Gonio fortress

Gonio Fortress  (Region of Adjara)

Gonio Fortress (Georg. გონიოს ციხე)(previously called Apsaros or Apsaruntos) is the oldest fortress in Georgia. It is located in the southwestern part of the country in the Gonio village. In the 2nd century it was a well-fortified Roman city within Colchis. The town was also known for its theatre and hippodrome. It later came under Byzantine influence. The name “Gonio” is first attested in the 14th century.

Gonio history is closely connected to the myth of the Argonauts. According to the legend this is the site where king Ayet buried his son Apsaros, whose body was dismembered and thrown into the sea by Jason.The interested traveler can find out that the oldest archaeological layer excavated here belongs to XVIII-XVII cc. BC. Burials of V c BC have been found outside the southern wall in Gonio. The revival of urban life has been traced since the Hellenistic Age. A number of historians claim that Gonio fortress used to be the strategic, political, economic and cultural centre of the Eastern Roman frontier. A theatre and hippodrome functioned here in I-III cc. AD.

Today’s ruins of the fortress come from its reconstruction in the 16th century. The total length of the fortress walls is 900 meters. There were preserved here 5 m high walls and 18 towers that are 7 meters high. It used to have 22. 4 main towers were arranged in the corners of the fence. Earlier the fortress had 4 entrances but today only the western gate is in function. Gonio-Apsaros fortress is declared the museum-preserve. Nowadays it is a real paradise for the lovers of historical and cultural antiquities.