Shemokmedi welcomes us with the smile of Hollywood, with the name of the village displayed on a hillside in big white letters above the town. Above the town, there is a famous monastery complex on a high hill. You can enter the complex through an old bell tower and into the courtyard of the church, where you will find there are two churches built together; a XIII-XIV century hall-type church and “Zarzma”, a domed church dating back to the XVI century. Within the Zarzma Monastery, you will find the Icon of Transfiguration. After the conquest by Samtskhe-Saatbag Ottoman of the Ottoman Empire, Vakhtang I Gurieli, the leader of Guria, had the Icon specially created to be saved in the Monastery, along with other valuable items. Beside the entrance of the church, there are three medallions: one in the middle of the cross with the arms, one on the left (the six-pointed star), and on the right (half of the five stars). The churches have old inscriptions on their walls, images of historic figures and ancient graves in the yard. This first church of Shemokmedi was originally built to honor Gurian noblemen and their crypt.
The village of Chala is on the left side of Shemokmedi. Here, the ruins of a church and a bell tower are preserved. This type of the bell tower is very rare in Georgia, as it is one of a foreign style.
To the right side of Shemokmedi monastery, there is another church Gorisferdi in the valley of the river Akishi. It stands on a hill, which can be quite difficult to climb. On the way up there is an unusual land formation for this rural landscape; a large, flat plateau. Many people have fought over this place. There was a small greenish-colored stone found only in Shemokhmedi, Gurians call it porphriti, which was used to build not only the Gorispardi and Shemokmedi churches, but also other churches of Guria. Legend tells that a local master-builder and his apprentice built the two churches at once. The master built Shemokmedi Church, and the apprentice – the Gorispardi. As apprentice did the better job than the master, the master got upset and cut his students right hand off so that he could not build another.
In Shemokmedi, you can also see the ruins of St. George’s Church. Several museums operated in Shemokmedi before: Varlam Simonishvili`s, Philipe Makharadze`s, Vladimer Nemirovich-Danchenko`s. All these museums were located in ancient Gurian Oda houses, but they are not operating today. The new museum of Varlam Simonishvili (famous singer) is under construction.
There are two ancient, petrified Satsnakheli in the village of Goniskari, indicating that grape and wine production developed in this area very long ago.
In the village of nearby Gomi, you can see beautiful place with the name of Chakukha. It is a place where the water is very cold and is very comfortable for swimming which has been developed to accommodate the people wishing to take a swim. The Bzhuzhi River is known for its annual internation kayaking competition in May, during this rainy period. The Bzhuzha Race is the first state of five of the Extreme Kayaking European Cup (EKEC).