About Sights – Akhaltsikhe Fortress
Akhaltsikhe (Georgian: ახალციხე, literally new castle); also known as Lomsia, is a small city in Georgia’s southwestern region of Samtskhe-Javakheti. Established around 800 years ago, it has had Georgian, Ottoman, Russian and Soviet rulers.
The city is situated on both banks of the river Potskhovi, which separates the old city in the north and new in the south. The old city houses a 13th-14th century fortress, a mosque and a church.
The fortress is currently undergoing extensive restoration.
Detail of the craftsmanship of the restoration
What else is there in the vicinity? About 10-12 km outside of Akhaltsikhe is the magnificent Sapara Monastery (საფარის მონასტერი), almost hidden in the forests and the Khertvisi Fortress (ხერთვისის ციხე) perched on an outcrop overlooking the village of Khertvisi. The outcrop was used as a fortress from the second century B.C., and was reputedly destroyed by Alexander the Great.
How to get there? Most western visitors arrive in Akhaltsikhe from Posof in Turkey, the backdoor route over the mountains into Georgia. If you are already in Georgia and want to visit, the principal road route to Akhaltsikhe runs from Georgia’s main East-West highway (E60) at the spur in Khashuri leading to Borjomi. Marshrutkas (minibuses) run to Akhaltsikhe’s main market/bus station from Tbilisi’s Didube market, as well as from the bus stations in Kutaisi and Khashuri. Akhaltsikhe is connected to the main Batumi–Tbilisi–Baku railroad by a spur through Borjomi ending in Akhaltsikhe.