Ananuri Fortress, Georgia
Ananuri is one of the hundreds of Georgian medieval castles, almost impossible to drive by, if you set off on a surface journey from Russia to Georgia. If you plan to reach the fortress from Tbilisi, you can take a shuttle van from Tbilisi to Gudauri, Pasanauri or Stepantsminda.
Ananuri is found in the same-name village on the Georgian Military Road, 64 km from Tbilisi, and 12 km from Zhinvali. The fortress was built in the valley between the two rivers of Aragvi and Vedzatkhevi, so that no enemy army could pass by unnoticed, but found themselves caught in a natural “gate“, formed by nature itself, at gunpoint of the defenders. In the XVI - early XIX centuries, Ananuri was the main stronghold on the way from Daryal Valley to Dusheti and from Russia to Georgia. It played a critical role in numerous wars between local feudal princes – eristavis, and in the course of its history was never carried by storm.
In course of time, the fortress lost its importance and fell to desolation. Today it is one of the main points of tourist routes in Georgia. The main advantage of the Ananuri fortress is its relative preservation: for the last few centuries no stone walls or towers have collapsed, what is more impressive, some slabs have survived. It is still possible to contemplate the Assumption Church and Church of the Savior with ancient frescos, belfry, main tower and bath.
Below the castle there survived an old road and old bridge, which regularly flooded by water from the reservoir. Other interesting medieval ruins can be also found there.