Esbeki fortress

Esbeki Fortress (Region of Tao)

Esbeki Fortress (Georg. ესბეკის(ესბექის) ციხე, Tur. Esbek Kalesi) is located in the historical region of Georgia – Tao (Georg. ტაო), not far from the historical village of Esbeki, now Darija (Tur.Darica), on the left bank of the river Oltisi (Georg. ოლთისი). The fortress was built on a steep rock overlooking the surrounding area, to the east of the Esbeki complex (Georg. ესბეკის კომპლექსი). Judging by the design features of the fortress, and due to its similarity with the castles of the royal dynasty of Bagrationi (Georg. ბაგრატიონი), which is found in this region, we can say that it was built in the 9th century. The foundation and individual fragments of the protective wall have survived to this day, the height of which in some places reaches 3-4 meters. The entrance gate is located in the southern part of the wall. In the eastern part of the castle there is a square bastion, and to the east of the entrance, a rectangular space attached to the walls, fenced on three sides.

From an architectural point of view, the Esbeki complex is one of the interesting examples of architectural buildings of the early period of Tao-Klarjeti (Georg. ტაო-კლარჯეთი). The fortress and the complex adjacent to it from the south occupied a strategically important position. Spread over a large paved area, the complex consists of two chronological layers. It consists of: a three-nave basilica, which occupies one of the prominent places among churches of this type due to a number of features of the general architectural and compositional solution, two hall churches built of stone and brick and the remains of a two-tiered chapel-tomb, with jagged window openings in the walls . A few meters from the above-mentioned buildings there is another small stone hall church. Other buildings of the Esbek complex include fortress walls of different periods in the north and west, a watchtower and a single-nave chapel.


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