Ujarma Castle

Ujarma Castle lies in the mountains north of the village of the same name, in the Sagarajo municipality in the Kakheti region in Georgia.

Ujarma Castle was actually the fortress of a fortified city. It is situated on a ridge and the city stretched out on its northern side, on the steep slope descending down to the Iori River.

It is said to have been built by Aspacures I of Iberia in the 3rd century. Probably it would have replaced an even earlier, maybe even Urartian fortification. During the 4th century it was the political center of Kakheti. In the 2nd half of the 5th century the city fortress was strengthened under Vakhtang I of Iberia. In 502, Vakhtang died here after having been mortally wounded fighting off a Persian invasion.

In 914, Ujarma Castle was destroyed after a long siege by Arabs. George III of Georgia had it rebuilt in the 12th century, after which he used it as a royal treasury. In the following centuries it lost its strategic importance, due to Mongol invasions in the 13th century and later the fragmentation of Georgia into smaller kingdoms and principalities. And although it was not mentioned in historical sources anymore, archaeological excavations showed signs of building activity until the 18th century. By then it was probably not more than a village.

Before 2010 it was a forgotten ruin but then the new Tbilisi-Telavi road was built and it became a minor tourist destination. Inside its walls are remains of water reservoirs, a palace and a restored church.

At present Ujarma Castle is accessible during opening hours for a small fee. A very nice castle ruin, which was especially interesting because of the archaeological excavations that were taking place when I visited. Sadly enough, I didn't visit the ruins of the lower city.


Gallery

Ujarma Castle

Ujarma Castle lies in the mountains north of the village of the same name, in the Sagarajo municipality in the Kakheti region in Georgia.

Ujarma Castle was actually the fortress of a fortified city. It is situated on a ridge and the city stretched out on its northern side, on the steep slope descending down to the Iori River.

It is said to have been built by Aspacures I of Iberia in the 3rd century. Probably it would have replaced an even earlier, maybe even Urartian fortification. During the 4th century it was the political center of Kakheti. In the 2nd half of the 5th century the city fortress was strengthened under Vakhtang I of Iberia. In 502, Vakhtang died here after having been mortally wounded fighting off a Persian invasion.

In 914, Ujarma Castle was destroyed after a long siege by Arabs. George III of Georgia had it rebuilt in the 12th century, after which he used it as a royal treasury. In the following centuries it lost its strategic importance, due to Mongol invasions in the 13th century and later the fragmentation of Georgia into smaller kingdoms and principalities. And although it was not mentioned in historical sources anymore, archaeological excavations showed signs of building activity until the 18th century. By then it was probably not more than a village.

Before 2010 it was a forgotten ruin but then the new Tbilisi-Telavi road was built and it became a minor tourist destination. Inside its walls are remains of water reservoirs, a palace and a restored church.

At present Ujarma Castle is accessible during opening hours for a small fee. A very nice castle ruin, which was especially interesting because of the archaeological excavations that were taking place when I visited. Sadly enough, I didn't visit the ruins of the lower city.


Gallery