Fortress of Otskhe (Region of samtskhe-Javakheti)
Otskhe (Odzrkhe) Fortress (Georg. ოცხეს (ოძრხეს) ციხე) in Abastumani (Georg. აბასთუმანი), also referred Fortress of Queen Tamara (Georg. თამარის ციხე აბასთუმანში), located on the right bank of the Otskhe River (Georg.ოცხე), on the watershed ridge of rivers Otskhe and Kurtskhana (Georg. კურცხანა), was part of the defense system of the ancient settlement Odzrkhe or Odzrakhe (Georg. ოძრხე, ოძრახე). On the territory of today’s Abastumni, since ancient times there was a fortress city of Odzrkhe (Otskhe), which is mentioned in Urartian inscriptions, in the VIII century BC. When Odzrkhe (Otskhe) became empty, the name was also lost and the new settlers who came in the XIX century named it after the nearby village – Abastumani.
In addition to the castle of Queen Tamara, on the same slope of the ridge, the remains of the second ancient castle, the tunnel leading to the river bank, and the ruins of the old monastery complex have been preserved. The fortress was not an ordinary defensive structure, but by all indications a feudal residence, with its own church and buildings of various types and purposes. This purpose of the fortress is also indicated by the large-scale hall, which occupies the western part of the courtyard and is directly adjacent to the locking tower of the castle. The height of the walls of the fortress in some places reaches 15 meters. Powerful walls of the fence with two multi-storey towers erected on a narrow rocky ridge enclose an elongated courtyard. The stone steps preserved to the left of the western wall were used to connect with the western tower. The building has been preserved in the form of ruins, but the main features of its architectural appearance can be restored.