Being based high on a hill, the fortress is prominent from everywhere. Residents of Tbilisi denominate it as a heart and spirit of the city, cause the citadel was built in the 4th century even earlier than the Capital of Georgia itself.
Did you hear that story?
Initially the castle was called “Shuris-Tsikhe” which in English means “Enviable Fort”. The origin of this name goes back to ancient times when the fortress was the most fortified and unapproachable fortification all alone the Silk Road.
The present name of the fort is consists of two Turkic words: “narin” – little, and “kala” – castle.
In the 7-8th centuries it was governed by Arabs, in 11th was modified by Persians, late was rebuild by Russians and finally was handed to Georgians.
The great citadel has a very long history, took part in many wars but no one was able to captured it by a brutal force. A huge number of times the originally construction of Narikala Fortress was changed. Once it was destroyed, once was rebuilt but each time the nature of demolitions were different as were different nations that left their own historical mark living over its stone walls.
Nevertheless, the latest reconstructions were caused by a nature force about 200 years ago. And since the fort was ruined by the earthquake not a single hand of a builder has been touched its debris. Fortunately, the primary walls of the castle up to now are well preserved.
What it looks like now?
Inner courts of the citadel are absolutely free for walk but some parts of fortifications are extremely dangerous to be climb up. One careless step may drive you into a deep abyss due to lack of any fences and stairs.
Church of St. Nicholas (12th century) which based inside the castle on the lower level could be an interesting place to visit if you are surely fan of old cathedrals. The inwards of church are splendidly decorated with a bright frescoes illustrating Bible stories and Georgian legends.
Somehow or other, the fortress itself is an uniqueness artifact of the architectural heritage of Georgia. And archaic atmosphere of this place will evidently teleport its visitor to another time.
How to reach?
There are two popular and different ways to climb up to Narikale Fortress.
1. To pick up a cable car.
Each trolley is designed to transport up to 8 people at one time, fitted with a comfy benches and fully transparent walls and floor.
Cable car moves gently and pretty fast which means you will have only 2 minutes for enjoying a fairy panoramic view. Most people like to take a ride after sunset as Old Town is more charming when the city lights on.
Cable-railway station is located in Rike Park on the left bank of the Kura River and works from 11:00 till 23:00.
Be alert! The payment for a ticket can be made only by travel card “MetroMoney” which should be bought and filled up beforehand.
2. To walk along the Narikala Tourist Route.
The trail of 1500 meters long is a real adventure for untrained person particularly in the days of hot weather, but everyone who dare to make this way till the end will be rewarded with unforgettable impressions.
The route leads directly up, around the fortress and brings you to the top where Mother Georgia statue is placed. Each turn of the road which starts from the entrance of Botanical Garden opens up stunning views especially at night time.
Looking for a guide?
Our team provides complimentary walking tours to the Narikale fortress. All you need is to book your spot through the web-site: tbilisifreewalkingtour.com