The mosque inside Akhaltsikhe Castle, Old City

Akhaltsikhe (Georgian: ახალციხე, "New Fortress") is a small city of about 50,000 and the capital of Samtskhe-Javakheti. The city has been around for at least 800 years, and was a regional administrative center for the Ottomans from the sixteenth century up to the Russo-Turkish War. Until the twentieth century Akhaltsikhe was majority Armenian, but today, unlike most of the province, it is majority Georgian. It's a rather sleepy town, but its Old City is worth a visit, and it's a great base for exploring the surrounding areas, including Sapara Monastery and Khertvisi Fortress in the immediate vicinity.

Get in

Sapara Monastery's cupola

By train

Akhaltsikhe is connected to the main BatumiTbilisiBaku railroad by a spur through Borjomi ending in Akhaltsikhe itself. This connection, however, has been suspended since May 2013.

By marshrutka

Marshrutkas run to Akhaltsikhe's main market/bus station from Tbilisi's Didube market, as well as from the bus stations in Kutaisi and Khashuri. Coming from Kutaisi or Tbilisi, it's best to catch your ride early in the morning if you want to avoid finding another marshrutka upon arrival in Khashuri. But it's not terribly difficult to catch a marshrutka going between Akhaltsikhe and Khashuri before dinner time.

There are two marshrutkas to Yerevan, Armenia at 4:00 and 7:00 (35 GEL). If you miss them, go to Akhalkalaki, from where marshrutkas leave to Yerevan almost every hour.

From Borjomi 3GEL.

By car

The principal route to Akhaltsikhe runs from Georgia's main East-West highway (E60) at the spur in Khashuri leading to Borjomi.

There's also a route from Batumi via Gorzerdzi pass (4WD needed, closed in winter, scenic views).


Sapara Monastery, hidden in the mountain forests

Old city


The walls of Khertvisi Fortress


View of Khertvisi from the fortress


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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, February 26, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.