Ananuri is one of the most well-preserved castles in Georgia. This castle is trendy among tourists. It is located 70 km away from Tbilisi, in the same name village, on a Georgian military road. The location of the castle is extremely favorable. Zhinvali Water Reservoir and mountains surround the complex.
The buildings included in the complex are an upper and lower fortress, fence, towers, Church of the Mother of God, Church of the Deity, “Mkurnali” Church, bell tower, octagonal cell, and reservoirs.
A brief history of Ananuri Complex
Ananuri complex was started by Eristavis (Local dukes) of Aragvi in the 13th century. It played an important role in numerous wars between local landowners. The most dramatic page in the history of Ananuri castle is an invasion of Shanshe of Ksani, in 1739. He bricked local Eristavi Bardzima up in one of the towers and set it on fire. The legend says that Eristavis of Ksani were cursed for perjury.
In the 19th century, one of the most popular castles in Georgia served as a Russian garrison. The Russian Empire even wanted to build a military town around the complex. Ananuri castle preserved its original look: castle walls with towers, the Church of the Virgin, and the Church of the Mother of God. Temples are adorned with fine carving; their interior hits with the beauty of detailed frescos. These frescoes are considered one of the best examples of late medieval church art. Today Ananuri fortress is a quiet, picturesque place and it attracts a lot of tourists.
Infrastructure around the Zhinvali Water Reservoir:
- Parking place where you can buy some Souvenirs or rent a Quad bike tour for 150 GEL per person.
- Two small restaurants and one coffee shop before reaching the parking place. I have never been there so can’t tell you about it anything.
How to get there:
- There are a couple of direct vans between Tbilisi – Gudauri and Stepantsminda departing from Bus Station Didube.
- Taxi. The price depends on starting point.
- By Car
Tours via Ananuri Complex
Don’t forget to take a good camera. You will have great views.
There are a lot of stray dogs near the Ananuri complex. All dogs are vaccinated against rabies, so they are not dangerous. Be careful though.
Inside the complex is an active church, so it is recommended to dress modestly (covered shoulders and knees). Men need to be wearing long pants and women a long skirt. Women must also cover their hair before entering.