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 in 70 kilometres from Tbilisi and this place will make you feel special by its beautiful nature and the taste of an ancient history. This medieval monument, which is very well preserved, was originally used for a military purpose and only later it became the residence of the Dukes of Aragvi, from the 13th century.
In order to understand its origins better, you need to know one legend, which was, for centuries, passing through generations. It was the time when 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 didn’t know that the castle had a secret tunnel which was leading to the river. After several days, the guards of the castle threw the fish into the air to irritate the invaders. At this point, our enemies realized that the fortress was connected to the outside world with the tunnel and they decided to find it. They were searching the 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 uncover this secret to enemies, they tortured and killed her. Therefore, this castle was named Ananuri in the respect of 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 Zhinvali water reservoir. Besides the main 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 from the time of King Tamari in the 12th century has fallen underwater and 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 is able to 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, this place is worth exploring, as you will get overwhelmed by mysterious feelings while visiting Ananuri.
I am Anano. I Iove travelling, history and getting to know people from all over the world. I write about Georgia, my country, and I am sure everybody will fall in love with it.