Armaztsikhe was the residence of the Kings of Iberia. This is one of the oldest cities of the Antique Era, which is not fully explored yet. It is called like Georgian Acropolis (Inner fortress). The Greek historian Dio Cassius mentioned this place in his book “The history of Rome”. He wrote that in 65 years BC, Roman Senator Gnaeus Pompeius invaded Iberia and reached this Acropolis too.
In the Ancient Era, Mtskheta was a big city. In this case, “big” means very important, primary city in Georgia. For your better understanding, Armaztsikhe, Bagineti is the old part of Mtskheta city that was located on the south side of the Mtkvari River. The city had a big fence around and several entrances. Foreign sources are considering Bagineti as a Royal District and according to Georgian Sources, Armaztsikhe was the residence of Georgian Kings.
The construction process of this city was for several centuries. The new construction period is connected to King Pharnavaz and dates back to IVth century. The present name of this ancient city is connected to the idol of Armazi that was chosen by King Pharnavaz as the main deity.
The entrance to the city follows after a natural rocky cliff. In the middle of the road, you will see a royal sarcophagus. In the ancient times, people were never burying dead bodies in the earth as the earth was considered as a holy part. The sarcophagus is located in the stone and its cover is next to it. Archaeologists explored many worthy things in this sarcophagus and that’s why the grave supposed to be for a wealthy man.
A little bit up there is a Queen’s bathhouse that is still half buried in the ground. On this territory located royal baths that are well cleaned by the explorers. This place gives you a good imagination about how it was looking like in the past. Several water pipes have still remained in this place that was supplying baths by the water.
Two rooms are connected to these bathes; the first one had to be dressing room and the second one for business meetings.
Next section that is located below the royal baths is a very old wine cellar. Up to 12 clay pots (Qvevri) have remained there. Archaeologists explored the trace of red wine on the bottom of the pot. It proves the fact that even in past Georgians liked red wine more than other types.
You will also see the 6-sided pedestal next to the wine cellar that has a shape of the flower and the idol of Armazi supposed to stand on it in the past. On the left side there is a building that is split into two parts and from there you can see a magnificent view of Jvari (Cross) Monastery. At last, you end up your tour in Bagineti by visiting a six-apse temple that could be a King’s palace.
While walking in this ancient city you feel yourself like a part of the great history. At this time, your thoughts can be about people who were living there many, many centuries ago. Each part of Armaztsikhe makes you feel special as you can really touch the past and feel the future. From this place, you can see Mtskheta city from the totally different angle. Also, the views of the rivers Mtkvari and Aragvi makes this place even more mysterious and beautiful.
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