Signagi is a town in Kakheti, Georgia. It could be a town somewhere else though. Or at least this was my impression when I arrived there in unbearable heat of a Caucasian summer day. What I saw was a peaceful town with population a little over 2 thousand people, famous for wine and carpet production, with a stone bell tower dominating the lansdcape and fortification walls dating back to middle ages to frame it all.
Signagi could be a town in Italy. It could be a town in France. It could be a town in Spain. It could be a town in the Balkans. It happened to be in Kakheti, Georgia and it is considered to be one of the most important hubs of the country’s tourism industry, especially after it has undergone a fundamental reconstruction program.
Signagi is extremely easily accessible from Tbilisi. All you have to do is to hop on the minibus aka marshrutka. Marshrutkas to Signagi go from Samgori,a little bus station just by the metro station of the same name. There is a great open market next to it, where you can get a yummy, fresh breakfast for pennies. The best khachapuri I’ve ever tried I got from there. Believe me, I’ve tasted many of them in my Caucasian endeavours so I know what I’m talking about.
I slept on the marshrutka. I slept and I woke up confused. This place the marshrutka took me to felt like Tuscany. Stone walls, red roofs, vine plants, stone bell tower, you name it. I was amused. Big time. Not sure if I had loved this experience as much if I would have come to visit from Europe. I came from Yerevan and something Europe-like has made me feel relieved. One miss Europe sometimes, when one resides in Yerevan. Usually people think of Tbilisi as the most westernized, most diverse and most vibrant of Caucasian capitals. Well, I’m sure that if there was a nice pub or two in Signagi, everyone would go there for their weekend retreats.
Fortunately for me, there is no nice pub in Signagi. My mom and I got there early enough not to encounter crowds of tourists. They came a little later, when we already retired to a little family run restaurant to feast on eggplants. Here is the most important tip one can ever give you on traveling in Georgia: if the restaurant you enter serves eggplants with walnuts, order it. If the restaurant you enter, doesn’t serve eggplants with walnuts, go somewhere else.
My day in Signagi was filled with eggplants, wandering the streets and gazing at the pretty, old buildings. Well, these are some of my favorite things in the world. I don’t think a person needs more to be happy for a day. Take look at my photos and decide for yourself. Are you up for a quick trip to Signagi?