Gonio Asparos – One of the Oldest Fortresses in Georgia

After Makhuntseti Waterfall , the rain gods were not at rest. Amidst in the rain, We headed to another beautiful place called the Gonio Asparos Fortress , which is the oldest fortress of Georgia – the Gonio Fortress occupying the territory of 4.5 hectares is situated in village of Gonio in Adjara, 15 km from Batumi city.

Note : You can take a mini-bus from Batumi city to this place. 

Entrance of Gonio Asparus Fortress

Entrance of Gonio Asparus Fortress

Pathway from the Gate towards the main area

Pathway from the Gate towards the main area

The fortress history amounts to several millenniums. The ancient archaeological layers, dug in the fortress territory belong to the XV-XVII centuries BC. Over the whole history the Gonio Fortress belonged first to the Romans before the Byzantine period and in 1547 the Gonio-Apsaros Fortress was captured by the Ottoman Turks. Only in 1878 under the Treaty of San Stefano, the Gonio Fortress as well as the whole Adjara was passed under protectorate of the Russian Empire. In Soviet time Adjara obtained the status of autonomy preserving it for the territory up to date.

Interesting Belief : The grave of Saint Matthias, one of the twelve apostles, is believed to be inside the Gonio fortress. However, this is unverifiable as the Georgian government currently prohibits digging near the supposed gravesite.

Fortress Walls

Fortress Walls

Nowadays the Gonio-Apsaros Fortress is a monument of Roman period of the Adjarian history. The Fortress layout and architecture have left almost unchanged over all centuries of its existence. In spite of the fact that a mosque was built opposite to the Saint Mathew’s tomb, and the existed Roman therms were rebuilt into the oriental bath-houses, the general architecture of the Fortress remained the same as it was two thousand years ago under the Romans.

The total wall length amounts to 900 m and the height is 5 m. Initially, twenty two 7 meter high towers were built along the Fortress perimeter, but in course of time some of them were destroyed, and today the Fortress has only 18 towers. Once the Fortress had 4 entries and exits, but currently it is only the western entry that survived.

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The history of the Gonio Fortress still is fraught with mysteries. There, the archaeological excavation are still underway, and the scientists make a lot of new discoveries, such as a buried treasure dating back to the V century AD, revealed near the southern wall in 1974. Based on the important historical and cultural significance of the Gonio Fortress, the Georgian government announced it Reserve Museum in 1994.

There is a museum inside the fortress. We happened to witness lot of discoveries which were put on display for the visitors.

Artifacts used in olden times

Artifacts used in olden times

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If you are a history buff , I am sure this place is the right choice to visit in Georgia. 🙂

I hope these pics will make you visit Georgia whenever you plan your next travel. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment here.

PHOTO CREDITS : PALLAVI RAVINDRA

TIPS & INFORMATION

  1. If you have plans to visit Georgia , Please check if you have an on-arrival visa to Georgia from this link  https://www.evisa.gov.ge/GeoVisa/en/VisaApp

  2. Please Note that there is no visa fees If you are exempted from getting visa to Georgia.

  3. For the food, Georgia offers varieties of foods and restaurants from different countries. You can always check online. For Breakfast, We were offered usual stuffs Salads, Cheese Bread etc. 

  4. To reach Tbilisi , You can take any of these flights from GCC countries Air Arabia, Fly Dubai and Gulf Air. I happened to see only these options.

  5. If you are a Resident of Saudi Arabia or any GCC Country, Please know your’s and your family’s Residence Permit Expiry Date in prior so that you can inform the Immigration Authorities in Georgian Airport for the on-Arrival Visa as they do not speak any other language apart from Georgian, Russian and English.

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