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 the Georgian Acropolis (Inner fortress). The Greek historian Dio Cassius mentioned this place in his book "The history of Rome." He wrote that "in 65 BC, the 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 a significant, primary city of 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 the Georgian Kings.
The construction process of this city took several centuries. The new construction period is connected to King Pharnavaz and dates back to the IV 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 a natural rocky cliff. In the middle of the road, you will see a royal sarcophagus. In ancient times, people were never burying dead bodies in the earth as the earth was considered a holy part. The sarcophagus is made of stone, and its cover is next to it. The archaeologists have found many valuable things in this sarcophagus, and that is why the grave is believed to have been of a wealthy man.
A little bit up, there is the Queen’s bathhouse that is still half-buried in the ground. On this territory, you may also see the well-preserved royal baths. This place gives you a good idea of how the site used to look like in the past. Several water pipes that were used to supply the baths with water have remained untouched.
Two rooms are connected to these baths; the first one had to be dressing room and the second one for business meetings.
The next section that is located below the royal baths is a very old wine cellar. Up to 12 clay pots (Qvevri) have been found there. Archaeologists found a trace of red wine on the bottom of a pot. It proves the fact that even in the past, Georgians liked the red wine more than the rest.
You will also see the 6-sided pedestal next to the wine cellar; it has the shape of a flower, and an idol of Armazi, who was supposed to have been standing on it in the past. On the left side, there is a building that is split into two parts. From there, you can see the magnificent view of the Jvari (Cross) Monastery. At last, you end up your tour in Bagineti by visiting the six-apse temple that could have been the 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 a totally different angle. Also, the views of the rivers of Mtkvari and Aragvi make this place even more mysterious and beautiful.
Like this story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.