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The town of Signaghi is located in Eastern Georgia, at the end of the Tsivgombori mountain range, on its south-eastern slopes, 110 km from Tbilisi, 800 meters above the sea level. It is overlooking the Alazani valley and the height of Signaghi over it is more than 400 meters. Alazani ravine and the upright standing mountains at the backdrop create unforgettable view and attract numerous tourists. Signaghi is one of the oldest towns in Georgia which was given its status in 1801. In spite of small number of residents (2150) it still plays the role of important economic and cultural center of Kakheti.

The climate is moderately damp, however in summertime it has annual precipitation share of 7,5% thanks to which there is lack of moisture. The average temperature in January is nary more than 00C, and in July — +230C. Natural flora is almost rearranged. Nowadays, along with the cultural plants, there are landscapes typical for dry gorges and semi-deserts, steppes, forest steppes (arid forests) and leafy forest landscapes. Such variety is an important resource for educational tourism.

Signaghi and its environs are peppered with ancient churches and monasteries, historical monuments and museums. They are visited every year by tens of thousands of worshippers and holiday-makers.

The name Signaghi is of Turkish origin and means ‘shelter’. It has been a fortress since XIII-XIV centuries. The transformation of Signaghi into a town is related to the king of Kartli-Kakheti, Erekle II. He founded the Royal town in 1762 and settled there 100 families of merchants and artisans and surrounded the town with the big fence made of a mixture of cobblestone and brick. The fence of Signaghi is one of the biggest in Georgia. Its length is up to 4 km and it encircles almost 40 ha. The fence has two levels. The lower, blind one has the width of 1,5 meters and the upper level – 70-80 sm. The width difference of these layers creates a path for conducting combat. There are 23 built-in towers on the fence (equipped with 2-3 levels, with rifle emplacements, fireplace and combat platforms). Each tower bears the name of an adjacent village. There are five gates in the fence, among them central, minegate, is directly connected with the fortress. Church of St. Stepane Khirseli was built within the fortress fence of Signaghi.

In 2005-2008 with support of the Ministry of Culture and the President of Georgia Signaghi was rehabilitated. Infrastructure was changed, streets were refurbished, and the buildings were given their original appearance.

100 Sights of Georgia

Edited by Manana Baliashvili
Design and layout by
Irma Liparteliani
Elene Varamashvili
Translation by
Guram Abashidze
Images by N. Elizbarashvili, B. Kupatadze, G. Dvalashvili, 
Agency of Protected Areas and Association “Nekresi”
Copyright © 2011. N. ElizbaraSvili, B. KupataZe
Copyright © 2011. Publishing House “Clio”

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