Zaristsikhe(Zilkale) fortress

Fortress of Zartsikhe (Region of Lazeti(Chaneti, lazistan))

Fortress of Zartsikhe (Georg. ზარციხე, Tur. Zilkale) – Georgian medieval fortress on the territory of modern Turkey, in the province of Rize. The castle is located at an altitude of 750 meters above sea level, in the upper reaches of the Firtina River, where the valley narrows strongly between high ridges.

Little remains of the original structure of the castle. Raw stone was mainly used for construction. The central tower and the heavily damaged bell tower stand out from the old castle complex. During the restoration work, the layers and contours of the fortress walls and the remains of other buildings were greatly changed.

Unfortunately, the story of the Georgian origin of  Zartsikhe is often falsified in Turkish and Armenian sources. The castle was built in the 13th century and its construction is associated with the existence of the Trebizond Empire, created by Georgia and under its control. In 1204, Queen Tamara helped her nephews Alexeios and David Komnenos (their mother was Rusudani, daughter of the Georgian king George III and sister Tamara) in creating the Empire of Trebizond.


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