racha-lechxumi

Mountainious region in western georgia, famous for its wines, hospitable inhabbitants, pristine lakes and alpine lanscapes.
Main details
All you need to know to plan a trip
Location
Ambrolauri, the region center, is located 270 km away from Tbilisi, 240 km from Batumi and 70 km from Kutaisi
Main towns
Ambrolauri is the main city in the region, the second is Oni.
Climate
Weather in the Upper and the Lower Racha is different: in Amrolauri and its neighborhood in summer it can go up to 35°C, in winter it is around 10°C with above average humidity.
In Shovi even in summer it does not get hotter than 25°C, winters are mild with snow.
Hot to get there
It is possible to get to Oni, Ambrolauri and Shovi on a regular car, but the most beautiful places are hidden in the mountains and you would need an off-road vehicle or go on a 2-3 day trip on foot.
Once per day a marshrutka goes from Tbilisi and Kutaisi to Ambrolauri. Also 15-seat Cessnas fly to Ambrolauri. You can find detailed information at the Vanilla Sky carrier website or at us.
Best time to go
In June we recommend to do rafting on the Rioni river.
From July to September – ascend to high mountains in the Upper Racha.
In October – to enjoy the mild autumn.
Hotels and restaurants
There are no 4* or 5* hotels in the region, almost no restaurants and a short time ago it was difficult even to accommodate a group of 20 people. But there are a lot of opportunities to develop the agricultural tourism. We recommend to stay at small family hotels at the wineries and have meals there as well.
Best tourist attractions
Shaori Lake
Shaori Lake
The Shaori lake, or water reservoir, to be more precise, was created at a height of 1100 meters above sea level when the Shaori HPP was built. Surrounded by thick pine-wood forest and sandy beaches, the lake is especially attractive during the hottest summer months.
In a sunny weather you can see the snow-capped peaks of the Great Caucasus.
Nikortsminda church
The XI century cross-domed church is famous with its rich stone carving and well-preserved fresco paintings of the XVI century.

Facades of the building are decorated with different ornaments and bas-reliefs, images of the saints and bizarre animals, and the frescoes near the entrance still depict portraits of the Tsulukidze dukes who donated for the building of the church. The church is nominated to be included into the UNESCO's world heritage list.
Barakoni church, Racha
Barakoni church
The church is located on a cliffed coast near the confluence of the Rioni and the Lukhuni rivers (for this reason it is sometimes compared to Jvari).
Barakoni was built by Rostom, the eristav of Racha, in 1753, and it is one of the last ones built in Georgia in the traditional style. Across the road from the church there is the Minda fortress, one of the few survived fortresses in the region.
Oni Local Museum, Racha
Oni Local Museum
The museum is rarely visited by tourists, but it keeps a lot of unique artefacts: objects from excavations in the Brili village (brass spearheads, decorative images of an rams, axes related to the Colchian culture); fragments of church bas-reliefs of the X-XI centuries, ancient coins, books, manuscripts, a collection of weapon and armour, pictures and dozens of early printed books and age-old coins. Employees of the museum are passionate about it and their work and will be happy to do a museum tour for you.
Working hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am – 5 pm.
Oni Synagogue, Racha
Oni Synagogue
The synagogue was built in 1895 according to a project repeating the synagogue building in Warsaw. It was built by specialists from Greece and the stones for building was taken by carts from Kutaisi. During the Soviet Union time the authorities decided to destroy the building, but the locals mured it and it helped to save it. After the fall of the USSR, the Jews from Oni emigrated to Israel, and now there are only a couple of families left out of once rich community and they take care of the synagogue.
Shovi Resort, Racha
Shovi Resort
In the 1920th Shamshe Lejava, a Georgian doctor inspired by the Alps experience, started development of Shovi as a resort. Soon this place became favored by the party bosses due to its mineral springs, pine-wood forests, alpine meadows and high mountains. Now the infrastructure of the resort is poorly developed, and Georgians visit it more often than foreigners to escape the July heat (in Shovi temperature rarely goes above 20°C), breathe the healing air, enjoy the silence and the beauty of nature.
Utsera resort, Racha
Utsera resort
Located 10 km away from Oni at a height of more than 1100 km asl, resort is famous with its mineral springs. 28 types of water spring up here, and they are used both for bathing and for drinking.
Due to its high location and pine-wood and mixed forest surrounding the resort, the air there also has positive impact on the therapy.
Love waterfall, Ambrolauri
Love waterfall
Ambrolauri, the main city of Racha, is famous mostly for its wines: here you can taste Khvanchkara, Tvishi and Aleksandrouli from the nearby vineyards.
Very few people know that in the city there is a true wonder of nature – a heart-shaped rock.
If you walk further 5 minutes after the love waterfall, on your left you will see a path that leads to the second waterfall which is higher and even more impressive.
Lailashi village, Racha
Lailashi village
Years ago this place used to be a famous trade settlement where the Georgians, the Jews, the Armenians and the Greeks lived peacefully together. In the 1940s the Lailash bible dated back to the X century was found in the community synagogue.
Unfortunately, the fire in 1904 destroyed more than 150 houses, and very few ancient buildings survived in the village.
Two years ago the Internet was flooded with pictures made at the Lailashi pool: azure spring water of the water reservoir with a view of the Ladjanuri HPP is truly impressive. We recommend that you go here on a hot day to refresh in the purest spring water.
Best trekking routes
Tskhrajvari massif
In the 80s a health resort for miners was built here. A cable car line was routed to the resort from Tkibuli (altitude difference is 900 meters!). In the 90s all buildings were pulled apart piece by piece and the only thing that reminds of the former nobility is the abandoned cable car station. The route to the Nine Crosses rock starts from the cable car station and goes along a cliff edge with a scenic view of the Imereti valley. Last 300 meters you will have to climb pretty steep rocks, but the views ahead are well worth it.
Distance: 2,5 km. Duration: 3-4 h
Udziro lake
The Udziro lake (Georgian bottomless) is located between the Dolomisi and Kititsveta peaks that are mote than 3000 meters asl, and the lake is at 2800 meters asl. The route is available from July to September during a 2-day trip. It is recommended to put up a tent by the lake. The track starts nearby the Glola village and ends in Shovi. The ascent is quite steep, so you will have to go slowly to adapt to the altitude difference.
Distance: 19 km, height difference - 1900 m
Duration 2 days, difficulty: high
Buba glacier
Another picturesque route near the Shovi resort. The track goes to the North-East along the Bubastskali river, descent to the clove is followed by a steep ascent to a hill. Gradually, the pine-wood forest is changed by open landscapes and several mineral springs along the road. Optionally, the track can be extended by two days towards the Tbilisa glacier and Mamisoni pass.
Distance: 18 km, height difference - 1100 m
Duration 8 h, difficulty: moderate
Gona village
Gona is located at the Georgian borders and is well-known with its scenic alpine views. Years ago this village was densely populated, but after numerous mud flows the road there became inaccessible and now the village is reachable only on foot. Nowadays only one family lives there, they move to the village for summer and looks after the pasture lands. The route starts at the Gebi village and leads along the river, several times you will have to cross the river on spar bridges.
Distance: 6 km, height difference - 400 m
Duration: 4-5 h, difficulty: easy
Sairme pillars
Sairme pillars are an extraordinary wonder of nature located in Lechkhumi, half an hour drive from Ambrolauri. It is impossible to drive to the pillars, but trekking lovers can use the marked route to a viewpoint located above the rocks.
Distance: 5 km, height difference - 300 m
Duration: 3-4 h, difficulty: easy
Top things to do in Racha
You can visit Racha in one of our tours:
You can contact us:
+7 977 137 00 40 (Russia)
+ 995 557 756 023 (Georgia)
info@time4georgia.ru
Time for Georgia travel company
Kote Meskhi str.14, Tbilisi, Georgia