Kakheti is a region along the eastern boundary of Georgia. Having the area of 12 200 sq km the region makes up 17,5% of the entire territory of the country with 407 200 people that is 8,3% of total Georgian population.
Kakheti is one of the most beautiful and diverse lands in Georgia. Its stunning landscape include the snow-capped mountains of main range of the Caucasus, with peaks reaching up to 4 500 m., curving passes, valleys and fields, semi desert areas of Dedoplistskaro and Sagarejo districts.
Kakhetian Caucasus strikes with its magnificence, its slopes steeply down to Alazani Valley making the landscape as gorgeour as it can be. Abano Pass – one of the several on the Caucasus Range connects Kakheti to Tusheti. Landscape in this unspeakably spectacular Georgian province is characterized with very special geographic features.
Whoever has traveled to Kakheti even once in his life will always associate this province with good Wine and welcoming hospitality – Kakheti is a land famous for viniculture and winemaking. Farmenrs grow many kinds of grapes here and are skilled at producing a wine variety of high-quality wines.
The Georgian historical tradition ascribes origination of Kakheti province to Kakhos – one of the several sons of Kartlos who is believed to have been the forefather of all Georgians. Kakhos was given the land between tha Caucasus and Kakheti Mountain, from Aragvi River to Tketba. His brother Kukhos assisted Kakhos in laying the foundation of the province and also owned land from the Aragvi to Hereti province.
Until the 3rd-4th centuries AD administrative and political centre of Kakheti was located in Ber-Cheleti (Jaleti), until King Asphagur had built Ujarma, the latter to become the centre of inited Kakhet-Kukheti land in the reign of King Mirian by the early 4th century. In the 11th century the centre was transferred to Telavi Town.
The 8th century witnessed creation of early feudal Kakhetian Principality. In the 9th century Kakheti also included a certain parto of Shida (Inner) Kartli up to Ksani River. The principality included Khevi or Tsanareti, Tusheti, Pkhoeti (Pshav-Khevsureti), Dzurdzuketi and Ghlighveti. Georgian historical records refer to the latter land as "mtiuleti Kakhetisa" (Kakhetian Highlands). During the 9-10 centuries Kakheti was actively involved in the struggle for unification of Georgia.
This was the time when Kakhet, Kukhet and Gardabani were united and proceding creation of prospects for reconsolidation of Kakheti and Hereti principalities by the 10thy century. In the United Georgian Kingdom Kakheti was a strong and important administrative unit.
Establishment of Kakheti Kingdom followed disintegration of Georgia in the 15th century. By this time its political and cultural centre was transferred to Gremi - a recently built picturesque town.
However, the invasions initiated by Shah Abbas of Persia within 1614-1617 Gremi was completely destroyed and Telavi once again undertook the role of political and administrative management of the kingdom that continued its existence until the 19th century.
Bordered by Russian Federation Republics of North Ossetia, Ingushetia and Chechnya from the north and Georgian regions of Kakheti and Shida Kartli from the east and south, Mtskheta-Mtianeti region, with the total area of 6.8 thousand sq. kilometers and 125 000 inhabitants, makes up about 10 and 3.2% the country’s total land and population respectively. The region comprises 5 administrative districts.
Mtskheta-Mtianeti is one of the most picturesque and diverse lands in Georgia. It hosts 3 500 and 5 000 m high snowy passes, beautiful gorges, secluded lakes and alpine valleys. The Caucasus Mountains in Khevi and Khevsureti are particularly scenic.
Steep slopes descending into the Aragvi valley are one of the most unmatched beauties encountered anywhere in the world. Jvari – one of the passes over the Caucasus range – is located on the picturesque Georgian military road and historically served to link Georgia with the North Caucasus.
The delightful province has greatly inspired both outstanding Georgian writers and poets and numerous foreign travelers and adventure seekers, which is particularly evident in the works of Russian writers.
Mtskheta was both the ancient capital of the country and cradle of Georgian civilization. Oldest settlements in Mtskhe and the area designated as Greater Mtskheta are traced back to the Early and Middle Bronze Ages (III-II millennia BC). Already in the Later Bronze and Early Iron Ages (II-I millennia BC) these lands were densely populated.
By the end of the 4th c. BC Mtskheta became the political centre of the newly established Kingdom of Kartli (Iberia). Its advantageous location on the hub of international trade routes alongside Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers facilitated overall development of the town.
Mtskheta was not only political centre of the country. It was also the place that can be regarded as cradle of Georgian Christianity and religious hearth of the Georgian lands until the 12th c. AD. The whole Mtskheta-Mtianeti region served and still serves to protect both the northern border and hold the century-long traditions and customs of the country.
A number of provinces like Khevi and Pirikita (outer) Khevsureti remain without any communication with the rest of the country every winter. It can be, therefore, regarded as ultimate heroism that they endlessly fought to defend the northern borders of Georgia.