“Georgia’s wine growing capital“.
Where is Sighnaghi?
The town of Sighnaghi is one of Georgia’s smallest towns. It sits on a steep hill in the heart of Georgia’s easternmost wine-growing region of Kakheti.
Overlooking the Alazani Valley, the Caucasus Mountains are visible in the distance, best seen from the town wall. The perfect place to capture that memorable picture. This pretty town has much to offer.
The journey from Tbilisi to Sighnaghi was in a marshrutka.
Our time in Sighnaghi we chose to stay at the Hotel Vigor, booked through Booking.com
Centrally located in the town, easily accessible to most shops, cafes, places of interest and restaurants. This hotel was clean and spacious. There are a shared lounge and garden.
As we were on room only bases we would have breakfast at Art-Cafe Qedeli, run by a charity. A very good breakfast was served. In the evening we choose to eat at Pheasant’s Tears Winery. Make sure you book well in advance. We didn’t but they managed to squeeze us in.
Places of interest
Taking a walk around the town was a delight with its narrow cobblestone streets, and pretty pastel coloured houses. The streets are clean and the locals are very friendly.
The remnants of the 18th-century fortification walls are accessible to walk along. Being part of the Georgian wine-producing region, wine tastings are available at many of the wineries. Georgian chacha, an outrageously potent vodka distilled from grape skins is also popular and worth trying.
The town is walled with the remnants of 18th-century fortifications. The 4.5m high wall is approximately 4.5 km long. There is a section that is still intact, has walkways, and access to a couple of the 23 towers.
Whilst walking on the wall, we overheard a tour guide telling her tour party. “The wall is the second longest wall in the world, after the Great Wall of China”. At only 4.5 km long, we feel it falls far short of that claim.
There are a couple of ways to get up onto the wall. From Sighnaghi Bus Station, walk up April 9 Street. Where the road splits, take the cobbled road on the right, towards Tsnori. Walk through the gateway. Carry on down the road past St. George basilica. The road curves around to the left. On the right following the “Tourist Track” sign, up the wooden steps to get to one of the towers and the wall. It is a fantastic walk along the wall.
Tower access is possible along this section as well. The final walkable section here ends at the gateway on the Tsnori road. From here it is possible to walk back to the town. Walking the whole wall is difficult as parts of it are in poor condition and overgrown.
St. Stephen Church
Not the easiest church to find. Located in Chavchavadze Street. The church is near Burji Guesthouse. It looks more like one of the towers of the wall and is easy to pass by. From the church tower, there is probably the best view of Sighnaghi and the surrounding area. A candle seller will try to charge admission to the church and the tower. Do not pay him, there is no entry fee.
We chose to go to the Cradle of wine for a wine tasting and meal. Both were excellent. Our host Paul was extremely knowledgeable and passionate about his wines. Listening to Paul’s interesting history about his wines, at the same time enjoying a glass or two.
With a delicious meal whilst overlooking the countryside. However, all good things must come to an end, so leaving a little tipsy we started our journey back to our hotel.