The second object, which must be visited by every tourist, is Khertvisi fortress. This is an incredible antiquity! It stands on a high cliff above the river Kura, where the river Paravani falls into Kura. Here is also furcation of the roads: Akhaltsikhe, Vardzia and Akhalkalaki. The first mentions of the fortress are found in works of ancient authors. This is the best preserved castle of the country and the largest extant. The first structures on this place were built about in the IV century BC. There is a legend that the city was impregnable and only Alexander the Great managed to seize and destroy it. Then history is silent about these places. After that the information appears from the feudal times. In X-XI centuries the revival of the settlement began. In 985 a church was built inside the fortress. Active construction has led to formation of the whole city. Firstly forays of the Mongols destroyed it. in 1283 the earthquake also caused enormous harm. It is believed that only the main tower remained safe. Desolation reigned in this place for almost 100 years. And only in 1354-1356 the treasurer of George V Zachary Kamkamishvili began to restore and enlarge the fortress. This is the place for Meskhetia rulers. In XVI century the southern region of Georgia was captured by the Turks. During the next 3 centuries Khertvisi belonged to them. In 1828 during the Russian-Turkish war, the region was conquered and returned to Georgia.


Another interesting historical fact that is associated with Khertvisi: the future king of Jerusalem Baldwin of Bourcq (one of the founders of the Order of the Knights of Templar) after the release from Saracen captivity in 1108 was consecrated by King David IV the Builder (Agmashenebeli). Just think: with a magic touch of the Georgian king global financial system of banks and bankers started. As they say: no comment.


There are also some more incredibly interesting ancient artifacts of Georgian history. At 15 km from Khertvisi and 4 km north to Vardzia on the other side of the river Kura at an altitude of 150 m above the river there are the remains of an ancient fortified city Tmogvi. History tells us that the fortress was impregnable: one side of it is situated on the almost vertical cliff hanging over the Kura, which washes both sides of fortress; on the other two sides there are out-of-the-way gorges, and all more or less passable roads are blocked by walls. In 914 the Persian commander Abul-Qasim captured several strongholds of Southeast Georgia, but when he saw impregnability of Tmogvi, he retreated. The town was built nearby on the plateau. In XI-XII centuries it was a rich and famous city. Of course, in stories about Tmogvi Queen Tamar also was mentioned. In 1191she presented the castle of Tmogvi to her vassal Sargis Mhargdzeli.

Strongest earthquakes in 1089, 1283 and 1319 in this area have destroyed much. One of the new rulers of the fortress built new walls, but after the conquest of the entire southern Georgia by the Turks in XVI century there were no mentions about the fortress.

It’s time to rest, my friends! To tell the truth, the ancient monuments of world civilization amaze me. At the beginning of the millennium there was no technology and equipment, there were only bright heads and skilled human hands. At the cost of what all these buildings were built! So, let us remember all these people with awe and gratitude and drink Borjomi for our health! Let it be strong!

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