One of the first fortress-cities of Kingdom of Kartli is located 40 km away from Tbilisi. The road to Ujarma fortress lies through picturesque Gombori pass and is very enjoyable. It’s one of the most interesting sightseeing places on the road to Kakheti region. Due to its location the fortress is a historical and architectural monument of significant importance. Since 3rd century AD, the fortress had been residence of rulers of Kartli. The fortress flourished during the rule of King Vakhtang Gorgasali and his successor Dachi.
Ujarma was one of the main outposts of Georgia against the Arabs. It consisted of a citadel with tall walls, viewing and defensive towers, a residency of rulers, and a church. After Christianization of Kingdom of Kartli, Saint Nino decided to place 3 crosses on different altitudes, one of them was placed in Ujarma. Dzhavarpatiosani Church was built to commemorate this event.
In 12th century, ruling dynasty moved public treasury to Ujarma. Later, invasion of the Mongol horde, separation of Georgia, and strife resulted in Ujarma fortress losing its power and significance. Flourishing and powerful fortress-city turned into a little, abandoned settlement. The fortress remained remoted and one of the least popular destination in Georgia until 2010, when the road that connect Tbilisi and Tleavi was built.
Today everything what’s left from Ujarma fortress are grass-grown ruins and functioning St. Razhden Cathedral who was the first saint to be canonized by Georgian Orthodoz Church. Although, the fortress isn’t easily accessible, it’s considered a perfect place for enjoying picturesque landscapes of the Iori river and Gombori ridges. The fortress-city is located on the hill, so you’ll need a pair of good hiking shoes.