The region of imereti was originally parts of the ancient Colchis kingdom. A legendary place, well known for its abundance of gold, it was here that the Argonauts were said to have travelled to find the Golden Fleece.
Archaeological digs have revealed the remains of a massively rich and thriving Hellenistic culture. Bronze and gold statues of incredible workmanship, jewelry and glassware confirm that, since the Bronze Age at least, Imereti has been a place of highly sophisticated culture.
Some of Imereti’s cultural and historical monuments date back to as early as the Neolithic era, however many modern architectural accomplishments can also be found in the region.
During the 10-12th centuries Imereti had a renaissance period in which a number of masterpieces of Georgian architecture were created, including the Bagrati cathedral and Gelati Moanstery Complex – both UNESCO world heritages sites.
Kutaisi, Imereti’s main city, is Georgia’s second largest sity after Tbilisi. The elegant, tree lined streets of the 19th century houses stretching down to the banks of the rioni River, along with several attractive parks, make Kutaisi a very Beautiful place to stroll around and to take in some of the many sights. In the Jewish Quarter a number of Synagogues demonstrate the long history of the Georgian Jewish community. The town’s largest synagogue, built in 1866 can seat 500 worshipers and the magnificent churches of Bagrati and Gelati – both UNESCO world heritage sites – testify to the importance of the region.
Wild canyons, roaring waterfalls and spectacular caves make this region impossible for any adventure seeking tourists to miss. In many of the caves you can find underground lakes and even original dinosaur footprints, preserved untouched for millions of years.
Sataplia Karst Cave
Sataplia Kars Cave (600m long) is located near Kutaisi, in Tskhalubo municipality. It was discovered in 1925 and 10 years later, in 1935, the Sataplia Nature Reserve was estabilished to help protect the cave and the dinosaur’s foot-prints discovered nearby.
There are a number of spas in Imereti region which are known for their healing properties.
The resort of Tskaltubo is located in the western part of Georgia, 7km from Kutaisi and is famous for its unique thermal mineral waters. The natural temperature of the water is 33-35c, Tourists have been coming here for centuries to bathe their weary bodies in its lovely warm and therapeutic waters.
The mineral springs of Sairme are located in Khanistskali river gorge at the altitude of 880-1000 metres above sea level. Sairme attracts numerous guests due to the well-known medical properties of its mineral and thermal waters.
Between khashuri and kharagauli on the northern edge of the National Park, deeply hidden in the subtropical forests, lies the health resort of Nunisi. This resort is famous for its mineral water springs, however the church of the virgin built in the end of the 6th century is too charming not to visit. There is a Spa Hotel in Nunisi and a camp site at the resort.
The Borjomi-Kharagauli National Park
The Borjomi – kharagauli National Park is one of the largest in Europe – it covers more than 76,000 hectares to native forest and sup-alpine and alpine meadows, and is home to rare species of flora and fauna. The forests of the Kharagauli are a combination of dark coniferous, deciduous and mixed forests.
Rare and endemic species noted in Georgia’s Red Book (a list of endangered and protected species) can be found here and it is possible to find grey wolves, lynx and brown bears as well as roe deer and wild boar. The golden eagle, griffon vulture, black vulture and Caucasian black grouse can also be seen in the area.
Sataplia Strict Nature
Sataplia (the place of honey) is located very close to Kutaisi, on Sataplia Mountain. Its mountainous landscape is almos fully covered by the Colchis Forest. Apart from the bee colonies found here, there are numerous caves including the famous Sataplia cave. This cave has been carved out by a stream over the past 30 million years and over 200 dinosaur footprints have been discovered here.
Ajameti Protected Area
The Ajameti Reserve is located in the Baghdati municipality and consists of three districts almost entirely covered with virgin forest. Many of the trees are over 250 years old.
Although less animal and bird species inhabit here, it’s still possible to see jackals, the Leisler’s bat, Caucasian squirrel, Caucasian otter and its largest mammal the roe-deer. It is incredibly popular with migrating birds. Over 60 species have been registered here.