Abuli fortress (Region of Samtskhe-Javakheti)

Abuli fortress, located on the south slope of lesser Abuli mountain, on latitude 2500 m above the sea level, is one of the most mysterious and not well studied megalithic structures from the Bronze Age.  The little Abuli mountain, which’s height reaches 2700 m above the sea level, is one of the volcanic mountains of Samsari range. At the top, one of the extinct craters, according to rumors, there is a lake. The very top of the mountain is covered with gray stones, of which the Abuli fortress was built.

The fortress has the shape of the ring. We can distinguish tower and living quarters inside the fort. Now in the area are no water sources. There are also not found cultural layers, although the excavations were not conducted seriously. In the current climatic conditions Abuli cleavage at such a height is not suitable for life, because of too low temperatures, although the Javakheti plateau everywhere are scattered ruins from different epochs, which show once active life in these parts, when the climate was warmer and softer.

You can get to the castle from the village Gandzani (Ninotsminda district), driving along the dirt road through the pass and rounded the hill Abuli from the south. And from there one have to go by foot. Hiking to the top of Abuli takes around 1 hour. If trekking starts from the car road from Gandzani, then whole trek will take 6-8 hours.

Avranlo Megaliths (Region of Kvemo Kartli )

Avranlo Megaliths is a megalithic fortification located in the Tsalka municipality in the Kvemo Kartli region and dates back to the III-II millennium BC. It closes a narrow exit in the middle of the mountains where the only road passes, which connects Trialeti with the Borjomi gorge. Avranlo is a megalithic complex consisting of three tiers of terraces overlooking the river canyon. The lowest tier, at the base of the hill, is a semicircular wall about 80 meters long, the height of which reaches 3 meters in places. Between this wall and the mountain there is a small medieval Christian church and several caves nearby, collectively referred to as the monastery of Abibos.

The second and third tiers are true “Cyclopean” structures, characterized by large stones, dry stonework and an unusual way of arrangement. The third, topmost tier covers the mount. It has a rectangular plan, 25 m long and 18 m wide. The walls are 3-4 m thick. The structure is significantly damaged, many of its parts are destroyed. Archaeological excavations in the adjacent fields to the north of the megalithic fortress led to the settlement of the Kuro-Araks culture and the necropolis of the 12th-11th centuries BC. The fortress is included in the list of monuments of history and culture of national importance in Georgia.

Akura Monastery (აკურა)(Region of Kakheti)

Historical sources that have survived to our time mention that even in the early Middle Ages, Akura (აკურა) was a place of active cultural and economic life of Georgians. In ancient times, Akura was located even higher – in the upper part of the gorge of the river – «Akuris Khevi». In these places, traces of residence have been preserved to this day and which is still called -«Nakalovrebi» (threshing floor). In the same area, in a hard-to-reach rock, a huge cave has been carved. According to oral sources, people who fled from different parts of Georgia, mainly from Kartli region, hid in the cave; According to the second version of the legend, the cave was used many times by local residents as a shelter during the invasion of the Lezghins.

1.5 km from the top of the modern location of the village of Akura, in the middle of a picturesque pine forest, there is an old monastery complex – «Akuris Mama Daviti».  (Father David), founded by the famous church figure – Ilarion Kartveli (Georgian) (822 – 875). The main building is a large, three-aisled basilica, built of cobblestone and brick. By the nature of the plan and facades, the basilica is one of the earliest and, moreover, a well-preserved example of Georgian temple architecture. This is a monument of the transition period (II half of the 7th century – I half of the 10th century). On the western wall of the church, small fragments of the Nativity and Assumption scenes have been preserved. On the territory of the monastery, enclosed by a fence, the remains of a cellar and other agricultural buildings have been preserved.

Alaverdi Monastery  (Region of Kakheti)

Alaverdi monastery and Episcopacy cathedral is located near the hamlet of Alaverdi in Akhmeta region, 20 km from Telavi. Alaverdi Monastery was founded in VI century by St. Father Joseph Alaverdeli who arrived from Assyria (his tomb is the most important deity of the cathedral). Today‘s cathedral was built on the site of the church of St. George in the beginning of XI century on the Decree of the king of Rahns and Kakhs, Kvirike III (1010-1037), and after that it became the center of Episcopacy.

Alaverdy cathedral is the tallest construction (51 meters) among the Medieval Georgian architectural monuments. It is a cross-type, three arch construction. There are three entrances from three sides. Big space of the cathedral interior (42 m x 26 m) is illuminated by a light from 16 windows in the neck of the dome. Alaverdi has a relatively austere decoration with carving and ornaments generally typical for Kakheti religious monuments. The cathedral is built of cobblestone with internal part covered with pumice stone. The Alaverdi cathedral roof is constructed with glazed blue tiles. There are many instriptions of the walls of the cathedral.

The monastery is surrounded with a fence (XVII century) within which there is a three-level chamber – the residence of a Bishop; brick palace (constructed in 1615 by the potentate of Kakheti, Peiqar-Khan), bath, wine cellar, cells for monks. Alaverdi cathedral was one of the important centers of Georgian literacy. Here was rewritten one of the oldest Georgian manuscripts – Alaverdi Gospels (1054) which today is kept at the National Center of Manuscripts.

Alaverdi is presented for inscription on UNESCO World Heritage List. 

Fortress  of Anaklia (Region of Samegrelo)

Fortress of Anaklia  has seen many wars, but despite the turbulent events, it has survived to this day. According to the plan, there was one tower at each corner of the square castle. The towers on the first and second floors had separate entrances from the courtyard. There was a hole in the walls for firing a gun. The opening for the cannons was preserved only in the outer wall of the southwestern rectangular tower. The castle is surrounded by a two-story fence, the lower tier is deaf and the upper tier, which also has a hole for firing small arms at the level of the path.

During the Russian-Turkish wars, this fortress played an important role. Having stood for more than three centuries, the fortress can still be proud of its strong defensive structures. Anaklia was also an important port settlement on the Black Sea and was one of the earliest settlements, dating back to the mid-Bronze Age and having a typical Colchis culture. The modern name of the settlement is derived from the ancient Colchis colony of Heraclus. Since the 19th century, Anaklia has been a small but heavily fortified seaport with customs and significant trade with Turkey.

Anaklia resort (Region of  Samegrelo)

Anaklia is a vibrant resort with a dry climate unusual for the Georgian Black Sea coast, high-class hotels, smooth roads, European architecture framed by subtropical forests, and soft sandy beaches. Even at the beginning of our era, the Greeks settled here, and called this area the Greek name of Heracles. Over the centuries, the name of Heracles was transformed into Anaklia. In recent years, much has been done to develop the resort area. Investors who undertake to equip the coastal strip, the state has offered preferential terms.

As a result of this, a new resort village has appeared, consisting of several luxurious hotels, with huge investments in entertainment infrastructure and beautiful sea sandy beaches. Of the entertainment and attractions in Anaklia, there is the largest water park in Georgia, tennis courts, a large stadium and an amphitheater, where concerts and all kinds of entertainment take place during the season, clubs and discos in hotels and a yacht club where you can order boat trips on beautiful brand new motor yachts.

Ananuri  Fortress (Region of Mtskheta-Mtianeti)

 Ananuri Fortress- fortified ensemble , dating from the 17th century, is located on the left bank of the Aragvi River, along the famous original Georgian Military Highway, 66km from Tbilisi. It incorporates a circuit wall with turrets, a porch, a Church of Virgin, a minor Church of Gvtaeba, a tower with a stepped pyramidal roof of Svanetian type, a single-nave Church Mkurnali, tower Sheupovari, a bell-tower, a spring and a reservoir.  In the Church of the Virgin are buried some of the Eristavis (dukes) of Aragvi. The Church of the Assumption, built in 1689, has richly decorated facades with the fine relief carvings featuring human, animal and floral images, including a carved north entrance. It also contains the remains of a number of beautiful frescoes.

The wall paintings executed between the 17th and the 18th centuries contain the depiction of Thirteen Assyrian Fathers (prominent ecclesiastical figures), which represent a convincible evidence for the study of the iconography of these figures. The authenticity of monument is preserved in architectural forms, materials, location and other necessary attributes. However, the visual perception of the ensemble has been changed following the construction of the Zhinvali reservoir in the vicinity of Ananuri.The physical condition of buildings can be characterised as good. Ananouri is presented for inscription on UNESCO World Heritage List. 

Church of St. Stephen the Martyr (Church of Antioch), (Region of Mtskheta-Mtianeti)

The Church of St. Stephen the Martyr (Church of Antioch), built in the 5th century on the holy place of the baptism of Georgians, at the confluence of the Kura and Aragvi rivers, is one of the oldest in Mtskheta. The Greek inscription on the stone at the threshold of the church (the stone slab is kept in the Archaeological Museum of Mtskheta) informs  that the architect of the temple was the Greek master Averlios Akolios. Since the founding of the church, it has changed a lot. consists of buildings of different times: the hall church, transformed into its modern form from the northern nave of the old three-aisled basilica, the entrance gate and the defensive gate tower.

In the VIII century, during the invasion of the Arabs in Georgia, the temple was burned. In the XV-XVIII centuries, it was overhauled. At this time, the original appearance of the church has almost completely changed. Presumably at the same time, the gate was also built, and the second floor of the gate should have been built later, in the 16th-18th centuries. The three walls and gates of the church are built from well-smoothed sandstone blocks, while the late southern wall of the church and the defensive tower are made of rubble, cobblestones and bricks. Currently operating convent named after St. Stephen. Several nuns conduct Christian activities here and prayers are offered every Sunday.

Anchiskhati Basilica (The city of Tbilisi)

Anchiskhati – Its current name the church got in the XVII century. When a large icon of Anchi Cathedral (South Georgia)was moved here. Icon of the Savior – one of the greatest shrines of Georgia. It is made in the technique of encaustic (painting with hot wax paint), which originated in Byzantium before the VI century. Icon of the Savoir of Anchi became widely known in the XII century, when the court goldsmiths of Queen Tamara Becka Opizari made for it silver frame with gold inserts.

In the XVII century, private owners handed it over to the Church of St. Mary in Tbilisi. Here, the icon of the Savoir was over 200 years. At the end of the XIX century, for security reasons it was placed in the church museum. On the western facade of the temple there is carved from stone medallion with a cross, which has been preserved from the earliest part of the structure. Tops and arches were rebuilt in the XVII-XIX centuries. Today Anchishati icon is located in the Museum of Arts of Georgia.

Ancient Armazi (Region of  Mtskheta-Mtianeti)

Ancient Armazi a part of historical Greater Mtskheta, it is a place where the ancient city of the same name and the original capital of the early Georgian kingdom of Kartli or Iberia was located. It particularly flourished in the early centuries of the Anno Domini and was destroyed by the Arab invasion in the 730s. The name of the city and its dominant acropolis, Armaz-Tskihke ( “citadel of Armazi”) , is usually taken to derive from Armazi, the chief deity of the pagan Iberian pantheon. The name first appears in the early medieval Georgian annals though it is clearly much older and reflected in the Classical name Armastica or Harmozica of Strabo, Pliny, Ptolemy and Dio Cassius. According to a collection of medieval Georgian chronicles, Armaztsikhe was founded, in the 3rd century BC, by the semi-legendary king Pharnavaz I of Iberia at the place hitherto known as Kartli. Minor excavations on the territory of Armazi carried out in 1890 revealed the plinth of adobe town walls, with stone steps, and cleared the two-room structure, where fragments of a woman’s torso of the 1st century AD were discovered.

From 1943 to 1948 large-scale excavation was undertaken and resumed in 1985 and continuing. These have shown that the adobe town walls and towers, built upon a plinth of hewn stone in the first half of the 1st century AD, surrounded the hill top and the side sloping down towards the river, an area of 30 ha. The land within the walls was terraced and various buildings were sited on the terraces. The three major cultural layers have been identified: the earliest dates back to the 4th-3rd century BC (Armazi I), the middle one is from the 3rd-1st century BC (Armazi II), and the relatively newer structure belongs to the 1st-6th century AD (Armazi III). Armazi I is constructed of massive stone blocks forming an impregnable base but were finished off by less durable mud brick. It also contains a great hall of six columns with a tiled roof. Armazi II is noted for a temple with an apse. Armazi III is the richest layer constructed of elegantly cut stone blocks, joined together with lime mortar and metal clamps. Among the surviving structures are the royal palace, several richly decorated tombs, a bathhouse and a small stone mausoleum. The area is now a state-protected field museum administered as a part of the National Archaeology Museum-Reserve of Greater Mtskheta.