Akhaltsikhe (ახალციხე) is a small town in the Samtsche-Djavacheti / Samtskhe-Javakheti region (it turns out to be difficult to find an unambiguous spelling) in southwestern Georgia. In this region, the majority of the population is of Armenian descent. The Potskhovi river divides the city into an old and a new part. And high above the city towers the fortress of Rabati (Rabati Castle).
The castle dates back to the 9th century, when it was still known as Lomisa Castle. Then the Ottomans came and remodeled the whole game. Today, the carefully restored (some say a bit too rigorous) castle is well worth a visit. Meander through the impressive spaces, the winding corridors and the inner garden and take a look at the mosque / church. You have a beautiful view of the city from the old castle walls.
Just outside the city, hidden in the forest, is the Sapara Monastery. A picturesque place.
Facts to unpack
- The town’s name means “new castle”
- Akhaltsikhe is the hometown of Hovhannes Kajaznuni, the First Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Armenia
- The region is of historical importance. Human occupation has already occurred here during the Bronze Age (4th millennium BC). Furthermore, many pieces from Roman times and from the Middle Ages were found. The archaeological site of Amiranis Gora is just around the corner.