Kakheti: East of Tbilisi


Went East, old man: setting out from Tbilisi, over the Gombori Pass; reaching Gremi, the one-time stronghold of the kings of Kakheti, Georgia’s eastern most province; returning another day to the southern desert, home of Davit Gareja and its ancient monasteries; finding after all that an oasis. This was my introduction to Georgia’s scenic splendour and ancient culture.

Standing on the high ground of the Gombori pass, Kristo, founder and the energy source behind Ezo Tours, revels in the sheer pleasure of the imposing panorama.

Gremi, Royal Palace, one-time seat of power of the Kings of Kakheti. Overrun for the last time by Shah Abbas in 1616, all that remains is the Church of the Archangels (1565) - and the wine cellar.

Tools of the ancient wine trade in the royal cellar: sour plum tree bark for cleaning, and four- pointed forks for breaking up the cap of stems and skins, in the giant buried qvevri, clay pots, used for fermentation.

From sixth century origins to current revival, a tale of many monasteries.

Davit Gareja

Standing on the Azerbaijan border, somewhere near the top of the world, the sheer scale of this monument to remoteness and devotion is breathtaking.

Watching for Georgia

And just when you thought the day would pass without meaningful sustenance, after a breakdown scare, the marshrutka minibus of indeterminate age stops in the village of Obdano.

This is The Oasis Club, 24/7 outpost of eccentricity, sustenance and hard partying, started by two Poles for reasons unexplained. Now a legend of its own making.

This is the second of four stories from Georgia. Follow me here for the next chapter, Zangaura Picnic. And check out the first, Tales from Tbilisi!

#steller #stellerstories #stellerplaces #stellertravel #places #travel #georgia #kakheti #epiXtrip Tour guide: http://ezo.tours/ Website: jamescolledgephotography.com Instagram: @foodflorafaunaetc

  • richardbangs

    did you have a chance to try the wine?

  • jamescolledge

    I did - that and the food were the starting point. Next story!