Narikala – the main mother-fortress of Tbilisi, is one of the oldest places in the city and a prominent hallmark of the capital. Located high on a hill, the fortress is visible literally from any part of the city and offers visitors a dizzying view of the capital Tbilisi and the Mtkvari River. The location of the citadel was not chosen accidentally. At this point, the river bed is narrow – here the rocky banks of the river are close enough to each other and form the most strategically advantageous place. The castle was built in the 4th century and was designed to protect the city from enemy attacks. The name Narikala comes from the words “narin” – small, and “kala” – which means fortress.
The fortress is a composite fortified structure, which was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt during the history of its existence due to earthquakes or numerous enemy attacks. The fortress was significantly expanded by the Arabs in the 7– 8th centuries. Most of the surviving fortifications and structures belong to the 16-17th centuries. Inside the fortress there is the church of St. Nicholas (12th century), reconstructed in 1996. The inner part of the church is richly decorated with ancient frescoes depicting scenes from the Bible and the history of Georgia. Some parts of the castle were destroyed by a powerful earthquake in 1827. Nevertheless, the main walls of the fortress are well preserved, providing an amazing appearance of the city to this day.
There are two incredibly beautiful ways to get to the fortress. The first way is to climb up Meydan, one of the most beautiful places in Old Tbilisi. The second path to the fortress is by a cable car from Rike Park. Climbing up to Narikale by the cable car, you can enjoy a charming 360-degree view – in the cabin there are glass panoramic windows and floors.