Facts about Ambrolauri
Ambrolauri, founded in the 17th century, is located in the northwest of Georgia in the region of Racha-Lechkhumi and Kvemo Svaneti, whose capital it is. Ambrolauri is famous above all for its Khvanchkara wine, which is produced in the village of the same name 12 kilometres away. The village lies on the Rioni, the third longest river in Georgia with 327 kilometres.
Ambrolauri was first mentioned in the 17th century, when it was part of the Kingdom of Imereti, which was established after the collapse of the Kingdom of Georgia at the beginning of the 15th century. After about 400 years, the Kingdom of Imereti was finally annexed by the Russian Empire in 1810. Thus Ambrolauri also became Russian.
Enormous destruction during the 1991 earthquake
In 1991, the same year as the Georgian Independence from the Soviet Union, the most severe earthquake ever struck Georgia occurred in and around Amrolauri. The quake had a magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter scale and caused 270 deaths. The city of Ambrolauri was largely destroyed.
Khvanchkara, one of the most famous wines of Georgia
The area around Ambrolauri is ideal for viticulture because of its protected climate and soil conditions. The most famous wine of the region is undoubtedly the Khvanchkara, which is produced in the village of the same name 12 kilometres away. Atypical for traditional Georgian wines, Khvanchkara is not produced according to the Qvevri method, but stored in a stainless steel tank. The Khvanchkara is a blend of the Mujuretuli and Alexandruli grape varieties, which gives it a strong bouquet and a smooth, sweet taste.
In the centre of Ambrolauri, in the middle of a roundabout, there is a monument in the shape of a meter-high Khvanchkara wine bottle. Apart from that, there is not much to see in Ambrolauri – apart from the remains of the imeretic royal residence, a theatre and an art museum. Nevertheless, there are several guesthouses in the village in which it is always worth spending the night. Because the region is not particularly developed for tourism, guests experience a high degree of hospitality and authenticity.
Day trips to Oni and Shovi
From Ambrolauri there are day trips to Khvanchkara (20 minutes by car), but also to Oni (35 min) and Shovi (1h 15 min). Along the road there are numerous natural mineral water springs. Each spring has an individual composition of minerals, which can be recognized by the taste, but also by the coloured deposits that the bubbling water leaves at the spring.
How to get to Ambrolauri
The journey from Tbilisi to Ambrolauri takes about 4.5 hours. The last stretch over the Nakerala Pass and along the Shaori Reservoir is particularly worth seeing.
This information is not yet available.
Since 2017 there is a small airport for domestic flights in Ambrolauri. The company VanillaSky offers flights from Tbilisi (Natakhtari Airfield). The nearest international airport is in Kutaisi (2h by car).
There is a train station in Tqibuli, 40 km south of Ambrolauri. From there you can take a minibus (Marschrutka) or hitchhike to Ambrolauri.