For centuries, castles and fortresses in Georgia played an important role in the protection of cities from enemy attacks. Castles were built for centuries and today many of them are preserved in a perfect condition. Across the country, you can find medieval castles and fortresses, and each of them has an interesting story behind, which we’re going to tell you today:
Castles and fortresses in Georgia: Narikala Fortress
One of the most popular attractions in Georgia is Narikala Fortress. It is considered the heart and soul of Tbilisi. Narikala is located on the high hill, in the end of the Sololaki ridge, in the heart of the capital, across the Rustavi Avenue.
Narikala Fortress was built in the VI-th century, but in 1827 was destroyed during the. In the late 90’s Church of St. Nicholas (XII cent.) was rebuilt.
You can reach the mountain and the fortress by the ropeway, which was built in 2012. The ropeway leads from the Park Rike to the Sololaki ridge. Before the ropeway was opened, the funicular was had been functioning since 1905. The funicular served for almost 100 years and it was closed because of the cable breakage.
Castles and fortresses in Georgia: Ananuri Fortress
Ananuri fortress is located 70km from Tbilisi, on the banks of the Zhinvali Dam. At the time, Ananuri had great importance as the main reference point. Only the citadel has survived from the majestic fortress, but the castle is considered one of the most famous fortresses in Georgia and every year hundreds of thousands of tourists visit this attraction.
The fortress was built in the XIII-th century and has long been the residence of Aragvi eristavis. Today only walls, large and small towers are preserved. Large towers have floors and stairs, and you can safely climb to the top floor. The most interesting thing in the fortress Ananuri is the Church of the Assumption, built in 1689. The temple of Virgin Mary of the XVII-th century is located to the west of the Church of the Dormition. The temple of Virgin Mary is closed to tourists as it is not restored.
Ananuri Fortress is visible from the Georgian Military Highway. You can also get to the fortress by public transport (from Tbilisi to Gudauri, Stepantsminda and Pasanauri).
Castles and fortresses in Georgia: Khertvisi Fortress
One of the oldest forts in Georgia, Khertvisi Castle, is located on a high mountain at the confluence of the rivers Mtkvari and Paravani. The history of the early period of the fortress, unfortunately, is lost. Due to the strategically important location, Khertvisi has always been attacked, and for a long time it was occupied by the Turks.
The fortress consists of an upper and lower part. The lower wall is not strengthened and it can hardly be considered a fortified wall. From the south, the castle has a gate; high tower is visible behind the gates. There is a small temple of the X-th century behind the tower.
You can get to the castle by public transport from Akhaltskha to Akhalkalaki.
Castles and fortresses in Georgia: Gremi Castle
Gremi is actually a temple complex, but it has long been called the castle. The castle is considered one of the most popular attractions in Kakheti region. The temple complex was built in the XVII-th century by King Levan of Kakheti. During his reign, Gremi became the capital of Kakheti. Unfortunately, it was burned by Shah Abbas. From the majestic complex, only the Archangels’ Church complex and bell tower have been preserved. Inside the temple, you will see unique frescoes of the XVI-th century. There is the tomb of the king Levan on the territory of the castle. The complex also includes a museum, which presents a small collection of ceramics, bronze artifacts and findings from excavations in Nekresi Monastery. The most interesting thing in the castle is the tower and a toilet that is a rare facility for that era in the South Caucasus.
The castle is located 20 km from Telavi. You can get to it by public transport from Telavi or Kvareli. There is a secret entrance from the highway that leads to the tower. Another interesting information about Gremi castle is that the temple has its own Gremkalakoba holiday, which is celebrated on April 28.
In Georgia, there are many other hidden ancient castles and fortresses. Every castle keeps a part of the country’s history. If you want to explore the history of Georgia and see all the fortresses, you can request a unique tour around the country and study ancient Georgia.