Samshvilde Castle

Samshvilde Castle lies south of the village of the same name, in the Tetritsqaro municipality in the Kvemo Kartli region in Georgia.

Samshvilde Castle is actually part of the lost ancient city of Samshvilde. The city-site occupies a nearly triangular area on a promontory between the 2 canyons of the Khrami–Chivchavi confluence and is divided into 3 main parts. The royal city is on the east and the city proper lies on the west, with the castle in between them.

It is said the city was founded by Kartlos, the mythic ethnarch of the Georgians of Kartli and conquered by Alexander the Great during his alleged campaign in the Georgian lands. In the 3rd century BC, the city became the center of a duchy.

Around 890, Samshvilde was occupied by Smbat I of Armenia. He entrusted it to Vasak and Ashot Gntuni but as they proved unruly his successor Ashot II of Armenia attacked and enforced their allegiance. Vasak however still continued to defy Ashot and changed his allegiance to the Georgian Gurgen II of Tao, prompting Ashot to besiege Samshvilde. As Gurgen's troops entered the city, fighting broke out between his troops and those of Vasak. Eventually Vasak's troops let Ashot's troops enter the city after which Gurgen's troops were killed and the city was again submitted to the Armenian king.

At the end of the 10th century the city passed to the Armenian Kingdom of Tashir-Dzoraget and their king David I Anhoghin made it his residence. In 1001 the city was ravaged by Gagik I of Armenia, after David had revolted. In 1064 Samshvilde went to the Georgians as ransom for Kiurike II of Lori. Around 1074 it was conquered by the Seljuks under Malik-Shah I. In 1110 it was besieged and taken back for the Georgians by Bishop George of Chqondidi. King David IV of Georgia then granted it to the Orbeli family in 1123. King George III of Georgia had to besiege the city again in 1178 when the Orbelis revolted.

In 1236 Samshvilde was attacked by invading Mongols on their way to Tbilisi.

In 1440 the city was sacked by the Qara Qoyunlu under Jahan Shah for the refusal of Alexander I of Georgia to submit to his suzerainty. Jahan Shah had captured the city through deceit and massacred its population, building a minaret of 1,664 severed human heads at the gate of the city... The city never fully recovered and became a peripheral fortress.

At the end of the 15th century it went from the Kingdom of Georgia to the Kingdom of Kartli. In 1578, Samshvilde was occupied by the Ottoman army under Lala Mustafa Pasha but recovered by Simon I of Kartli in 1583.

In 1747 Samshvilde Castle was fortified again by Abdullah Beg of Kartli to challenge his relative Teimuraz II of Kakheti. Erekle II, Teimuraz's son, then stormed the castle in 1749. Later that century it was in ruins.

At present Samshvilde Castle is freely accessible. This is a great site; there are several small ruins in the city proper and together with the castle and the ruins in the royal part of the city and, of course, the views this makes for a great visit. However, you will need a serious 4WD car or make a hike for about an hour to reach it.


Gallery

Samshvilde Castle

Samshvilde Castle lies south of the village of the same name, in the Tetritsqaro municipality in the Kvemo Kartli region in Georgia.

Samshvilde Castle is actually part of the lost ancient city of Samshvilde. The city-site occupies a nearly triangular area on a promontory between the 2 canyons of the Khrami–Chivchavi confluence and is divided into 3 main parts. The royal city is on the east and the city proper lies on the west, with the castle in between them.

It is said the city was founded by Kartlos, the mythic ethnarch of the Georgians of Kartli and conquered by Alexander the Great during his alleged campaign in the Georgian lands. In the 3rd century BC, the city became the center of a duchy.

Around 890, Samshvilde was occupied by Smbat I of Armenia. He entrusted it to Vasak and Ashot Gntuni but as they proved unruly his successor Ashot II of Armenia attacked and enforced their allegiance. Vasak however still continued to defy Ashot and changed his allegiance to the Georgian Gurgen II of Tao, prompting Ashot to besiege Samshvilde. As Gurgen's troops entered the city, fighting broke out between his troops and those of Vasak. Eventually Vasak's troops let Ashot's troops enter the city after which Gurgen's troops were killed and the city was again submitted to the Armenian king.

At the end of the 10th century the city passed to the Armenian Kingdom of Tashir-Dzoraget and their king David I Anhoghin made it his residence. In 1001 the city was ravaged by Gagik I of Armenia, after David had revolted. In 1064 Samshvilde went to the Georgians as ransom for Kiurike II of Lori. Around 1074 it was conquered by the Seljuks under Malik-Shah I. In 1110 it was besieged and taken back for the Georgians by Bishop George of Chqondidi. King David IV of Georgia then granted it to the Orbeli family in 1123. King George III of Georgia had to besiege the city again in 1178 when the Orbelis revolted.

In 1236 Samshvilde was attacked by invading Mongols on their way to Tbilisi.

In 1440 the city was sacked by the Qara Qoyunlu under Jahan Shah for the refusal of Alexander I of Georgia to submit to his suzerainty. Jahan Shah had captured the city through deceit and massacred its population, building a minaret of 1,664 severed human heads at the gate of the city... The city never fully recovered and became a peripheral fortress.

At the end of the 15th century it went from the Kingdom of Georgia to the Kingdom of Kartli. In 1578, Samshvilde was occupied by the Ottoman army under Lala Mustafa Pasha but recovered by Simon I of Kartli in 1583.

In 1747 Samshvilde Castle was fortified again by Abdullah Beg of Kartli to challenge his relative Teimuraz II of Kakheti. Erekle II, Teimuraz's son, then stormed the castle in 1749. Later that century it was in ruins.

At present Samshvilde Castle is freely accessible. This is a great site; there are several small ruins in the city proper and together with the castle and the ruins in the royal part of the city and, of course, the views this makes for a great visit. However, you will need a serious 4WD car or make a hike for about an hour to reach it.


Gallery