, but archaeological digs in the small town of Vani have revealed the remains of a massively rich and thriving Hellenistic culture. Bronze and gold statues of incredible workmanship, jewellery and glassware confirm that, since the Bronze Age at least, Imereti has been a place of highly sophisticated culture. Kutaisi, Imereti’s main town, is Georgia’s second city after Tbilisi. It was once the capital, and the magnificent churches of Bagratis and Gelati – both UNESCO world heritage sites – testify to the importance of the region. In the 19th century, Kutaisi was at the centre of a Georgian cultural revival, and many of the country’s best-loved poets and artists hailed from here. Kutaisi suffered badly during Soviet times, but now the city is being revitalized, with the magnificent Art Nouveau mansions of the 19th century merchants, and the historic Jewish Quarter on the banks of the Rioni river being restored to their former glory. An economic boom is beginning in Kutaisi – the area has been declared a free economic zone, and sittings of the Georgian parliament will move here in a few years. Amongst Georgians, Imereti is best known for its spicy, delicious food, it’s crisp white wine and the friendliness of its inhabitants. It is literally impossible to travel in Imereti without being invited into somebody’s home, feasted, toasted, and in general treated like visiting royalty. When the Greek hero Jason came here to retrieve the Golden Fleece, he wasn’t exactly greeted kindly by the locals – but as any visitor to Imereti today will tell you – that’s all changed!

Sataplia

Sataplia protected area is a wonderful monument of nature. It is located very close to Kutaisi, on Sataplia Mountain, with total area of 354 hectares. It has mountains and hills and is almost covered by the Colchis Forest. There are numerous grotto caves, although the most interesting one is Sataplia Cave as well called Prometheus Cave which is one of the richest caves of Europe. It is characterized by the variety of underground rivers and beautiful landscapes. The cave is rich with stalactites, stalagmites and mineral rock curtains. The long of walking route for tourists is 1060 m and the route by boats on underground lake of 280 m. As well Sataplia is famous for such unique objects as over 200 footprints from dinosaurs, located on the stones in two rows. Due to this fact experts think that Sataplia is the one of the significant monuments in the former Soviet Union.
To the north of Sataplia cave there is a flowering meadow on the cliff with a number of bee colonies. This was the reason for naming this area Sataplia – ”the places of honey”.

Motsameta Monastery

Motsameta is a small and very beautiful monastery with round turrets crowned with peaked tent-shaped domes. The monastery is standing above the rough Rioni river. According to the legend the monastery was constructed on the place where in the 8th century Muslim aggressors executed David and Konstantin Mkheidze, Georgian princes, who refused to accept Islam. 
In a small monastery hall on an eminence there is a big rectangular ark with the hallows of the pious princes canonized by Georgian Church.
Motsameta attracts crowds of tourists with an ancient superstition: if one crawls three times under the ark and makes a wish while touching the hallows, the princes David and Konstantin will grant it.
The Tsar Bagrat III reconstructed the church in the 10 th century. The building was reconstructed again in the 19 th century.

Kutaisi

Kutaisi (ancient names: Aea/Aia, Kutatisi, Kutaïssi) is Georgia’s second largest city and the capital of the western region of Imereti with the population of ~190 000. The city itself is mentioned in the ancient Greek “Argos” epos as the capital of old Colchis. 
Kutaisi has contributed much into the process of Georgian unification. In the VIII century it becomes the capital of West Georgia, while in the X century the capital of united Georgia headed by King Bagrat III. At the age of 16 the strongest Georgian king David the Builder has been crowned here.
In the mid XV century Kutaisi becomes the capital of Imereti kingdom. It played the particular role as the center of Georgian national-liberating and cultural movement in the late XIX century.
The landmark of the city is the ruined Bagrati Cathedral, built by Bagrat III, king of Georgia, in the early 11th century. The Bagrati Cathedral and the Gelati Monastery a few km east of the city, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of the famous churches in Georgia is Motsameta Church. It is named after two saints, brothers David and Constantine. They were the Dukes of Margveti, and were martyred by Arab invaders in the 8th century. Besides the churches, there

Kackhis Sveti

Kackhis Sveti (Kackhis Pillar)-located in Kackhi village, 11 km away from Chiatura municipality. Geographical term ,,kackhi” from Svanetian means apex. Located on 40 m hight. Architectural monuments of Kackhis Sveti were visited by group of climbers leaded by Alexander Jafaridze in 1944. Till now it was impossible to get on Kackhis Sveti without climbing equipment, but today its way is opened for every visitor. Chapels on the bottom and top are restored by monk Maxime. Stonemade church is built in IX and beginning of X centuries.

Gelati Monastery

The Monastery of Gelati is a monastic complex near Kutaisi, Imereti, western Georgia. It contains the Church of the Virgin founded by the King of Georgia David the Builder in 1106, and the 13th-century churches of St George and St Nicholas.
The Gelati Monastery for a long time was one of the main cultural and intellectual centers in Georgia. It had an Academy which employed some of the most celebrated Georgian scientists, theologians and philosophers, many of whom had previously been active at various orthodox monasteries abroad or at the Mangan Academy in Constantinople. Among the scientists were such celebrated scholars as Ioane Petritsi and Arsen Ikaltoeli. Due to the extensive work carried out by the Gelati Academy, people of the time called it “a new Hellas” and “a second Athos”.
The Gelati Monastery has preserved a great number of frescoes and manuscripts dating back to the 12-17th centuries. 
In Gelati is buried one of the greatest Georgian kings, David the Builder (Davit Agmashenebeli in Georgian).
In 1994, Gelati Monastery was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The site was included in the 2008 World Monuments Watch List of 100 Most Endangered Sites by the World Monuments Fund to draw attention to deterioration caused by prolonged neglect.

Bagrati Cathedral

The Cathedral of the Dormition, or the Kutaisi Cathedral, more commonly known as Bagrati Cathedral is in the city of Kutaisi, the region of Imereti, Georgia. A distinct landmark in the scenery of central Kutaisi, the cathedral rests upon the top of Ukimerioni Hill. It was built in the early years of the 11th century, during the reign of King Bagrat III due to which it was called “Bagrati” Cathedral, i.e., Bagrat’s cathedral. In 1692, it was devastated in an explosion by the Ottoman troops, which had invaded the Kingdom of Imereti. The incident caused the cupola and ceiling to collapse leaving the cathedral in its present state.
The conservation and restoration works, as well as archaeological studies, which began in 1952, are still underway. In 1994, the Bagrati Cathedral, together with the Gelati Monastery, was included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list as a single entity. In 2001, the cathedral was restored to the Georgian Orthodox Church. It is now of limited use for worship services, but attracts many pilgrims and tourists. It is also frequently used as a symbol of the whole city of Kutaisi, being one of its main tourist attractions. The cathedral, now in ruins, is regarded as a masterpiece in the history of medieval Georgian architecture.