NARIKALA

Narikala

Narikala Fortess  (The city of  Tbilisi)

The greatness of this castle goes into the depths of centuries. It surprises with its high walls, and its impregnability of towers, situated on Mount Mtatsminda, offering a magnificent view of the whole Tbilisi. Founded in the IV century, it is the same age as the city, and perhaps exceeds its age. Initially called the citadel Shuris-Tsikhe that can be translated as “enviable stronghold”, but during Mongol intrusion it received a new name – the Naryn-Kala, which is translated to Mongolian as “Small Fortress”.  Already in the VII-XII centuries, along with the growth of the city, the strength also grew. The city walls went down to the river, and the rulers of the castle had full control of trade routes that run along the river Kura. Narikala was in fact inaccessible due to its surrounding mountains, but still the citadel was captured, ruined and rebuilt. For example, the present form of fortress belongs to the Arab architecture type of VII-XII centuries. Like any protective military facility near the citadel there were secret passages, as well as a special system of water supply.

But in 1827 the fortress could not resist the forces of nature – a major earthquake ruined much of the wall and towers Narikala. At the same time the temple of saint Nicholas, which was in the citadel, was destroyed. The relics of shrines were found only in 1966 during excavations, and a few years later a temple, constructed in the XIII century, was restored.  Today in Narikala there have been made a lot of restoration works to protect the ancient citadel not only from invaders, but from time. It is now fifteen hundred years old, Georgia has grown and the fortress still overlooks the town, keeping a history of the Georgian capital.