The fortress of Gori is enthroned on a hill above the Georgian capital and was built as early as the 1st century BC. Its current appearance dates from the 18th century, but the main attraction of the fortress is the breathtaking view over Gori.
Gori Fortress is a medieval citadel in the city of Gori in central Georgia and once guarded the second most important city behind the Georgian capital Tbilisi. The massive fort is located on a hill overlooking the city, from where you can enjoy a magnificent view over Stalin's birthplace. The fortress of Gori also gave the city its name. "Goris Tsikhe" translated means "fortress on the hill", so the city was also called "Gori", "hill".
History of the Gori Fortress
The mighty bulwark was first mentioned in documents in the 13th century, but archaeological finds indicate that it was built as early as a century before Christ and was already taken by the Roman general Pompey in 65 BC. The fortress of Gori monitored important strategic and economic routes between the eastern and western worlds of the time and commanded a garrison that was not to be sneezed at.
Nevertheless, it was conquered by the Ottomans in the 16th century, who thereby tried to intimidate Tbilisi. Once fallen, it quickly passed from the Turks back to the Georgians and then to the Persians. It was captured, destroyed and rebuilt several times. The fort of Gori received most of its present form under the two Georgian kings Rostom of Kartli and Erekle II in the 17th and 18th centuries.
After the annexation to the Russians in 1801, it was manned by Russian grenadiers, but the importance of the fortress was increasingly diminishing and by the middle of the 19th century it was no longer there. It was badly damaged by the earthquake in 1920. To this day, the "Tskhra-kara", literally the "Ninth Gate", located to the west is still standing, enclosed by further walls to the south and east.
Gori Fortress today
The fort is best reached on foot. The hill is visible from afar from the city, so it is easy to find your way to its foot. A cobblestone path leads up the hill to the fort's gates. The fort can be visited around the clock, no entrance fee is charged.
The once mighty fort of Gori has lost some of its fascination to this day. Its interiors have never been renovated, nor have the missing walls been rebuilt. Walking through the time-honoured walls, one can get an idea of the former strength and, with a little imagination, one can still hear the noise of the battles between the peoples. Most visitors, however, take the climb up to the fort to enjoy the fantastic panoramic view over Gori and the dark green plains beyond.
Tip: Especially recommended is the fantastic view at sunset, when the sea of houses in Gori is bathed in blood-red light from the fading sun.