About Akhaltsikhe

The administrative center of Samtskhe-Javakheti region, Akhaltsikhe is founded at the elevation of about thousand meters, at most eastern edge of the country. It disposed on the banks of Potskhovi stream.

The traces of human subsistence in surroundings are descending to the Bronze Age. As noted in the writings of antique history, the place was named after the temple Lomisa, which remains are still presented here.

According the chronicles of twelfth centenary, first it was mentioned the fortress Lomsia, which was a possession of local nobleman Jakeli, from the 13th to 17th centuries. It was overhauled and renamed to Akhaltsikhe, what means the New Castle.

In the 16th it was seized by Ottomans, and in the 17th century it became the core of Alhaltsikhe principality. In the times of Russian rule it made part of Empire of Russia.

The Rabat fortress in the environs of Aklhaltsikhe was renovated and rebuilt with conserving the original style in the last years. The fortress of nowadays is consist of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Catholic temple, Synagogue, Mosque and the Armenian chapel. It worth to be visited during the travel to Akhaltsikhe, the Museum with abundant historical and archeological collections.

The vicinity of the town as well as the entire region were settled by Armenian refuges, banished from Turkey after the dreadful Turkish – Armenian conflict of 19th century.

Fifteen kilometers away from to the southeast there is a monastic complex of Saphara, which contains the main Saint Saba temple, the Church of Assumption of Our Lady constructed in 9th-10th centuries and the temple of St. George with the belfry and small chapels. The complex was encircled by fence with watchtowers and used by local residents as the shelter in case of invasions.

Nearby, only several kilometers from the city, in the point of conflux of Mtkvari and Paravani streams, there is erected the temple Khertsvisi on the rocky hill. It was built in the 2nd century BC, later in 985 and 1354 respectively were built the church and the surrounding walls. According to legend it was destructed by Alexander the Great.

Afterwards of destroying by Mongols, Akhaltsikhe lost its significance until fifteenth century, when it became the property of the Jakeli family. Then it was captured by Turks together with entire southern regions of Georgia. They ruled here almost the next three hundred years.

It was liberated just in 19th by the Russian-Georgian troops and soon became the military base of the Russian army.

In the distance, southern from Khertvisi, almost on the border with Turkey is the grot city of Vardzia. The city was carved into the rock in the 12th century, during the reign of Queen Tamar.

Numerous caves located on 13 interconnected levels. In those days there were roads, tunnels, library, pharmacy and baths. Very special are the medieval frescoes depicted on the walls of the cavern church, including one of the three existing images of the legendary Queen Tamar.

Travel to Akhaltsikhe is a familiarity with the interesting places of glory history of our country.