Kaji fortress

Fortress of Kaji (Region of Erusheti)

Fortress of Kaji (Georg. ქაჯის ციხე, Tur. Şeytan Kalesi) is located in the historical region of Georgia – Erusheti (Georg. ერუშეთი), on a rocky hill in a remote canyon of the Mtkvari River (Georg. მტკვარი), north of the modern village of Yildirimtepe (Turk. Yıldırımtepe), in the Turkish province Ardahan (Georg. არტაანი). It is possible to access this hill, which breaks off on three sides, only from one side. The castle, towering 1910 meters above sea level, has survived to this day in a very strong condition. Large sections of the wall and the entrance gate are still standing. The dimensions of the Fortress, which has an asymmetrical plan, are 161 × 93 m. Of the existing 3 towers, one survived. Inside the walls, the remains of the reservoir, the chapel and the church of St. Stephen the First Martyr have been preserved.

The current Fortress dates back to the 13th century when Georgian kings ruled the area. It probably served as a border fortress. It is believed that the castle is called the –“Devil’s Castle” due to its complex location and difficulty in capturing. It is assumed that it is the Kaji Fortress that is the prototype of the impregnable fortress – “Kajeti” (Georg. ქაჯეთი), in Shota Rustaveli’s poem – “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin” (Georg. ვეფხისტყაოსანი). Throughout its history, Kaji Fortress has been in the territory ruled by the Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Georgians and Ottomans. All these rulers probably used the castle and adapted it to their wishes. The Fortress suffered from illegal treasure hunting due to the legend that somewhere inside the castle the daughter of a Georgian king was buried along with gold and other treasures.


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