Sighnaghi (Signagi)is a town in Georgia's easternmost region of Kakheti and the administrative center of the Sighnaghi District. It is one of the country's smallest towns with a population of 2,146 as of the 2002 census. Sighnaghi's economy is dominated by the production of wine, traditional carpets and Georgian traditional food Mcvadi. The town and its environs are also known for their landscapes and historical monuments. Sighnaghi has recently undergone a fundamental reconstruction program and has become an important center of Georgia's tourist industry.
The territory of the modern-day town has been settled since the Paleolithic period and was known as Hereti in the Middle Ages, and as Kiziqi after the 15th century. Sighnaghi (literally, "harbor" in Turkish) 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, Sighnaghi was settled by 100 families, chiefly craftsmen and merchants. When Georgia was annexed by Imperial Russia in 1801, Sighnaghi (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.
Sighnaghi 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 Sighnaghi 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 – Sighnaghi Museum – in 2007. Sighnaghi is known as a "Love City" in Georgia.
It is nice idea to stay overnight in Sighnaghi, especially if you are travelling with a boy/girlfriend as it is a very romantic and beautiful town. For some reason most travelguides underrate Sighnaghi, and it is worth much more attention.
There is a great guesthouse in Sighnaghi - Nato & Lado - well located in the centre of town, all rooms have en suite toilets and hot showers and the price includes tasty and traditional Georgian breakfast and dinner. Hostess Ado and her family are absolutely lovely, excellent hosts and really enjoy you staying with them rather than treating you like a walking dollar note. Highly recommended. You can contact Nato on: Tel: 599 212 988 - she speaks fluent English.
Good website about the town is www.signagi.com