The whole world calls Sighnaghi "City of lovers." Whether a beautiful legend is to blame, or romantic street mazes is not important. The history of unearthly love received an unusual continuation: enterprising Georgians opened a round-the-clock registry office in the town, where couples from any republic of the CIS can register.
History of Sighnaghi
It is officially believed that Sighnaghi was built in 1801 by King Heraclii II, but the first records of the settlement point to 1264. This is the time of Queen Tamara and the Tatar-Mongol invasion. Archaeologists still do not have answers to many questions. For example, why the walls of the citadel repeat the outlines of the mountain, and inside - cliffs and rocks. On the territory of the fortress runs the only street - Gorgasali. The remaining quarters are outside the defensive structure.
The fortress is considered the largest fortification of Georgia. Due to the dry subtropical climate, the fence, 28 watchtowers, and powerful arched gates are well preserved. Near them is a staircase, on which you can climb the wall. Above opens a dizzying view of the Alazani Valley, if it is not covered by clouds.
How to get there?
The distance from Tbilisi to the town is about 120 km, considering the last, most intricate part of the serpentine. The bus from the capital departs from the Samgori metro station, and comes back to the parking lot near the Populi supermarket. The journey time in one direction is about two hours, the cost of the ticket is 6 GEL. The interval of movement of minibuses is 2 hours. Distance to Sighnaghi from other locations:
from Gurdjaani - 25 km
from Telavi - 60 km
from Lagodekhi - 45 km
from Dedoplistskaro - 40 km.
Tickets for the Tbilisi minibus is better to take in advance, there and back. If you don’t worry in time, you will have to spend the night in the City of Lovers.
City hotels Sighnaghi
It should be noted that the city is also called the Georgian "San Marino". And deservedly so: European gloss is visible everywhere. Clean cobbled streets with colorful curves, red tile roofs, balconies with balustrades - the town is so good that it seems like a toy.
There is also a worthy refuge for guests. Sighnaghi has 35 hotels, mini-hotels, villas and guesthouses. More only in Batumi and Tbilisi. By the way, the people in Georgia are friendly, the main religion is Orthodoxy. Residents, especially girls, should call back to the owners of family hotels, where they are, where they will go and when they come. Otherwise - offense, silence, disgruntled views.
Prices per day vary depending on the service and range from 800 rubles to $ 200. In the top five hotels - hotels "Pirosmani", "Kabadoni", "Sighnaghi", "Bridgette", guest house David Zandarashvili. Free of charge wireless Internet, parking, spa-procedures.
However, all the remarkable places here can be inspected for the day, at the same time and in the registry office to sign. Registration documents are submitted an hour before the ceremony.
Restaurants and wineries
The town is located in Kakheti - the wine-growing region of the republic. In the vicinity of the village are many vineyards. There are many wine shops in Sighnaghi, but regulars are advised to visit the Tears of Fazana store, located on Baratashvili Street. This winery has a long and very successful history. Today, their products are sold throughout the country. There is a restaurant with a shop, and tastings are often held there.
Another place that must be visited for wine lovers is Joni Okruashvili farm on Chavchavadze Street. The company produces and sells good wines: "Saperavi", "Ice-Saperavi", "Mtsvane", "Rkatsiteli". Lunch in a restaurant with tasting and colorful stories of the host costs 40 GEL.
There are about 15 cafes and restaurants in the city. The menu mainly Georgian dishes: soup kharcho, lobio, khinkali, khachapuri, ojahuri with rabbit, salads. Serve good homemade wine. Lunch for two costs 1000-1500 rubles. Everywhere beautiful Georgian music sounds.
Sighnaghi architecture and sights
Sighnaghi did not always have such a developed infrastructure and a European appearance. The fact is that the city was specifically chosen by the Georgian government as a promising tourist destination. The central regions have been carefully restored, the suburbs are still waiting for their turn. Connoisseurs of ancient history will find here many interesting objects for inspection.
The park is located in the center of the city on April 9 (Independence Day of Georgia), next to it is the David the Builder Square and Solomon Dodashvili Square. Two beautiful ceremonial streets, Lalashvili and Kostava, run down from them. They lead to the square of Heraclius II, where the famous registry office, tourist information center, a casino and an elegant fountain are located.
Sighnaghi's business card is St. George's Church, built in 1873. This is a high brick basilica with a bell tower, made in the tradition of Armenian architecture.
Another temple, St. Stephen, on Chavchavadze Street, stands on the highest point of the hill. From the observation deck of the bell tower opens a panorama of the city and valley. On the same street there is a famous cafe with terraces, where several scenes from the film “Love with an Accent” were filmed.
History lovers will be interested in the collections of the city local history museum. On the ground floor, archaeological finds, bronze weapons, and ancient ceramics are exhibited. The second exhibits paintings by Georgian artists, including little-known paintings by Nicolo Pirosmani.
The whole center of Sighnaghi is lined with various sculptures - funny, sophisticated, touching. Tourists love being photographed next to them. The contingent here is stable: tired businessmen, newlyweds, travelers on their cars. Many Europeans. Sighnaghi is an illustrative picture of how you can make a world-class resort from an ordinary village.