Vani is a town on southwest of Imereti region in western Georgia populated by wonderful people and settled in beautiful nature. Vani (administrative centre) is located on Imereti lowland on the banks of the river Sulori (left tributary of the river Rioni). Elevation from sea level - 60 m, distance to the nearest railway station - 19km. Climate - humid sub-tropical with warm winter and hot summer. The average annual temperature is 13.9 degrees Celsius, 4.1 ° degrees C in January and 23.4 ° degrees C in July. Annual rainfall is 1380.
On the east it is bordered by Baghdadi Municipality, on the west by Samtredia and Chokhatauri Municipality, on the north by TSkaltubo and Samtredia Municipalities and on the south by Adigeni and Chokhatauri Municiplaities. Total area is 557, 9 square kilometers. There is 1 town (Vani) and 20 communities (Amagleba, Bzvani, Gadidi, Gora, Dikhashkho, Zeindari, Salominao, Mukedi, Salkhino, Tobanieri, Ukhuti, Pereta, Kumuri, Shuamta, Tsikhesulori, Dzulukhi, Mtisdziri)
In antique era there was located one of the most important cities of old Colchis Kingdom, which prospered in III-I centuries B.C. The urban settlement on this territory was developed on the foundations of the ancient settlements, ruins of which are fixed in Vani and the surrounding territories (Kechinara, Tsikhesulori, Gora, Bagineti, Inashauri, Sulori, Dzulukhi, Bzvani). There were two most important stages at this period.
VI-IV centuries B.C. and III - the first half of I century B.C.
The first stage is represented by wooden dwelling buildings, sacrificial altars cut in rocky ground and various ceramic materials and rich burials (diadems, granulated ear-rings, and temple decorations, animal sculptural portrayal decorations, bowls, heraldic portrayals, necklaces and etc.). There are also silver jewelry, bronze and clay dishes. The imported clay and metal dishes which were discovered in burials and cultural layers is evidence of intensive trade, economic and cultural relations with Greek World. At that time (VI-IV centuries B.C.) Vani was the most important political-administrative centre of Colchis Kingdom and the residence of rulers.
The second stage starts from III century B.C. It is the beginning of the new era in the history of old city Vani. It became a big temple center. Fence wall, architectural complex of gate, seven stepped alter, round temple and other worship and public buildings belong to this period. After archeological excavations there were found monumental sculpture of the head of lion, alters, head of the column with haut-relief depiction of the woman-idol, small terra cotta and bronze sculptures and masks, also local and Greek ceramics. Old city was destroyed in the middle ages of the first century B.C.
Vani as one of the most important sources of archeological discoveries was considered in XIX century. In 1847-1848 famous French Academician Mari Brose was travelling in Georgia and Caucasus. When he was in Kutaisi he was presented the sculpture of a man’s head, which was found in “Sachino” graves (Unfortunately, the location of the sculpture isn’t known). Mari Brose described the sculpture as “bust of a man from the beginning of shoulders, hairy and bearded, with big nose and sardonic smile”. In 1876 newspaper “Droeba” wrote: “there won’t be rain if it doesn’t bring gold from hills. There would be wealth on this hill”. After this article EKvtime Takaishvili was interested about Vani and in 1896 the first archeological excavations began on the territory of the city. From 1947 it takes systematic character.
Antique City of Vani was situated on the neighboring hill and its total area was 8, 5 hectare. From this place there is good sight of the Rioni lowland, Kutaisi and Svaneti Mountains. This place was strategic and it was ease to pay attention to big trade road which was starting from India and through the Caspian Sea was reaching the Black sea. There were also roads connecting to Guria and Meskheti. It was strategic place for Colchis kingdom and King Aeetes - son of the Greek God of Sun Helios - had capital city here. It doesn’t matter that in historical sources it is mentioned as “Aia Kutaia” and not as “Sachino” or “Vani”
In antique period Vani was high developed city settlement, with urban infrastructure and it existed from VII century to I century B.C. After archeological excavations there were discovered gate of the city and stone fence, worship and public buildings, burials of honored men and women - unique models of goldsmith, silver and bronze products, produced in Colchis Kingdom as well as imported mainly from Greece. These discoveries made evident the high cultural, social and economic level of life in Vani. Big pitchers, small round pots, jugs, and other vessels for drinking is obvious evidence that vine-growing was promoted there. It’s important that there were found heads of lions, because lion is typical for Georgian worship buildings of the period before Christ and after Christ. This is also evidence that our ancestors had knowledge, that Georgia has zodiac sign of lion. Our attention is also paid on enormous tiles, with specific linking lines. One vessel was standing on portrayal of eagle claw, but the most important is bronze statue of the vessel –Goddess Nike with feathers.
Vani burials are also unique by the multiple iron weapons and other equipment. It is richer that the world-famous burial of Scythians. The penetration of weapons in Greek burials is also very rare. It abolishes the idea that there was the dwelling place of old and this civilization belongs to non-Georgian tribes.
Everything is evidence that on this territory there was high-developed state and differentiated society what was reason why old Greeks, which had high-developed culture, were traveling to Colchis Kingdom to take wisdom or “Golden fleece”. On first-rate “Golden fleece” was symbol of wisdom and richness.
Vani - this blessed ancient land is a place, where there are many “footsteps” of Medea and Aeete, from which hero Jason stole “golden fleece” and beautiful Medea. This is our past, which is the reason of pride in Vani and Georgia. It’s fortunate that our municipality must take pride on its future too, because on this blessed land of Vani a lot of patriots have been grown up whose merit is immeasurable in history of Georgia.