[ July, 2018 ] On the day we headed north on the Military Highway in Georgia, we visited Ananuri Fortress and church.
It is located 66km north of Tbilisi, the capital city, and it stands on the edge of the Zhinvali Reservoir.
This reservoir is about 10km long and it supplies water and electricity to Tbilisi.
The weather was not nice and it looked like it could start raining at any time, but still, the view of the beautiful Georgian architecture on the water was fascinating.
Ananuri Fortress was built by the duke of Aragvi, who ruled this area from the 13th to the 18th century.
The highlight was the 17th century church.
The exterior wall had many intricate sculptures, such as crosses.
The sculpture of the archangels, Michael and Gabriel, were depicted like aliens, which was cute.
The inside of the church used to be full of frescoes, but according to our guide, Ana, it was painted white all over when a Russian emperor was going to visit here, after Georgia was annexed by Russia in 1801.
Because the white paint is thick, it is very difficult to recover the original frescoes.
Later, we saw some other examples of frescoes being destroyed by the Russians.
Ana did not seem to know why the Russians did this.
By the way, when the Tatar Empire attacked and surrounded Georgia, people survived by getting water and fish from the river using a secret underground passage.
One day, one man carried away and threw a trout in the air, which made the enemy realise that there was a passageway.
The Tatar captured one local woman, called Ana, and tortured her to get information about the passage, but she never told them, so the people survived, though she was killed.
So the ‘Ana’ in ‘Ananuri’ is because of her name.
I cannot remember what ‘nuri’ means, though.
At one corner of the site of this fortress, there was a hole which looked like a well.
It was not a well, but a prison, in the past.
It is so narrow that no one could sit down on the ground, so the prisoner had to stand all the time.
We also saw a tower standing nearly attached to a church.
A duke fell in love with a local woman, but she did not accept his proposal.
He got angry and locked her in this tower.
To close the entrance of the tower, he built the church very close.
We climbed up the wall of the fortress to see the beautiful view of the church and the reservoir, which was a bit scary for me.
At one part of the wall there was a round watch tower.
Apparently, this tower never got destroyed by any attacks.
After the visit, outside of the fortress, we noticed that people were taking photos on a horse, dressing up as the historical warriors of this region.
We always like this kind of service and I wanted to do that, but apparently this was only for men, so I gave up.