Rabati fortress (Region of Samtskhe-Javakheti)
Rabati fortress (Georg. რაბათის ციხე), the main sight of the Akhaltsikhe town, is standing on the small hill on the very shores of the Potskhovi river. Its name comes from Arabic meaning “fortified place”. It is located on the western suburbs and can be seen practically from anywhere in the city. This military building erected in the 13th century had witnessed a lot over the centuries. The fortress had been destroyed several times, was often in a siege, as a result of which had absorbed tracks of different cultures and religions.
The history of Rabati fortress goes back into the centuries and no one can definitely say when the first fortification appeared. It is known that in the 12th century Djakeli prince’s family had built here the first real fortress and it had turned into their residence for 300 years. What is interesting is that when they had erected the fortress, it had a name of “Akhaltsikhe” that is translated as “new fortress”. So the city that stretched at its walls has preserved this name up to our days.
Today Rabati fortress is a genuine cultural and historical complex on the square of seven hectares. The territory of the fortress is divided into a lower modern part and upper historical one. The lower part has shops, cafes, restaurant and a hotel. The upper part comprises of Akhmediye mosque (18th century), an Orthodox church (19th century), Djakeli palace, and the History Museum. The museum exposition presents an ancient history of Southern Georgia: stone items of the Neolithic Age, bronze axes found in these lands, items related to the primitive society and other artifacts. It is prohibited to take pictures in the museum.