The Corners of Georgia: The Ananuri Fortress
Ananuri is one of Georgia’s most touristy places. It’s a fortress with a pair of churches and an 11th-century defensive tower inside. The fortress complex is located on the shores of the Zhinvali Reservoir, which, by the way, is quite remarkable in its turquoise waters. The Fortress used to be the seat of the eristavis (dukes) of Aragvi. These dukes belonged to an influential feudal dynasty that ruled the territory since the 13th century until it was overthrown by a competitor. The land went over to King Erekle II of Kakheti.
The castle was inhabited all the way up to the beginning of the 19th century. During Soviet times, around 1980, the government decided to build the Zhinvali Hydroelectric Power Plant and a water reservoir, absolutely indispensable here, which would supply potable water to Tbilisi. According to the preliminary plan, the Ananuri Fortress was to be submerged too, but as the Georgian public began to protest, the height of the dam was decreased, leaving the Fortress to stand on the shores of a large mountain lake.
Excellent views, mountains, water, a picturesque fortress – wandering around all this will take you about an hour. Since the village now rests at the bottom of the dam, there is no place to stay here. Ananuri is located 66 km away from Tbilisi.