Georgia is a small country but filled with amazing places to visit, which still tell amazing stories from the past, due to their incredible degree of conservation. Akhaltsikhe is among those places that are worth visiting while in the country. Why is it worth visiting this town in the south of Georgia? There are many reasons to visit Akhaltsikhe, one of them being the fact that this city was founded back in the Middle Ages, evidence that date from that period still being visible in Akhaltsikhe. In fact, Akhaltsikhe means the “new fortress”, because the fortress of the city, still standing even today, was a very important landmark in the area over time.
The Rabati fortress as it is called, which means “fortified palace”, was completely restored out of the desire to keep the history of the area and of the city alive even in our modern times. Just like fortress should, Rabati is located on top of a hill, which allowed back in the days to notice if anyone or anything was approaching the city, today offering breathtaking views of the surrounding area. It is incredible to see that the fortress is still present in Akhaltsikhe, having in mind that it was destroyed several times in history, due to numerous sieges. It appears that Georgians didn’t want to let this landmark go, rebuilding and restoring it each time, redeeming it its former glory. It is not know exactly when the first fortified structure appeared in the area. The first evidence about the Rabati fortress in history appears in the 12th century, when Prince Djakeli and his family built the first known fortress in the area and made it their permanent residence for the coming 300 years.
But this fortress is not the only reason to visit Akhaltsikhe. There is another objective, just as spectacular if not even more amazing, 18 kilometers away from the city, near the border with Turkey. We are talking about Vardzia, the famous city carved in rock. From the distance, Vardzia appears like a drilled area, although as you get closer to this intricate city, you can notice that the wholes you saw from a distance are doors and windows. Vardzia is a city with full rights, having everything needed for a comfortable life. Baths, streets, libraries, temples, monasteries, they are all available besides the traditional rooms in which people once lived. The ancestors of Georgians found shelter and safety in the rocks of the surrounding hills and mountains, so they carved real masterpieces that resisted the test of time.
So, if you plan coming to Georgia, Akhaltsikhe should be on your list of places to visit for sure. The previously mentioned objectives are just a part of what you will see in the area, because most certainly you will be charmed by the atmosphere and landscapes you will find here. Enjoy the history of the place, its culture, the hospitability of people, the amazing wines and cuisine you will find when you visit Akhaltsikhe, and you will certainly want to come back soon enough.