Monastery of  Ancha (Region of Klarjeti)

Monastery of Ancha (Georg. ანჩის მონასტერი, Tur. Ança Manastırı) – georgian Orthodox monastery in the historical region of Georgia – Klarjeti (Georg. კლარჯეთი). It is located in the historical village of Ancha (Georg.  ანჩა), now Intsili (Tur. İncilli), on the territory of modern Turkey. Only its ruins have survived to this day. The founding of the Ancha Monastery, the oldest episcopal cathedral and an important cultural and educational center of the Klarjeti region, dates back to the 6th-7th centuries. For centuries, the monastery played an important role in the historical events of southern Georgia. His strength and authority contributed to the strengthening of the Christian monastic centers of the historical region as a whole. From the first half of the 6th-11th century, the Ancha Monastery became the center of the Diocese of Ancha, one of the five Georgian dioceses in the Klarjeti region. Bishop Ancha enjoyed great influence and honor at the court of the kings of Georgia.

The main temple of the monastery, a well-known arched structure, was a cross-domed building. The church was built of reddish sandstone with brownish and green stone inlays. The monastery complex included the residence of the bishop and a number of outbuildings. The miraculous image of the Savior, transferred to Georgia in 1664, was kept precisely in the Ancha monastery, which is still called Anchiskhati (Georg. ანჩისხატი) today. For centuries, Ancha Monastery was not only a religious but also an administrative center. In the 11th century, the temple, damaged during the war between Byzantium and Georgia, was thoroughly restored. In the XVII century, after the conquest of Tao-Klarjeti by the Turks, the Ancha monastery was abandoned and deliberately destroyed. The processed stones of the destroyed monastery were used by the Turks for the construction of a mosque and houses.

Fortress of Andzavi  (Region of Tao)

Fortress of Andzavi (Georg.  ანძავის (ანზავის) ციხე, Tur. Anzavi (kayaalti) kalesi) – the medieval fortress is located in the historical region of Georgia – Tao (Georg.  ტაო), not far from the historical village of Andzavi (Georg.  ანძავი), now Kayalti ( Tur.  Kayaalti). The fortified complex was built at the confluence of the Kineposi (Georg.  კინეპოსი) and Anzavi rivers, on a high rock, the upper part of which is relatively flat, and includes a castle and a church. The castle is a quadrangular building. The fortress walls of the castle follow the contour of the rock with a curved line on which it is located. Some parts of the walls have survived relatively intact to this day.

Access to the territory of the complex was carried out through a tower attached below, which is now destroyed. The church standing on the territory of the complex, a building with an additional nave and built of large stones, was well painted at one time. Only minor fragments of the frescoes remain today. According to the surviving parts, it was established that the church was of the basilic type and probably should have been built in the XIV-XV centuries. The roof covering collapsed, while the northern part and the vault covering remained relatively intact. Window openings have been preserved on the western and eastern walls of the church. The shape of the altar is pointed. The inner territory of the castle was excavated by Turkish gold diggers.

Walled City of Artanuji (Region of  Klarjeti)

The city-fortress of Artanuji (Georg. არტანუჯის ციხექალაქი, Tur. Ardanuç) is located in the historical region of Georgia – Klarjeti (Georg. კლარჯეთი). The ancient city, as a settlement, already existed in the pre-Christian era and played an important role in the political life of the historical region of Klarjeti. Artanuji was located on a large trade route and connected Transcaucasia with Byzantium and with the countries of the Black Sea coast. The fortress was built on the left bank of the Artanujiskali River (Georg. არტანუჯისწყალი), in the second half of the 5th century, by order of the Georgian king Vakhtang Gorgasali (Georg.  ვახტანგ გორგასალი). Below the castle, on the territory of one of the districts of the modern Turkish city – Ardanuç, the remains of an ancient Georgian city are still preserved, where you can find the ruins of churches, old trading shops and fragments of the lower protective fence.

The fortress of Artanuji  is built on a rock with almost vertical slopes. It occupies the entire upper part of the rock, which has an elongated shape from south to north. The walls of the castle follow the contours of the area and therefore have a length of about 220 meters. Today, a significant part of the fortress walls, the remains of the castle church and the palace have been preserved. The sheer cliff gave such a reliable protection that they did not consider it necessary to include towers in the walls. Natural caves, which were connected to the castle by tunnels, played an important role in the defensive system of the castle. There was a secret tunnel on the territory of the castle, which descended to the ArtanujisTskali River and during a long siege provided water supply to the castle.

Fortress of Akhiza (Region of Klarjeti)

Fortress of Akhiza  (Georg. ახიზის ციხე, Tur. Akhiza (Ferhatlı) Kalesi) – medieval castle built in the historical region of Georgia – Klarjeti (Georg.  კლარჯეთი), today is within the borders of Turkey.  Located in the historical Georgian village –  Dzveli (old) Akhiza (Georg.  ძველი ახიზა), in the province of Artvin. The Fortress  is also called the castle of Ferhatli, after the name of the nearest village of Ferhatli (Tur. Ferhatlı). When exactly the fortress was erected on the rocky bank of the ArtanujisTskali River (Georg. არტანუჯისწყალი) is unknown. In the 5th century, simultaneously with the construction of the nearby Artanuji castle (Georg.  არტანუჯის ციხე), it was restored by the Georgian king – Vakhtang Gorgasali (Georg.  ვახტანგ გორგასალი).

The current remains of the castle probably belong to a later period. the fortification, built of rubble stone, lies in ruins today, but some fragments still stand. Nothing remains on the top of the castle rock, except for some parts of the outer walls. The ruins of the castle are in the public domain, but access to them is not easy and will require rock climbing. Once, by order of Vakhtang Gorgasali, the Klarjeti  ruler Artavazi (Georg.  ართავაზი), in addition to the restoration of the Akhiza castle, built a Monastery there. Along with other dioceses, Vakhtang Gorgasali created the Klarjeti  diocese with its center in Akhiza. After the Arab conquests of the 7th – 8th centuries, the Monastery of Akhiza  must have ceased to exist as an episcopal see. The castle and the cathedral church were heavily damaged by Turkish treasure hunters.

Monastery of  Balvana  (Region of Shavsheti)

Monastery of  Balvana (Georg. ბალვანას მონასტერი, Tur. Balvana (sulesi) manastiri) is located in the historical area of Georgia – Shavheti (Georg. შავშეთი), east of the historical village of Balvana (Georg.  ბალვანა), modern kirazli (Tur. Kirazlı), on the right bank the Oshoretistskali River (Georg. ოშორეთისწყალი). You can get to the remains of the monastery, which is almost completely destroyed, along a narrow path. One part of the buildings of the once powerful monastery complex is located at the foot of the cliff, and the other part is built right on the rock. The complex includes a church with an annex on the north side of the church, a tomb for monarchs, a wine cellar with a small press and jugs. Built on a rock, a large multi-storey building probably served as a refectory for the monks, although it may have had another purpose at the same time.

The main temple is a single-nave building and is currently in a dilapidated state. The facades of the temple are decorated with a circular ornament, which should indicate the era of the construction of the complex, in particular, the second half of the X century. In the upper part of the rock, traces of stairs carved into the rock are visible. Probably, part of the buildings of the complex should be located higher. According to the stories of local residents, in the upper, inaccessible part of the rock, there are caves located on two tiers, which were also part of the monastery. The old name of the monastery is unknown. It is believed that the monastery, which is called the Balvana monastery today, can be a Tba monastery (Georg. ტბა) mentioned in the manuscript under the title «The Life of Grigol Khanzteli» (Georg. «გრიგოლ ხანძთელის ცხოვრება»)

Bana Monastery Complex (Region of Tao)

The monastery complex of Bana (Georg. ბანას სამონასტრო კომპლექსი, Tur. Penek Kilissi)– one of the church and state centers of Georgia, is located in the territory of the historical region of  Georgia- Tao (Georg. ტაო), in the Chorochi Valley (Georg. ჭოროხი), on the right bank Bani River (Georg. ბანი). Currently located within the borders of Turkey under the name “Fanak” (Tur. Penek). The main temple of the monastery – Cathedral of Bana, dedicated to the Life-Giving Cross, according to historical sources, was built in the IX century. However, upon stylistic analysis, scientists come to the conclusion that the temple could not be later than the VII  century, because it has the form of a tetraconch, which is no longer found after the VII century. Bana cathedral is built on a round hill and is also perceived as round, although in fact it was multifaceted. The three-storey temple consisted of a church and a round gallery. The architectural details and decoration of the temple are distinguished by technical skill and high artistry.

In addition to the main temple, the monastery complex included relatively small chapels and churches, a cave church carved into the rock and cells, and other buildings for various purposes. One of the small churches of the monastery, which is a domed tetraconch and similar to the main temple, has completely disappeared. Southeast of the Bana Cathedral, there is a cave church of the monastery complex and cells in which ascetic monks retired. A prominent monument of Georgian architecture, it was used as a royal residence by the Georgian Bagrationi dynasty until the period of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans, who conquered the region in the XVI century, destroyed the monastery and turned the main temple into a fortress. After the colonization of the Tao region by the Turks, it became quite difficult to maintain Christianity in the Chorokhi Valley and the surrounding areas. The monastery complex of Bana, as a cultural and political center has lost its former importance.

Fortress of Bechistsikhe (Region of Kola)

Fortress of Bechistsikhe (Kalajukhi)(Georg. ბეჭის ციხე (კალაჯუხის ციხე)) is located in the historical region of Georgia – Kola (Georg. კოლა). The castle stands on the left bank of the River of Mtkvari (Georg. მტკვარი), on a rocky hill inaccessible from three sides. The walls are made of large stones, which are firmly fastened with lime mortar. In general, it is a massive structure and gives the impression of a well-fortified fortress. At the central entrance, high walls were built, fortified with one square and three round towers.

The structural layer of the walls of the fortress is a mixture of stones of different sizes. In the lower layers of the masonry there are processed large stones, the size of which relatively decreases in the upper part of the walls. In the corner of the fortress wall there is a two-story round tower with a separate entrance from the courtyard. No defensive structure similar to a castle was found in the region, and it is very likely that Bechistsikhe fortress was one of the most important fortifications in the area and served as a border fortress of the historical region of Georgia.

Church of Zemo Borghi (Berki) (Region of Erusheti)

The church of Zemo Borgi (Berki) (Georg. ზემო (ბერკის) ეკლესია, Tur. Börk Kilise) is located in the historical area of Georgia – Erusheti (Georg. ერუშეთი), east of the modern village of Nanak (Tur. Hanak), on the aligned surface of the plateau, located in the upper part of the historical village – Zemo Borghi (Georg. ზემო ბორგი). The church is a single-nave, hall-type building. On the south side of the church, a building of unknown purpose was built, from which only a fragment of the eastern wall survived. The exact date of its construction is unknown. Judging by the style of construction, it must have been built in the 10th century.

The church of Zemo Borgi (Berki) has survived to this day in relatively good condition. All four walls and the remains of the arched covering have been preserved. The height of the surviving walls reaches 7 meters. In the outer layers of the walls, well-cut stones of medium size were used for construction. The same stones are used in the interior and in the upper part of the apse. The apse is separated from the hall, and a small window has been cut through in its central part. The roof of the church has long collapsed. The interior was probably well plastered. Traces of plaster are especially visible in the apse and in the southwestern part of the church. Church walls should be well painted. Unfortunately, traces of frescoes on fragments of plaster are completely erased. The entrance to the church was from two sides, from the north and west. A stone gate structure was added to the western doors.

Fortress of Boselta (Shatberdi) (Region of  Klarjeti)

Fortress of Bosleta (Shatberdi) (Georg. ბოსელთას (შატბერდის) ციხე, Tur. Boselta(Şatberdi) kalesi) – The  medieval Georgian castle built in the 9th century in the historical region of Georgia – Klarjeti (Georg.  კლარჯეთი), is one of the castles protecting Georgian monasteries in the pool of the Chorokhi River (Georg.  ჭოროხი). Located today within the borders of Turkey, the fortress is located in the historic village of Boselta (Georg. ბოსელთა), now Okumushlar (Tur. Okumuşlar). Located at an altitude of 1160 meters, the fortress completely towers over the  Monastery of Shatberdi (Georg. შატბერდი). Since its original name is unknown, the fortification is referred to as Boselta Castle or Bozelta, after the name of the nearest village. It is generally accepted that the castle was built with the support of the Klarjeti feudal lords – Kuropalati (Georg. კუროპალატი).

Fortress of Boselta is a rectangular building. The eastern and southern parts of the fortress underwent at least three periods of construction and restoration of the fortress walls, which have survived to this day in very good condition. The eastern part, built from very large blocks, probably belongs to the first phase of construction and must be dated to the end of the 8th century. Within the fortification walls, the remains of a single-nave chapel with a rectangular plan and additional space to the south have been preserved. Based on the work and research carried out, the existence of a unique building was revealed – a three-church basilica in the northeastern part of the Boselta castle. A three-church basilica is a rarity, and this style of church building was common in the 6th-7th centuries.

Chala Church (Region of  Erusheti)

Chala Church (Georg. ჭალის ეკლესია, Tur. Çala Kilisesi) – Georgian medieval temple in the historical region of Erusheti. Located in the village of Chala (Georg. ჭალა), modern Dogruyol (Tur.Doğruyol), to the east of Lake Childir (CHrdili) (Georg.  ჩრდილი), Kars Province, Turkey.

The surviving Georgian inscription says that the church was consecrated in the name of the Mother of God. The hall church stands out both in terms of the quality of construction and the interior design. Facades and internal walls are built from well-cut stones. Construction methods and stylistic features point to the 10th century as the period of church building. A minaret was built next to the Georgian church.