After Kartlis Deda, our next destination was Narikala Fortress. The Narikala fortress has been dominating the Tbilisi skyline since the 4th century. The fortress has two walled sections on a steep hill with Abanotubani (old part of the city) on one side and the botanical garden on the other side.
One can reach the Narikala fortress either by scaling the steep hill from the old town area or by climbing up from the botanical garden. The easiest way is the third option – take a Cable car from Rike park. Alight from the cable car at the top,turn left and walk down the track paved with stones to reach the Narikala fortress.
As we walked down the path, the walls of the fortress stood tall providing a sense of security.
The walls would have surely provided a secure refuge at a time when adversity struck.
At the end of the track you find an entrance to the fort – a steep short climb will take you inside.
The fortress is said to have been established in the 4th century and was known as “Shuris Tsikhe”. It was expanded in the 7th centry and later by King David ” The Builder”. The Mongols renamed the fort “Narin Quila” meaning Little Fortress. The name Narikala is said to have derived from the name given by the Mongols. The recent fortifications are said to be in the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1827 an earth quake damaged part of the fortress.
Once inside you can challenge yourselves to explore the area following the many hiking trails.
No wonder that such a location was chosen to build the fort, one could easily see the higher parts of the surrounding area just standing on the ground level.
Climb on to a small platform and you will be provided with a visual treat of the fantastic city down below
An all round and an uninterrupted view of the city from the platform.
Be a bit more adventurous and scale the steep steps to see for yourself how breathtaking this city is.
The stunning views would make you forget the climb, but soon you realize that you have to climb down as well !!!
Equally adventurous is the climb down,
At the lower court of the Narikala fort stands the St Nicholas church.
The church was originally a 13th century one which was destroyed in a fire. The present church was rebuilt on the same location in 1996-97 and follows the prescribed cross type with doors on the three sides. The inside of the church is said to be decorated with pictures depicting The Bible and history of Georgia. We could not manage a peep inside.
Just as we were about to leave, some tombs,tombstones and a cross caught our attention.
By now we had spent a good three hours and there were still many more places left for us to explore in the city, so we decided to wind up and bid farewell to this awesome fortress.
We came out of the fortress gates and decided to walk down to the city below. As we started to walk down we had a good view of the old and historic part of the city called Abanotubani.
The Tabor Monastery of Transformation that stood tall on the adjacent hill on the other side of Abanotubani caught my attention again and I decided to zoom in and take a closer view.
Another distinct landmark that catches your attention is a mosque with red brick exterior and a white minaret. The mosque dates back to 1895 and is still open for prayers.
Another view that one would not miss is the numerous Sulphur bath houses that now surround the hot springs.
As we walked down, we took a final look at the magnificent Narikala Fortress that seemed to kiss the skies above
We walked down a row of colorful houses that dominated the old city. Took a mental note to make an attempt to capture the beauty of this part of the city at night.
As we were about to reach the city below, we came in close vicinity of the church with the turquoise green tower, presenting an opportunity to click some pictures at a different angle compared to the shots I took earlier.
By the time we reached the foothills, it was past lunch time and we could hear grumblings from our stomach. However we decided to take only a short break to recharge our batteries with some fresh juice and continue our tour of Abanotubani. Lunch can wait.
A post on Narikala fort would not be complete without some pictures that capture its beauty at night.
Read about the sightings at Abanotubani here.