Dariali Castle

Dariali Castle lies opposite to the settlement of the same name, in the Kazbegi municipality in the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region in Georgia.

Although little remains of it today, Dariali Castle was a very important fortress for a very long time. It is situated on a rock directly above the left bank of the Terek River, next to a narrow gorge, known as the Darial Gorge, leading into Russia. The road through this gorge, going from Vladikavkaz in North Ossetia to Tbilisi in Georgia and now known as the Georgian Military Road, follows the ancient trade route between the North Caucasus and the south.

Dariali Castle was founded in the first half of the 2nd century BC. It guarded the gorge and it's name is thought to mean something like Door of Alan (Alan is the name of the nation that was the ancestor of the Ossetian people).

When the Romans arrived in Georgia, in the 1st century BC, the castle was controlled by the Kingdom of Iberia. It was a strong castle at a strategic site and was mentioned by the Greco-Roman geogaphers Strabo and Ptolemy of that time. It was then also known as the "Iberian Gates" or the "Caucasian Gates".

In the mid-3rd century AD Dariali Castle fell into the hands of the Sasssanid Empire. Vakhtang I of Iberia restored and strengthened it in the 5th century. In the 7th century control over the castle first went to the Western Turkic Khaganate and later that century to the Rashidun Caliphate.

In the 11th century the Kingdom of Georgia emerged and controlled the castle until the 13th century. It was probably rebuilt during that time by either David IV of Georgia or Queen Tamar as the castle is sometimes also known as David's or Tamar's Castle. After the Mongols had invaded in the 13th century the castle started to lose its political and strategic importance. After that it probably was abandoned and fell to ruin.

The gorge remained a strategic point in later centuries. So much so that in the beginning of the 19th century the Russians built a new fort; Dzharakhov Fort, beneath the ruins of the castle. That fort has now disappeared and nowadays the gorge forms the border between Georgia and Russia. The ruined castle now overlooks the Georgian border checkpoint.

At present Dariali Castle is inaccessible. But I doubt there is more to see than just the outer wall. Not an interesting ruin but nice to visit because of its proximity to the Russian border.


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Dariali Castle

Dariali Castle lies opposite to the settlement of the same name, in the Kazbegi municipality in the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region in Georgia.

Although little remains of it today, Dariali Castle was a very important fortress for a very long time. It is situated on a rock directly above the left bank of the Terek River, next to a narrow gorge, known as the Darial Gorge, leading into Russia. The road through this gorge, going from Vladikavkaz in North Ossetia to Tbilisi in Georgia and now known as the Georgian Military Road, follows the ancient trade route between the North Caucasus and the south.

Dariali Castle was founded in the first half of the 2nd century BC. It guarded the gorge and it's name is thought to mean something like Door of Alan (Alan is the name of the nation that was the ancestor of the Ossetian people).

When the Romans arrived in Georgia, in the 1st century BC, the castle was controlled by the Kingdom of Iberia. It was a strong castle at a strategic site and was mentioned by the Greco-Roman geogaphers Strabo and Ptolemy of that time. It was then also known as the "Iberian Gates" or the "Caucasian Gates".

In the mid-3rd century AD Dariali Castle fell into the hands of the Sasssanid Empire. Vakhtang I of Iberia restored and strengthened it in the 5th century. In the 7th century control over the castle first went to the Western Turkic Khaganate and later that century to the Rashidun Caliphate.

In the 11th century the Kingdom of Georgia emerged and controlled the castle until the 13th century. It was probably rebuilt during that time by either David IV of Georgia or Queen Tamar as the castle is sometimes also known as David's or Tamar's Castle. After the Mongols had invaded in the 13th century the castle started to lose its political and strategic importance. After that it probably was abandoned and fell to ruin.

The gorge remained a strategic point in later centuries. So much so that in the beginning of the 19th century the Russians built a new fort; Dzharakhov Fort, beneath the ruins of the castle. That fort has now disappeared and nowadays the gorge forms the border between Georgia and Russia. The ruined castle now overlooks the Georgian border checkpoint.

At present Dariali Castle is inaccessible. But I doubt there is more to see than just the outer wall. Not an interesting ruin but nice to visit because of its proximity to the Russian border.


Gallery