The region of Imereti is situated along the middle and upper end of the Rioni river. The main city of the region is Kutaisi. Imereti is divided into Zemo (upper) and Kvemo (lower) Imereti. It borders the Likhi Mountain Range to the east, Tskhenistskali River to the west, the Caucasus Mountains to the north and Meskheti or Persati Mountains to the south. The lowlands of Imereti are mostly covered with Colchis low brush, forests, oaks, groves, and meadows. The mountainous parts of Imereti are mainly Colchis deciduous forests. The forests of Imereti are rich with animals and birds. The Imereti lowland is part of the Kolkheti Valley with a sub-tropical sea climate. Winter here is mild, while the summer is hot. The average annual temperature is 10-15 degrees Celsius. The climate of upper Imereti is humid sub-tropical, with winters that are colder and have more precipitation. There are a lot of sights In Imereti, cultural – architectural monuments; many of them are included in the list of World Heritage – UNESCO.
Kutaisi (ancient names: Aea/Aia, Kutatisi, Kutaïssi) is Georgia’s second largest city and the capital of the western region of Imereti with the population of ~190 000. The city itself is mentioned in the ancient Greek “Argos” epos as the capital of old Colchis. Kutaisi has contributed much into the process of Georgian unification. In the VIII century it becomes the capital of West Georgia, while in the X century the capital of united Georgia headed by King Bagrat III. At the age of 16 the strongest Georgian king David the Builder has been crowned here. In the mid XV century Kutaisi becomes the capital of Imereti kingdom. It played the particular role as the center of Georgian national-liberating and cultural movement in the late XIX century.
Bagrati Church – Built in the 11th century during the reign of King Bagrat III. The church has a cross-shaped structure. The main entrance is adorned with an arched portico, column caps covered with stucco decorations, and walls and floors finished with mosaics. The decorations and bas-reliefs of the church can be compared to the work of jewelers in terms of their artistic precision. In Georgia, the Bagrati Church is considered not only to be a religious center of its time, but also a symbol of unity of the Georgian people. It is on theUNESCO World Heritage List.
Gelati Monastery founded by King David the Builder at the beginning of the 12th century. The king intended it to be not only the country’s spiritual center, but also a large cultural and scientific center. David founded the Gelati Academy, where the best Georgian scientists gathered. There was a well-endowed library there and the most enlightened people of the time taught at it. David instructed for a sepulcher of the Georgian kings to be built in the monastery. The monastery is on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Motsameta – Located on a cliff above the gorge, the isolated “Church of the Martyrs” offers breath-taking views of the surroundings. It is named after the two brothers killed by Arabs in the 8th century. To make your dearest wish come true, simply crawl three times under the tomb of the martyrs. Locals say that it never fails!
Promete (Prometheus) Grotto – The richest caves of Europe and one of the most popular destinations in the region. You can enjoy the variety of beautiful underground rivers and lakes, wondrous stalactites, stalagmites, curtains, petrified waterfalls, cave pearls and breathtaking landscapes. Here you also have a chance to take a boat tour in underground lake.
Katskhi Pillar – 40 meters limestone rock pillar that has been venerated by locals as the Pillar of Life, symbolizing the True Cross. The location of Katskhi Pillar is not characteristic for churches in Georgia and researchers believe that it was the home of hermit monks who came from the Middle East. The complex includes a modern restoration of a ruined medieval church, a burial vault, three hermit cells, a wine cellar, and a curtain wall.
Okatse Canyon – With newly built tourist infrastructure has recently become one of the main attractions for the tourists. They can explore this natural wonder with its spectacular waterfalls, breathtaking views for a path hanging on a cliff and amazing untouched nature.
Sataplia Reservation – located very close to Kutaisi, on Sataplia Mountain, with a total area of 354 hectares. It has mountains and hills and is almost fully covered by the Colchis Forest. It has a corridor system with branches and halls. The cave is rich with stalactites, stalagmites and mineral rock curtains. The total length of the cave measures 600 meters. It has a stream flowing inside, which has carved out this cave over the past 30 million years. Over 200 footprints from dinosaurs have been discovered here, located on the stones in two rows. To the north of Sataplia cave there is a flowering meadow on the cliff with a number of bee colonies. This was the reason for naming this area Sataplia (“the place of honey”). When you go, be sure to check out the local museum.
Tskaltubo – the most popular resorts in the Soviet era. Its thermal waters that are used to treat about 70 diseases are incomparable for its medicinal qualities. Natural water temperature is as warm as the human body and can be applied without preliminary heating. This unique water can cure cardiovascular system disease, locomotor system disorder, nervous system disorder, gynecological disorders, skin & endocrine diseases, disturbance of metabolism etc.
Vani important towns of ancient Colchis in the 8th-1st centuries BC. The residential and worship buildings, work tools, household items, and ornaments found here show the high level of the region’s social and cultural development. The most well-known archeological find in Vani is a collection of 100 gold ornaments dating back to the 5th-3rd centuries BC. Analysis of the gold showed that it was excavated in the Caucasian rivers. The ornaments were made by local masters. Traditional depictions of birds and animals were used in the decorations.
A collection of Colchian gold is exhibited in the Georgian National Museum.