The village Chachkari is located in Akhalkalaki Municipality 30 kilometers south of Aspindza, in a valley to the immediate north-east of the Vardzia Cave Monastery. Because of its location it is considered as a unique tourist destination.
The legend of Chachkari is inherently tied to the establishment of the cave city of Vardzia. Stories handed down tell that a key determinant of the location of Vardzia would be its proximity to a strong village, which would be able to supply the Georgian army with food and wine while also remaining strategically hidden. For this reason the cliff face that houses the cave city of Vardzia was chosen and the village of Chachkari would be there, strategically hidden in the valley directly behind it, to provision and support Vardzia and its inhabitants.
It is also said that a secret tunnel was dug between Chachkari and Vardzia to serve as a hidden supply route for the provisioning of all the necessary goods from the village to the city. Legend states that even King Tamar herself used this very passage.
The wines of Chachkari were made in rock hewn wine presses called Satsnakhelis in Georgian. The wine was carried to Vardzia in wineskins and stored in Qvevris. The remains of the wine were used to produce Georgia;s traditional spirit, known as Chacha which was reserved for the villagers to enjoy. It is from this legend that the village received its name of Chachkari, which means “The Gate of Chacha”. Today this abandoned village with its small hidden in the cliff houses looks like a hobbits’ village.
Upon reservation in advance you can even enjoy the wine-tasting in the old house of one of the region’s well-known wine-maker – Giorgi Natenadze.
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