According to historical sources, the town Akhaltsikhe was founded in the 9th century. Rabati is one of its districts where Catholics, Jews, Orthodox and Muslims had their own chapels. This small district of Akhaltsikhe shows to the world how people with different religions can live together peacefully and friendly.
Today, the Rabati Museum can be found in this place. The attention is paid to the mosque, which is built in the 'Aya Sophia' style with the Orthodox elements. Ahmad Pasha Jakeli built it in the 18th century, on the basis of an Orthodox cathedral.
The synagogue was built in 1863. Here, prayers are held rarely, only when Jewish tourists visit the synagogue. Because according to Jewish rules, at least ten men are required to attend prayers, and there are only 5 Jewish families left in Akhaltsikhe.
The fortress is located near the river Potskhovi, on the mountaintop, around 1000 meters above the sea level. It consists of different kinds of constructions from the middle ages.
The history of Rabati Castle begins from the IX century. In XII-XIII centuries this place became the residence of Jakelis. This family was ruling this part of Georgia for centuries. While visiting the castle, you can freely imagine that you are travelling in ancient times. The fortress attracts the attention of tourists with its architecture, labyrinths, churches, and mosque. You can also visit the historical museum of Samtskhe-Javakheti that is located in the Jakeli’s family house.
There are many exhibits in the Museum from the Bronze Age and traces of the earliest metallurgy. Among them are the solar plates, which indicate the exact time.
The mosque, called Akhmedie, was built in 1752 years by Italian architects. According to the legend, one Georgian architect built it in the style of Aya Sophia church, and he was sentenced to a death penalty because of this.
There is a curious fact about the architecture of the mosque. Aya Sophia was a church before becoming a mosque; on the contrary, Akhmedie's destiny was to begin as a mosque and then convert into a church.
Nowadays, the complex does not have any religious purpose anymore. People who are coming here will be able to get acquainted with different periods of Georgian history and have a good time relaxing. In the second part of the complex are the hotel, night bar, cafes, and even a shopping center, so the guests do not need to go out.
Couples can get married here, in a very romantic atmosphere. Beyond the "Alley of Love" at the end of the fortress, there is a small, nice wedding house. Very interesting words are written on the iron door: "Your cheeks are beautiful, take me and we will go together, I will remember your name forever. You are sweet, warm and beautiful, tell me where are you, I love your touch because it is sweeter than the best wine."
The restoration of Rabati Castle started in 2011. Today, Rabati is a traveler’s favorite place, and several thousand of tourists visit it every day. A few years ago, Rabati Castle was awarded as the symbol of tolerance as this is a place where many nationalities live in peace next to each other regardless of their ethnic and religious diversity.
Did you like the travel story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.