Telavi is the biggest city and main transport hub in Kakheti, Georgia’s humongous eastern region. It’s position in the Alazani Valley makes it a great base for travelling the Wine Route and visiting the many medieval monasteries, churches and castles that stud the Kakhetian countryside.
Telavi itself is a very pleasant, walkable city, with a cobbled Old Town featuring restored Kakhetian balconies and a buzzing undercover bazaar. One of the main attractions is the Giant Plane Tree, a 900-year-old specimen that’s the pride and joy of Telavi.
The mammoth Alaverdi Cathedral lies just outside Telavi’s city limits along with the ruins of the Ikalto Academy where Georgian literary hero, Shota Rustaveli, studied. Gremi, the former capital of Kakheti, is another point of interest.
Telavi has lots and lots of restaurants, wine bars and family run cellars to indulge in as well. It’s not as charming as Sighnaghi (the other hub in Kakheti which I’ll get to later), but it’s a convenient starting point for exploring all this region has to offer.