Sighnaghi is a very nice city in Kakheti, whose cozy streets are located right on the mountain slope. Its fortress, founded in the 17th century, is considered the only one in Georgia that has completely preserved the defensive walls. Today, this important military facility is occupied by tourists – watchtowers offer breathtaking views of the spacious Alazani Valley.
A new page in the history of Sighnaghi began relatively recently, the Georgian authorities decided to turn it into a major tourist center. And now, in 2007, Sighnaghi acquired a new face.
Now it is a neat, colorful town with narrow, cobbled, winding streets and neighborhoods of picturesque tiled houses.
How to get to Sighnaghi
You need to get to Sighnaghi in two stages. First – fly or take a bus to Tbilisi (there is no railway connection between Georgia and Russia now), and then go to the final destination by local public transport, represented mainly by minibuses or taxis. Some tourists prefer to go to Sighnaghi by car. This option is suitable for avid auto travelers – along the way you can see many sights and enjoy the bewitching landscapes. See educationvv for education and training in Georgia.
Many travelers choose Sighnaghi as a starting point for traveling around the surrounding areas: they spend the night in the city and go on short tours to Kakheti sights.
There is a wide choice of hotels in Sighnaghi – there are many simple and cozy two- and three-star hotels where you can spend the night for 30-50 GEL. Lovers of home comfort will appreciate guest houses for 20-60 GEL per day. There are also 5 * hotels: the Kabadoni boutique hotel is located in the very heart of the city – on Solomon Dodashvili Square. Price – 200 GEL per day for a standard double room with breakfast.
What to bring
The most pleasant gift from Sighnaghi is a bottle of local wine. There are several private wineries in the city offering a delicious natural drink.
Perhaps the most popular liquor store is Pheasant’s Tears. This is one of the first commercial wineries in the Caucasus, the company’s drink is sold in stores throughout the country. Here, at a cozy wine shop on Baratashvili Street, there is a small cafe where tastings are often held.
Another place worth visiting for connoisseurs of Georgian wine is Okros Wine. Here they sell traditional home-made wines: Rkatsiteli, Saperavi, Mtsvane and other varieties familiar to everyone. The store is located on Chavchavadze Street, near St. Stephen’s Church.
What to see
Sighnaghi is simply created to wander around, sit at tables with a glass of wine and think about the beautiful. Houses reminiscent of South Italian from a distance turn out to be absolutely Georgian from a distance: made of thin bricks, with traditional carved wooden balconies.
The center of Sighnaghi is the park named after. 9 April. On both sides of it there are two squares: Solomon Dodashvili, a famous Georgian philosopher of the 19th century, and David the Builder. A statue of the first one is installed in the park, and the names of Sighnaghi residents who died during the Great Patriotic War are carved on a nearby rock.
On Solomon Dodashvili there are the main city hotel “Sighnaghi” and the boutique hotel “Kabadoni”. And the main object of David the Builder Square is the city government building. The Museum of Local Lore is also open here.
Kostava and Lalashvili streets, the main arteries of the city, branch off from these two squares. They meet again at Erekle II Square, where there is a large fountain, the Palace of Marriages, a tourist information center and a casino.
Baratashvili Street begins from this place. It wags very strongly along its length, so it has become a popular subject for photographing. From the Populi supermarket, the street rushes up and turns left, turning into the Tbilisi highway. They say that it is from here that you can get the most successful landscape photos of Sighnaghi.
The visiting card of the town and one of its symbols is the Church of St. George. This is a huge (of course, on the scale of Sighnaghi) brick basilica. It was built next to the fortress tower, the top of which was simply converted into a bell tower. It turned out beautifully and harmoniously.
Many people who come to Sighnaghi do not miss the opportunity to visit the Bodbe Orthodox Monastery located 2 km from the city along the way. In the southern aisle of its main temple, the Cathedral of St. George, there is a national shrine – the grave of the enlightener of Georgia, St. Nina. Another attraction of the monastery is the miraculous Iberian Icon of the Mother of God. It was kept in the monastery church and after its transformation into a hospital, and in the 20th century it was even used as an operating table. Therefore, traces of a scalpel can be seen on the face of the Virgin.
In many tourist guides, Sighnaghi is called the city of love. And for good reason. Firstly, the registry office works here, which allows you to get married at any time of the day without first submitting documents. Secondly, there is a legend that it was in the Kakhetian town that the local artist Niko Pirosmani gave his beloved actress a million scarlet roses, which Alla Pugacheva immortalized.
The climate in Sighnaghi is humid subtropical. The peak of precipitation here falls on the off-season, although sometimes it rains heavily in summer. Usually in June-August the climate is quite dry. In the vicinity of the town there are broad-leaved forests, and forest-steppe, and steppe. The relief is an alternation of mountains of various heights and valleys, which also leaves its mark on the climate: fogs often occur in autumn and winter.