Peter’s Castle near Borjomi
Peter’s Castle is a medieval fortress located near Borjomi in Georgia’s Samtskhe-Javakheti Region. Towering above the Mtkvari River on a remote cliff, Peter’s Castle once belonged to a chain of fortifications which also included Gogia’s Castle. Both strongholds played a strategic role in protecting the region, with the guards at each castle known to have used bonfires to warn each other of an approaching enemy.
Although Peter’s Castle is now in a state of disrepair, parts of the fortress wall and some scattered buildings remain intact.
Peter’s Castle was built to withstand attack from the enemy and to guard the heartland of Georgia from southern invaders. Although the exact date of its inception is unknown, its architectural elements indicate that it was likely constructed in the 14th century. The castle was quite large and thanks to its ideal location, controlled an even larger expanse of territory.
The fortress was formerly known as Kverbili Castle. From the 15th century onward, it belonged to the feudal Avalishvili family, and to this day the castle still bears the name of Peter Avalishvili. In the 16th century, a nearby region in central Georgia then known as Tori was conquered by the Ottomans, and Peter’s Castle was appointed as its regional seat of government. In 1744, the castle witnessed a battle between the Avalishvilis and an army of Ottoman and Dagestani troops led by Usup Pasha, which ended in victory for the Avalishvilis.
Peter’s Castle has been renovated numerous times over the centuries, and today only the remains of a handful of buildings have been preserved between the castle’s fence and its inner fortress. In some places, its original walls can also be distinguished.
To the south of the castle is a semicircular tower which may have originally been three-storied. There are two large basins on the territory which are presumed to have been a water reservoir and a wheat silo. Its massive walls are characterized by their sheer size and durability, while their wavelike shape and merlons give it a light and dynamic appearance.
There are two ways to reach Peter’s Castle, both of which can be quite challenging. The first road crosses the bridge over the Mtkvari (Kura) River from Likani Park before following a narrow, rocky path. The second one runs from Likani near the railway line, passing through a coniferous forest and onto the rocky path. If you are staying in Borjomi or Likani and are up for an adventure, Peter’s Castle can provide great scenery and hiking opportunities in a historical setting.