One of the most well-preserved castles in Georgia is Ananuri. This castle is highly popular among tourists; it’s located 70 km away from Tbilisi, in the same name village, near Georgian military road, and picturesque Zhinvali reservoir. The location of the castle is extremely favorable; it’s protected from both sides with water and mountain, yet, doesn’t allow enemies to go unnoticed.
Ananuri complex was started by eristavis of Aragvi in 13th century. At first, it was one tower that was built for protection of Dusheti town. Eventually, the complex grew and turned into full-fledged fortress that served its purpose perfectly. It played an important role in numerous wars between local landowners. The most dramatic page in history of Ananuri castle is invasions of Shanshe of Ksani, in 1739. His armies destroyed underground running water of the castle, thus, people inside the castle had no potable water. The Aragvi clan turned itself in, because Shanshe of Ksani promised to keep their lives. However, soon after gates of the fortress were opened, he forgot about his promise. 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 19th century, one of the most popular castles in Georgia served as Russian garrison. The Russian Empire even wanted to build a military town around Ananuri castle. 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 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 one of the most popular castles in Georgia.