Participants of Alaverdoba festival should arrive no later than September 20.
Booking a hotel in Tbilisi in advance is recommendable.
The first day of the festival begins in the mountainous region of Tusheti, where participants will be transferred from Tbilisi. According to the scenario, a pilot, just like the character from Georgi Danelia’s comedy Mimino, flies the festival participants by helicopter from Tbilisi to the mountain village of Omalo, the main village of Tusheti. The village is situated in a remote location at an altitude of 1,900 meters above the sea level, between the Main Caucasian Ridge and Pirikiti (Internal Tushetian Ridge).
Many different legends are associated with this place. Despite the remoteness, the region has been attracting people here from the ancient times. In antiquity, this place was associated with the goddess Cybele. Here were performed rituals and sacraments and one local legend says that the goddess used to appear in these mountains in her golden chariot drawn by lions. According to another legend, Omalo is a place where the gods lived, guarded by the phovely, the ancestors of today’s Georgians from Pshavi region.
After the introduction of Christianity, the place continued to embody the power of nature, which is represented by the Virgin Mary in this region. Local churches belong to the diocese of Alaverdi, that is why Alaverdi Monastery is considered as the main sacred place, and Alaverdoba — as the main holiday.
The programme includes a visit to the local Ethnographic Museum, introduction to Tushetian culture, master-class in making cheese and tasting of mountain Georgian cuisine, master-class in knitting carpets and clothes, trekking on horseback, mini-concert with Tushetian dances and songs accompanied on the panduri and harmon.
In the evening, there is a flight from Omalo to Lopota.
The ceremonial part of the festival in Alaverdi Monastery. This day is dedicated to the traditions of Georgian spiritual culture and wine making. The ancient fertility festival Alaverdoba is the Kakhetian New Year and it is historically associated with Alaverdi Monastery, the spiritual centre of Georgian culture. St. George Cathedral, which dates back to the 11th century, is nominated for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The programme includes solemn message from Amba Alaverdi Metropolitan David, ceremony of awarding winners of the 2016 Alavi awards, presentations from various experts, tasting of monastery wines and wine auction.
Festival participants will have a unique opportunity to get familiar with the incredible Alaverdi Monastery wines which require a special approach to appreciating and understanding of this beverage, which will be explained in detail by the experts. But the most important thing on this day is the space of Alaverdi Monastery itself, which is filled with grace. This will be a true purification of all the festival participants on this blessed Georgian land.
Another equally interesting opportunity on this day is to try the traditional Alaverdi cultured dairy drink matsoni, which has a truly excellent quality.
On September 23, Alaverdoba festival is all about music. The day begins to the strains of the Alazani Valley in Nekresi Monastery pointed by Saint Abibus as a place of divine sound. Saint Abibus is one of the 13 legendary Syrian Fathers — the founders of Georgian monasticism.
The programme includes: visits to private cellars, familiarizing with small-scale wine making in Kakheti region.
The festival will end with the celebration of Kakhetian New Year. In the evening, the festival guests will enjoy the Sexton Party kindly organized and hosted by Badagoni wine company whose philosophy is the preservation and improvement of the local traditions.
Badagoni represents the modern Georgian aristocracy, reminding us of the old Georgian princely houses that were preserving and improving the society. Symbolically, the Badagoni winery, which has introduced a completely new wine making product for Kakheti region, is located at the place of birth of Alaverdoba traditions, near the famous Alaverdi Monastery. Being so close, the monastery is as if blessing Badagoni in its efforts to preserve and expend the great traditions.
The programme also includes the presentation of sparkling Sexston Badagoni Brut — wine given birth by Badagoni on Alaverdi lands. Sexston Badagoni is the musical sixth chord of the festival.