You cannot skip Ananuri Castle on your way to the town of Kazbegi. This complex on the Aragvi River is one of the best-protected monuments in Georgia. It is located 70 kilometers away from Tbilisi. This place will make you feel special with its beautiful nature and a taste of ancient history. This medieval monument, which is very well preserved, was originally used for military purposes, and only later it became the residence of the Dukes of Aragvi, in the 13th century.
To understand its origins better, you need to know one legend, which was, for centuries, passing through generations. It was the time when the Tatar army approached the fortress. The enemy believed that Georgians, who were forced to close themselves in the castle, would not survive for a long time without a source of food, and they would give up soon. But they did not know that the castle had a secret tunnel which was leading to the river. After several days, the guards of the castle threw fish up in the air to irritate the invaders. At this point, our enemies realized that the fortress was connected to the outside world with a tunnel, and they decided to find it. They were searching for a trace of the tunnel everywhere for a long time, but they could not find it.
Finally, they caught one woman named Ana, who was from Nuri, and they asked her about the location of the tunnel. When Ana refused to reveal this secret to the enemies, they tortured and killed her. Therefore, this castle was named Ananuri in respect to this woman, who is a hero for Georgians.
This place has been a battlefield for Georgians for so many times that they decided to call the road that is leading to Ananuri – the Georgian Military Road. On the way to Ananuri Fortress, you have to pass by the Zhinvali water reservoir. Besides the primary purpose of this reservoir, which is to supply Tbilisi with water, this place keeps many secrets and legends as well. The construction of the reservoir caused big floodings on this territory and almost destroyed all the historical monuments. They say that the old Church that was built in the time of King Tamari in the 12th century has fallen underwater; when the water level decreases, the Church is reappearing. This Church is considered to be one of the most mystical places in Georgia.
People also believe that anyone who can dive deep into the water and ring the bells of the church will get any wish come true. You can believe this legend or not, but nowadays, many people, especially tourists, try to reach the church underwater. Hence, Ananuri is worth exploring, as you will get overwhelmed by mysterious feelings while visiting it.
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