On our way to skiing at Gudauri, in the north of Georgia, we passed Ananuri, a combined fortress and church next to the Georgian Military Highway. It was a beautiful day, the sky was an impeccable blue, and we had just started to spot the first snow around us. There was much more in the distant mountains, the direction we were travelling. I had seen Ananuri before, on my way to Kazbegi, but now we had the possiblity to stop. With the perfect weather, the views were just great.
As in many other places in Georgia, Ananuri is another example of how the Georgians picked amazing spots for their fortresses and churches. Always on top of hills, always lookouts, and, although probably not always intended that way, on photogenic locations for the present day visitor. Less than 70km from Tbilisi, Ananuri was founded in the 16th century as a fortress, and belonged to the dukes of Aragvi. Several battles were fought here, and in the 18th century one of the dukes set fire to the castle and murdered the dukes family.
Just a few years later, the peasants of the area rebelled, killing their masters and asking the king of Kartli to be their ruler. But that is all history now. The place is a peaceful stopover to your way north of Georgia. The inside of the church has some frescoes, and you can walk around the complex area, marvel at the decorations on the outer walls (a common feature of Georgian churches) and climb the highest tower of the fortress, walking narrow wooden stairs. On the way up, you have good views over the mountains and also the church below, but once on the highest level, the walls around are unfortunately too high to be able to see anything.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Ananuri castle (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Ananuri castle.
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