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Vartsikhe

The historical name of the village is “Vardtsikhe” which means the castle of roses. The village is located at the confluence of Khanistskali and Rioni Rivers.

In the Early Middle Ages, one of the most important towns of Egrisi Kingdom was located in that place. The town was first mentioned in the historical resources in the 6th century. In Byzantine sources, the town was called Rodopolis, and in Georgian sources – Vartsikhe or Vardtsikhe. Because of its geographical location it was of great strategic and economic importance. In the 6th century during the Persian-Byzantine wars it passed from hand to hand.

The Byzantines destroyed the defensive wall of the town so that it will not be used as a military base camp by the Persians. In the 9th–11th centuries the town developed and in the Late Middle Ages became one of the residencies of the rulers of Imereti.

The archeological reconnaissance works started in Vartsikhe in 1968. Since 1972 intensive archaeological excavations were conducted by V. Japaridze and they continue till the present days.

The diggings revealed a complex of a castle town surrounded by a defensive wall with towers from the 4th–6th centuries well-fortified already in those days. It is believed that amphorae and red-varnished ceramic, found during the excavations, were brought by merchants who travelled the water route Kutaisi – Phazisi (nowadays Poti). The route was a part of a very popular in those times road which led from Artashat (a city in Armenia) through Zekari, Khanistskali Gorge and Vartsikhe to Sebastopoli (a city in the Crimean Peninsula). Excavations revealed the remains of the buildings belonging to the 9th–11th centuries. One of the remarkable materials found there is a glazed ceramics from that period.

According to the map of West Georgia made in 1737 a huge construction works were performed in that region by the King of Imereti Alexander V. The archaeological excavations, remains of buildings and a small square church also confirm that Vartsikhe was developing very fast in those times.

Archeologists investigated as well a hill with an ancient settlement located 1 kilometer from Vartsikhe. They discovered remains of burned buildings made from cobblestones and limestone and the local and imported black varnished ceramic remains were found everywhere. In the grave field dated back to 4th–3rd century B.C. they found bronze bracelets, necklaces, red annealed jug, and Colchis icons.

 

Tourist Routes

Do you want to see Imereti, but you do not know where to start from? We prepared for you trails around the region, which will lead you to interesting natural sites, historical monuments and cultural attractions. Following those paths you will visit true Imeretian “pearls” – thousand- year- old monasteries, historical buildings, amazing wonders of nature, including mountains, canyons, caves, waterfalls, rivers, lakes and you will come across many other attractions. You will also have an occasion to taste delicious Georgian food and wine. Have a look at our suggestions and go explore Imereti!

If you have any questions feel free to email or call us:

E-mail:  info@visitkutaisi.com
Phone: (+995) 593 548 507, (+995) 557 263 153

 

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Address: Georgia, Kutaisi, 4600. Gorki St #18
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