Akhaltsikhe is a city in Georgia’s south-western region Samtskhe-Javakheti. Its name means «new fortress» because of the town’s fortress called Rabati which is located on a small hill in the middle of the city.
For the first time mentioned in the 12th century, Akhaltsikhe was the seat of the «Akhaltsikhelis», the dukes of Samtskhe, in the 12th and 13th centuries. From the 13th till the 17th century the city was reigned by the Jaqeli family. After being part of the Ottoman Empire, Akhaltsikhe only came back to Georgia, which was part of the Russian Empire, between the Russian-Turkish War in 1828/1829.
Rabati Fortress in Akhaltsikhe
The rich history of Akhaltsikhe is still visible today. The most important sight is the Rabati Fortress. The recently renovated example of architecture includes the castle of the Jaqeli family, a mosque, an orthodox church, a citadel, and an amphitheater. As a tourist sight, Rabati also includes hotels, restaurants, cafes, an information center, and a marriage hall.
Besides Rabati, Akhaltsikhe offers also other interesting places. like a palace from the 13th/14th century, two synagogues, a Jewish cemetery, and several mosques, most of them destroyed. As more than a quarter of the population in Akhaltsikhe is Armenian, there are also several Armenian churches in the city.