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Georgia: Ananuri castle

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Ananuri castle | Georgia | Asia

[Visited: February 2006]

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.

Picture of Ananuri castle (Georgia): Ananuri fortress and church basking in the afternoon Georgian sunlight

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.

Picture of Ananuri castle (Georgia): Looking out over the towers of Ananuri church

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.

Picture of Ananuri castle (Georgia): Towers of Ananuri
Picture of Ananuri castle (Georgia): Looking towards Zhinvali Reservoir from Ananuri church
Picture of Ananuri castle (Georgia): Door of Ananuri church in a thick wall
Picture of Ananuri castle (Georgia): Frescoes in Ananuri church
Picture of Ananuri castle (Georgia): Decorated entrance to Ananuri church
Picture of Ananuri castle (Georgia): View of the Caucasus mountains from inside Ananuri fortress
Picture of Ananuri castle (Georgia): Ananuri towers with Zhinvali Reservoir in the background
Picture of Ananuri castle (Georgia): Ananuri church and tower
Picture of Ananuri castle (Georgia): Ananuri fortress with blue sky

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