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Imereti Region

Imereti is a beatutiful historical region of Western Georgia. It seems as if everything here was created to please one′s eyes and soul. To the west it is bordered by Samegrelo and Guria, to the north by Svaneti and Racha-Lechkhumi and to the east by Shida Kartli. The geographical location, climatic environment (Imereti is located in humid subtropical region), abundance of historical and natural landmarks as well as rich tradition define the region′s uniqueness.

Imereti is adream come true with its colors and vivacity, its misty mountains and fabulous landscapes that look like they were painted by a magic brush, with its Ubisi, settled comfortably under the mountains and Modinakhe, hanging up in the sky; with its majestic and academic Gelati Monastery and amazing Katskhi Pillar, its salty-rusty Sairme waters and forests where deers run freely, its mystic caves, where one has an impression of going down to the center of the earth..

What you could not find anywhere else, try to find it here and… a little coral flower called Sapovnela will help you. `roads are running up and down` as the saying goes, and if you are stuborn enough, you will find some fabulous places and feel the breeze of Imereti on your face. Buy don’t be surprised if suddenly, in the midst of all that disorderly beauty, you meet Ocho-Kochi sitting by the fire. Imereti is a fairy tale.

Imereti Is a geographical and historical region today, but in broader sense the name is used to refer to the entirety of Western Georgia, just like in the case of Colchis, Egrisi or Apkhazeti (Abkhazia). Today, this region is divided into two parts – Higher and Lower Imereti. To the east it is bordered by Likhi range, to the west by Tskhenistskali River, to the nort by Caucasus Mountains and by Persati Range (also known as Meskheti Range) to the south. Imereti stends for `the land beyond (the Likhi Range)` in Georgian.

Starting with the antique period, this territory has always plaed an important role. A significant international trade route called Transcaucasian Old Trade and Transit route, or just Great Silk Route, passed thtough here, connecting Western countries with the East. After the fall of Colchis, the Kingdom of Egrisi became the place of Greak-Persian confrontation. In the beginning of the 8th century, A rab warlord Marwan II destroyed the capital of Egrisi, Tsikhe-Goji (todays Nokalakevi) and sacked Kutaisi as well. David and Constantine Mkheidze, dukes of Aragveti, were killed in the battle. The second part of the 8th century saw the Prince of Abkhazia Leon II rebel against the were Byzantine emperor and declare himself the king. Thus, Egrisi and Abkhazia were united. The new kingdom, which covered the whole of the western Georgia, was given a new name – the kingdom of the Abkhaz, and the capital was set up in Kutaisi.

In 1008, Kutaisi witnessed the coronation of the unified Georgias first king, Bagrat III (960-1014) AND IN 1089 that of the greatest Georgian king, David IV the Builder. Up to 1122 the residence of Georgian kings was in Kutaisi.

The rich historical past of Kutaisi is an important part of Georgian cultural heritage. The region in full of significant historical monuments. Actually, it Is safe to say that due to these monuments, Georgian culture is known throughout the world. Among the most important sites

are: the walled town of Kutaisi, Bagrati Church, Gelati Monastery, Geguti Fortress, Motsameta Monastery, Shorapani Fortress, the ancient town of Vani, Nunisi St. Mary Church, Vakhani Fortress and many others.

Apart from the historical heritage, Imereti stands out with its flora and fauna. The forests ocuppy more than 600 000 acres of its rather mountainous territory. There are deciduous and coniferous forests as well as mixed ones, while fauna is represented by animals typical of the Caucasus region: bears, boars, deers, roes, foxes, wolves and jackals. Ecologically clean and untouched nature is still preserved, particularly in the mountainous zones.

Today, the administrative territory of Imereti is divided into 12 municipalities: Kutaisi, Chiatura, Tkibuli, Tskaltubo, Bagdadi, Vani, Zestafoni, Terjola, Samtredia, Sachkhere, Kharagauli and Khoni. Each of them stands for its history and natural resources, cultural heritage and characteristic Imeretian zest.

Imereti Cuisine

Imeretian cuisine  is famous for its fresh cheese and Khachapuri and Mchadi are prepared on Ketsi (a clay frying pan) in Imeretian cuisine they widely use greens and poultry. Greens are seasoned with walnuts and vinegar; grilled chicken are seasoned with garlic sauce. Delicious dish – Kuchmachi is made of poultry guts seasoned with spices and pomegranate seeds. Mashed beans is a traditional dish in Imereti. It is often seasoned with walnuts and Kvatsarakhi (promegranate sauce). Dishes made of from mushrooms is also popular here.

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