Narikala Castle

Narikala Castle lies in the center of the city of Tbilisi, between the regions of Mtskheta-Mtianeti and Kvemo Kartli in Georgia.

The first castle at this site may have been built in the mid-4th century during the reign of Aspacures II of Iberia. The castle was first known as Kala, later it became known as Shuri. One of its towers was called Narikala, which eventually became the denomination for the entire castle.

From around 575 until 627 Tbilisi was in the hands of Sassanid Persia. At that time there was certainly already a castle at this site. In 736 Tbilisi was taken by the Arabs. They established the Emirate of Tbilisi and ruled here until the end of the 11th century. They, of course, must have rebuilt and strengthened the castle according to their needs.

David IV of Georgia significantly expanded the castle in the early 12th century.

During the following centuries Narikala Castle was used by the rulers of that time as a sophisticated fortified complex. Before the 13th century it had a king's palace, a church and other building for economic and domestic use within its walls. As time passed and the castle lost its importance after being destroyed by wars these buildings disappeared. In the 17th century the castle was rebuilt for a last time by Rostom of Kartli. Most of what we see today dates back to the 16th and 17th century.

In 1801, when Georgia was annexed by the Russian Empire, Narikala Castle finally lost its strategic importance for the last time and was garrisoned with Russian soldiers. Buildings inside the castle were used for the storage of weapons and gunpowder. An earthquake severely damaged the castle in 1827 and parts of it were demolished. In 1847 the gunpowder storage exploded and levelled all the buildings inside the castle walls, including the 13th century St. Nicholas Church. The castle remained a ruin ever since.

The St. Nicholas Church was rebuilt in the 1990's.

At present Narikala Castle can freely be visited during opening hours. A once great castle but besides large restored portions of its outer walls, not much has remained to this this day. It does however offer great views over the nice city. You can go there by walking the streets up the hill or take the aerial tramway from Rike Park. It is quite a touristic spot.

Below the castle, on the slope of the Tsavkisistskhali valley, are two towers which I presume were an integral part of the defense of the city of Tbilisi, together with the castle.


Gallery

Narikala Castle

Narikala Castle lies in the center of the city of Tbilisi, between the regions of Mtskheta-Mtianeti and Kvemo Kartli in Georgia.

The first castle at this site may have been built in the mid-4th century during the reign of Aspacures II of Iberia. The castle was first known as Kala, later it became known as Shuri. One of its towers was called Narikala, which eventually became the denomination for the entire castle.

From around 575 until 627 Tbilisi was in the hands of Sassanid Persia. At that time there was certainly already a castle at this site. In 736 Tbilisi was taken by the Arabs. They established the Emirate of Tbilisi and ruled here until the end of the 11th century. They, of course, must have rebuilt and strengthened the castle according to their needs.

David IV of Georgia significantly expanded the castle in the early 12th century.

During the following centuries Narikala Castle was used by the rulers of that time as a sophisticated fortified complex. Before the 13th century it had a king's palace, a church and other building for economic and domestic use within its walls. As time passed and the castle lost its importance after being destroyed by wars these buildings disappeared. In the 17th century the castle was rebuilt for a last time by Rostom of Kartli. Most of what we see today dates back to the 16th and 17th century.

In 1801, when Georgia was annexed by the Russian Empire, Narikala Castle finally lost its strategic importance for the last time and was garrisoned with Russian soldiers. Buildings inside the castle were used for the storage of weapons and gunpowder. An earthquake severely damaged the castle in 1827 and parts of it were demolished. In 1847 the gunpowder storage exploded and levelled all the buildings inside the castle walls, including the 13th century St. Nicholas Church. The castle remained a ruin ever since.

The St. Nicholas Church was rebuilt in the 1990's.

At present Narikala Castle can freely be visited during opening hours. A once great castle but besides large restored portions of its outer walls, not much has remained to this this day. It does however offer great views over the nice city. You can go there by walking the streets up the hill or take the aerial tramway from Rike Park. It is quite a touristic spot.

Below the castle, on the slope of the Tsavkisistskhali valley, are two towers which I presume were an integral part of the defense of the city of Tbilisi, together with the castle.


Gallery