One of the places everyone must visit in Kakheti is, definitely, Gremi. This dark and mysterious castle is one of the most popular castles in Georgia. Gremi is an architectural monument that consists of a citadel, the Church of the Archangels, a bell tower,a wine-cellar and located 175 km away from Tbilisi.
These ruins are everything what reminds of flourishing capital of the Kingdom of Kakheti. Gremi was founded by tsar Levan of Kakheti in 16th century. The castle was built on the hill and prosperous trading ctown appeared around the hill. Although, architectural monument is everything what’s left from former capital, it’s known that Gremi occupied area of 40 hectares and was divided in three principals – the residence of reining dynasty, the Archangel’s Church, and the area of traders.
Levan’s reign was peaceful and Gremi was able to develop quickly and easily. Under the rule of Levan of Kakheti, the Kingdom of Kakheti gained significant economic strength and secured its prosperity. At that time, Gremi was a part of the Grea Sil Road web, this helped to wellness of the city tremendously. Unfortunately, in 1615, Shah Abbas I of Persia laid the city to waist. The city never regained its power back, eventually, the capital of Kakheti was moved to Telavi. For some reason Shah Abbas I of Persia tried to preserve the Church of the Archangels; the church survived his invasion in 1615. However, the Persians tried to ruin frescoes inside the church; trails of their spears are still on the walls of the temple.
Another remaining mark of vandalism was left by Russian soldiers in 19th century. The soldiers would scratch their names on frescoes during masses. Gremi is interesting, because travelers can wander in ruins of formerly flourishing city and guess what it looked like from the outlines.