Back when I was planning my trip to Georgia I came across some interesting places. There are tons of beautiful sites around the whole country. But one place that caught my eye the most was Rabati Castle in a little town called Akhaltsikhe.
Have you ever heard of it? For me, it was the first time I heard of this place. But let me ask you this. Are you a Game of Thrones fan? Or just a fan of castles? Then you will love this one. I know I do! Probably, most definitely, 100%, my favorite castle complex so far!
So the town itself doesn’t have much to offer besides the castle. But the castle makes it worth to drive all the way down there. Also, it’s a great base for a day trip to the cave city of Vardzia.
Fun fact: Akhaltsikhe in Georgian means “New castle”.
Rabati castle has a long and complicated history. It was originally established back in the 9th century by Guaram Mampal known under the name Lomisa castle. Then from the 13th century, it was ruled by the House of Jaqeli. In the centuries that followed it fell under the Ottoman rule, but later Russian forces liberated the city and the fortress. Though most of the surviving buildings in Rabati Castle complex date back to 17th and 18th century.
The whole region was falling to ruins after all the wars. With a hope to attract more tourist to the city they completely renovated the Rabati Castle complex back in 2011-2012. I would say they did one hell of a job with it! It’s just marvelous.
Rabati Castle complex consists of an upper and lower part. In the upper part, you will find the castle of Jakeli family situated on the top of the hill. Then there is also Akhmediye Mosque, an Orthodox church, Synagogue, Catholic Church, bathhouse, history museum, the citadel and much more. And then at the lower part, you can find a hotel, cafes, tourist information desk, vineyard, towers, wedding hall, etc.
Now tell me where else can you find so many different architectures types and buildings at one place? I can’t think of any place like this. It’s really unique!
- Now about the entrance fee. You can enter the lower part without paying a fee, but then you have to pay 7GEL (4$) for the upper part. You can also take a guided tour which costs more. Plus you also pay extra for the history museum in the upper part.
- The Rabati Castle complex is open every day from 9 AM till 8 PM.
Here are some more photos of incredible Rabati Castle complex!
If you stay longer in Akhaltsikhe or if you want to visit some more landmarks. There is Sapara Monastery from the tenth century and Khertvisi Fortress, which is on the way to the cave city of Vardzia!
Also, check out this blog post about Prometheus Caves near Kutaisi
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