Racha-Lechkhumi and Lower Svaneti
Georgia’s three gorgeous regions Racha, Lechkhuni and Lower Svaneti are located in the northwest extreme edge of the country. The Racha-Lechumi- Lower Svaneti administrative structure consists of Ambrolauri, Oni, Tsageri and Letchkhumi regions.
Racha-Lechkumi and Lower Svaneti has north border with Russia (North Ossetia, Kabardo-balkaria) and Mestia region in Georgia; From the west – municipalities of Samegrelo; from the south municipalities of Imereti. Also the Java municipality of Samachablo (so-called South Ossetia) is adjacent to the region. Territory of the region is 4601,3 sq. km., height above sea level varies between 400-5000 meters. Main population are Georgians, around 49000 in total.
Along with the geographical location, rich and diverse flora and fauna makes the Racha-Lechkhumi and Lower Svaneti region original and unique. Mountain range of the region, snowy picks of Kavkasioni, rivers and falls, huge forests and animals and birds there, natural caves, passes, alpine mowing and pastures, gorgeous roads and paths, Shaori and Lajani lakes, towers in Svaneti, and other wonderful sites surprise the sightseers. Meeting and contacts with the local population make unforgettable impression. Rich historical past, life, culture, folklore has impressed Greek, Roman,Persian,Turk and Evropean researchers and travellers. The medical mineral waters and resorts of the region Shovi,Utsera,Lashichala, Kveshvake, Muashi,Soruani, Bugeuli, Khibikari are famous and well known. More then 25 medical mineral and sulphurous waters are names of their origin. The resorts of Khibikati,Tsesigora, Uravi ,Bari, skhepuri, Kvedi lake are characterized by particular climate and landscape.
There are numerous interesting and unique historical-ethnographical, archaeological-architect monuments in the region. Among those are churches of Nikortsninda, Barakoni Khonchiori, Mravaldzali, Patara Oni, Ghebi, Kviriketsminda, Lailashi, Chazhasi, Minda-Tsike, Kvatasikhe, castles of Dakhvdi, Dahkari and Ar gaushva, Oni Synagogue that goes back to centuries, the grave of famous St. Maxim Confessor (VII century) and theologian, the monastery of Tsageri municipality, etc.
It is well-known fact in the world that Georgia’s historical and cultural past is connected with the vain and vineyard. One can immediately feel this whale visiting these beautiful regions and tasting the wines Khvanchkara, Alexandreuli, Ojaleshi, and Tetra produced there. Out of 600 species spread in Georgia, 300 species of grapes are grown in the region.
The wine Khvanchkara is particularly popular. In the past it was produced from the Alexandreuli and Mujuretuli grapes in the village of Khvanchkara in Racha.
The most famous historical-architectural monuments are Nikortsminda church, built in XI century and Barakona church, built in XVIII century.
Famous lake Shaori provides wonderful conditions for tourism.