Khertvisi Castle

Khertvisi Castle lies next to the village of the same name, in the Aspindza municipality in the Samtskhe–Javakheti region in Georgia.

Khertvisi Castle is one of the oldest fortifications in Georgia. Exactly when it was founded is unknown. Legend has it that Alexander the Great passed through here during his Eastern campaign and that, at that time, there was a city fortress at this site.

The oldest parts of the present castle date back to the 10th century, the most recent to the 19th century. It was repeatedly rebuilt during its existence. In the 10th and 11th century it was the center of the Meskheti area and in the 12th century it became a town. In the 13th century it was destroyed by the Mongols.

In 1356 the keep and the outer wall were built by Zakaria Kamkamishvili, who was a Royal Treasurer.

In the 16th century the castle belonged to the feudal Hertvisari family, until 1578 when it was captured by the invading Ottomans.

In 1771, during the Russo-Turkish War of 1768-1774, the Georgian king Erekle II shortly retook the castle but had to give it up due to treason. After that the Ottomans kept it until the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829, when it was annexed to the Russian empire. It was then garrisoned by Russian and Georgian troops. From then on it gradually lost its strategic importance.

The castle was built on a rocky ridge at the confluence of 2 rivers; the Paravani and the Kura (called the Mtkvari in Georgia). These rivers flow through deep canyons and thus the castle guarded an important road from the Byzantine Empire to the Caucasus. It consists of an elongated castle and a restored outer wall. Inside the castle are a five-sided watchtower, a square keep, the 10th century St. George Church and the remains of a tunnel leading from the castle down to the river below.

At present Khertvisi Castle is freely accessible during office hours. A great castle, recommended!


Gallery

Khertvisi Castle

Khertvisi Castle lies next to the village of the same name, in the Aspindza municipality in the Samtskhe–Javakheti region in Georgia.

Khertvisi Castle is one of the oldest fortifications in Georgia. Exactly when it was founded is unknown. Legend has it that Alexander the Great passed through here during his Eastern campaign and that, at that time, there was a city fortress at this site.

The oldest parts of the present castle date back to the 10th century, the most recent to the 19th century. It was repeatedly rebuilt during its existence. In the 10th and 11th century it was the center of the Meskheti area and in the 12th century it became a town. In the 13th century it was destroyed by the Mongols.

In 1356 the keep and the outer wall were built by Zakaria Kamkamishvili, who was a Royal Treasurer.

In the 16th century the castle belonged to the feudal Hertvisari family, until 1578 when it was captured by the invading Ottomans.

In 1771, during the Russo-Turkish War of 1768-1774, the Georgian king Erekle II shortly retook the castle but had to give it up due to treason. After that the Ottomans kept it until the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829, when it was annexed to the Russian empire. It was then garrisoned by Russian and Georgian troops. From then on it gradually lost its strategic importance.

The castle was built on a rocky ridge at the confluence of 2 rivers; the Paravani and the Kura (called the Mtkvari in Georgia). These rivers flow through deep canyons and thus the castle guarded an important road from the Byzantine Empire to the Caucasus. It consists of an elongated castle and a restored outer wall. Inside the castle are a five-sided watchtower, a square keep, the 10th century St. George Church and the remains of a tunnel leading from the castle down to the river below.

At present Khertvisi Castle is freely accessible during office hours. A great castle, recommended!


Gallery