Batonis Tsikhe Fortress

Cover image © Pavel Ageychenko

Tucked away in Telavi, the heart of Georgia's eastern region, lies a majestic testament to the country's rich history: Batonis Tsikhe, or "The Lord's Castle." This architectural marvel, dating from the 17th to 18th centuries, stands as a chronicle of Georgia's bygone days and houses the secrets of the kings of Kakheti.

This fascinating complex, the fortress of the master, has been preserved through turbulent times, notably the reigns of King Archil and King Erekle II, known as The Little Kakhetian. It includes vestiges of a Persian-style palace, hinting at the Safavid influence of the era. Much of the surviving edifice, clearly inspired by Iran's Arg of Karim Khan, arose during the reign of Heraclius II in the mid-18th century.

Archil commissioned the original palace between 1664 and 1675, and its unique architecture, reminiscent of contemporary Persian palaces, still reveals itself today despite numerous reconstructions due to historical upheavals. The castle complex includes two royal basilica chapels, bathhouses, all encircled by a monumental rampart crowned with circular corner towers.

Erekle II, during his rule from 1750 to 1762, extended the palace, imprinting his influence on the now rectangular building adorned with high ceilings, pointed arches, and four balconies each facing a cardinal point. The palace's interior decorations likely included stucco, mirror mosaics, and oil paintings, although these have not survived the passage of time.

The Batonis Tsikhe complex, now housing a museum displaying archaeological artifacts, manuscripts, rare publications, military equipment, and a fine arts gallery, underwent extensive renovation in 2018. A new museum was constructed to showcase the renovated collections, continuing the site's long legacy of hosting important events, such as the inauguration ceremony of Georgia's fifth President, Salome Zourabichvili.

For any visitor, Batonis Tsikhe stands as a proud testament to Georgia's royal past, telling the tales of monarchs whose decisions shaped the future of this beautiful land.

Nearest to Batonis Tsikhe Fortress

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