Signagi as seen from a nearby hill
|• Total||2,978 km2 (1,150 sq mi)|
|Elevation||836 m (2,743 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||720 m (2,360 ft)|
|• Summer (DST)||EEST (UTC+4)|
|Area code(s)||+995 99|
Signagi (Georgian: სიღნაღი, Sighnaghi) is a town in Georgia's easternmost region of Kakheti and the administrative center of the Signagi Municipality. Although it is one of Georgia's smallest towns, Signagi serves as a popular tourist destination due to its location at the heart of Georgia's wine-growing regions, as well as its picturesque landscapes, pastel houses and narrow, cobblestone streets. Located on a steep hill, Signagi overlooks the vast Alazani Valley, with the Caucasus Mountains visible at a distance.
Signagi is located in the Kakheti region of Georgia, settled since the Paleolithic period. Signagi as a settlement is first recorded in the early 18th century. In 1762, King Heraclius II of Georgia sponsored the construction of the town and erected a fortress to defend the area from marauding attacks by Dagestan tribesmen.
As of the 1770 census, Signagi was settled by 100 families, chiefly craftsmen and merchants. When Georgia was annexed by Imperial Russia in 1801, Signagi (Signakh) was officially granted town status and became a centre of Signakh uyezd (Russian: Сигнахский уезд) within Tiflis Governorate in 1802. In 1812, Signak joined the rebellion with the rest of Kakheti against the Russian rule. During the Caucasian War, the town "was considered an important point on account of its proximity to" Dagestan.
The town quickly rose in its size and population and became an agricultural center under the Soviet Union. The severe economic crisis in post-Soviet Georgia heavily affected the town, but a major reconstruction project recently launched by the Government of Georgia and co-funded by several international organizations intends to address an increasing tourist interest and modernize infrastructure.
Geography and climate
The town has an area of 2.978 km² with 24.3% being residential. Signagi is approximately 113 km southeast of Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia. Signagi District is adjacent, on the town’s east and southwest sides. Signagi is situated in the eastern foothills of the Gombori Range, a watershed between the Iori and Alazani valleys, in a productive agricultural and fruit-growing region. At the elevation of about 790 m above sea level, the town overlooks the Alazani Valley and faces the Greater Caucasus mountains.
Signagi has a mild Mediterranean-like climate. There are four seasons, with winters being moderately cold while summers can be hot. The highest average temperature is in July at 24.3°C while the lowest average temperature is in January at 0.2°C. Average annual precipitation ranges from 602.1 to 949.7 mm, with the heaviest occurring during the spring months and early summer.
Culture and attractions
Signagi and its environs are home to several historical and cultural monuments and has been specifically protected by the State since 1975. The town is walled with the remnants of 18th-century fortifications. There are two Georgian Orthodox churches in the town itself - one dedicated to St. George and the other to St. Stephen. The venerated Bodbe Monastery is located 2 kilometers from Signagi and is a place of pilgrimage due to its association with St. Nino, the 4th-century apostle of Georgia.
The local Ethnographic and Archaeological Museum dating from the 1950s was upgraded and developed into a modern-standard exhibition the – Signagi Museum – in 2007. Signagi is known as a "City of Love" in Georgia, with many couples visiting it just to get married.
- "Signagi (Abashis Raioni, Georgia)". Retrieved 2011-03-08.
- (Georgian) The 2002 Census results, p. 47 (PDF format). The Statistics Department of Georgia. Retrieved on April 1, 2007.
- Van Halen, Don Juan. Narrative of Don Juan Van Halen's Imprisonment in the Dungeons of the Inquisition at Madrid: And His Escape in 1817 and 1818. New York: J & J Harper. p. 269.
- The official website of Signagi. Retrieved on April 1, 2007.
- Signagi Museum. Georgian National Museum. Retrieved on December 14, 2007.
- Rosen, Roger. Georgia: A Sovereign Country of the Caucasus. Odyssey Publications: Hong Kong, 1999. ISBN 962-217-748-4
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sighnaghi.|
- Promotional website of Signagi, State Department of Tourism and Resorts of Georgia, 2008.
- Government Looks to Make Signaghi a Top Tourist Destination. Georgian Business Week. June 4, 2007. Retrieved from The SME Support Project website, December 15, 2007.
Signagi travel guide from Wikivoyage