The former city of Vashnari is located west of Ozurgeti, 5 km from the city. An archaeological excavation in 1949 uncovered a fortification building and a martyrium, a Christian worship building erected on the grave of a martyr. Vashnari was built on a hill where the Skurdum and Natanebi rivers meet. The historians and researches define the period between 5th and 7th centuries to be the time of construction and power of the city fortress of Vashnari.
The city fortress was protected on three sides by the flat-flowing rivers, and on the eastern side, deprived of a natural fortress, the inhabitants of Vashnare built a massive high stone wall in a flat area and dug a deep ditch to strengthen their defence.
Two fences were built on either side of the town. A small tower and other buildings, of which the early Christian church and the remains of a chapel are worth mentioning, stoodevery 40 metresnear the border wall.
The Georgian historians and scholars’ opinions about Washnari are interesting: at the end of the 4th century, the Laz people were the unifying force of almost the whole western Georgia. The state created by them was called Egris by Christian sources, while Greek and Byzantine authors named it Lazika. Starting from this period four major construction works that set new standards begin simultaneously in different regions of Egrisi. The result of these works are Vashnari-Sponieti-Guriani.
The Askana fortress is located in the Askana village, on a high rock, 17 km from Ozurgeti, on the northeastern side. The castle is built of stone and limestone. To the left of the entrance there is a tunnel leading to the Bakhvitskali River.
The Askana Castle has several building layers, the oldest of which dates back to the early feudal era, and the youngestone to the 19th century.
It is believed that the Askana Castle was built in the 4th century. To the right of the fortress gate the trace of an old building is clearly visible - steps carved in the rock.An old cellar was also discovered there.
The mentioned stone steps indicate that they were used by the inhabitants and guards of the fortress to enter some old building.
The Askana Castle consisted of two towers, a chapel of red marble and several wooden huts. The chapel and the wooden huts are very dilapidated. Around the inner and outer boundaries, the warriors' areas were arranged; one can still see the holes from the weapons hitting the walls of the fortress.
At the foot of the rocky slope of the castle's outer boundary, a large wooden area can be seen. Here begins a secret tunnel leading from the fortress to the Bakhvi Gorge.
The Askana Castle and its surroundings have been inhabited since ancient times. This is evidenced by a huge number of interesting cultural discoveries in several archaeologicalsites, including Iron Age furnace workshops dating back to the 1st millennium, indicating that metallurgical production was fairly well developed in this region.
Fortress of Gorabereżouli or Castle of the Eristavs
Gorabereżouli Fortress- the castle of the Eristavs was built on a beautiful hill in the 17th-18th centuries. It was of a military importance and belonged to the nobility. The castle is surrounded by four walls, each of which is 5 metres high and 25 metres long. In the walls of the fortress there are openings for weapons, inside the castle there is a cellar and an outbuilding. To the east of the castle,there is a small chapel, which is now half-ruined. There is a beautiful dendrological forest park around with many species of rare perennials: three-hundred-year-old oaks, pencil trees, sugar maple trees, giant sequoias and others.
Zoti fortress (Ghoti fortress)
The Zoti Fortress (The Ghoti Fortress) is located south of the Zoti village, in Chokhatauri Municipality, by "Sakdris keli", 45 kilometres from Chokhatauri, on a mountain 2300 metres above sea level, in the Gubazeuli River valley. The site consists of three hollow caves (each with a capacity of 25 cubic metres), which are connected by 0.5 metres long and 0.5 metres wide exits that terminate in an external exit tunnel. The site was a medieval military facility; Access from the south-east.
BukisTsikhe (Tamari fortress)
The Tamari Fortress - The feudal castle is located in Bukistsikhe village (Chokhatauri Municipality), 6 km from Chokhatauri. It is located on the right bank of the Supsa river, on a high hill, by the lake called Guri. People already lived here in the late Bronze Age. Remains of an enclosure built of smoothed blocks were found.
Today only the north-eastern part of the castle remains. It is built of cobblestones and its size is not so significant. It is located on a high hill and one needs to climb a rather steep slope to access it. A heavily damaged fencing runs around the castle. On the first floor of the multi-storey tower adjacent to the north side of the castle, a large stone water tank and the remains of a stone staircase were discovered. The second floor is residential, the third floor is used for militarydefensive purposes. Mamia III Gurieli, ruling at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries, is mentioned as the maintainer of the fortress. Before the unification of Guria with Russia, the fort controlled the road from Imereti and Meskheti to the Black Sea.
The Likhauri Fortress was built in the 12th century to defend against an enemy. The locals chose a rather difficult way to build the fortress - people lined up to pass cobblestones to one another and built the Likhauri Fortress that way, which became a symbol of the people's strength.
To better protect the castle, there was an underground tunnel connected to the river. Its main purpose was to constantly supply the warriors in the besieged fortress with food and water and enable them to attack the sleeping enemy from the rear. There was also a secret tunnel connecting one of the forts located near the Likhauri Fortress. The tunnels were also the best way to escape from the enemy.
The fortress was used exclusively for military purposes. Later, it belonged to Gurieli, the commander of Guria. It was both a government residence and a place for important meetings.
The castle is known as "Tamari Castle", although the queen of Georgia never visited here. Apparently, the name seemed to add strength to the castle, as Tamar's name is associated with the period of our country's power, the "Golden Age". The castle also had another name – the "Fortress of Success", which is explained by the fact that during its existence it was never captured by the enemy, and heroically endured all wars.
In 1968, 94-year-old Sonia Mgaloblishvili said[AH1] that the fortress had been built by three brothers from Zarzma who had been making building stones in the village of Khewi. When the fortress was constructed, people were standing in a 4-kilometre long line and were passing building stones to oneanother. Many died. The first to die was the first person in line.[AH2] Some time later, the brothers parted ways. One returned to Zarzma, although some said that he went to Kobuleti, the other, whose name was Elie, went to Khevi. The Elieshvili living in the present Khevi are descendants of Elie.
A man called David lived in Erketi and sang in the choir. The Mgaloblishvili is named after him.The castle is now located on the plot that belonged to him, in his courtyard. No one knows the date when the castle was built, but according to ancient legends Queen Tamar may be buried in there.
[AH1]Is this an important information? Should it be kept?
[AH2]Is this an important information?