By Tika bujiashvili& Nata Chachua
Most of us have been to Ananuri, though not all of us know about the history of the church and the village.
There are many legends about the name of the village of Ananuri. According to one legend the name of Ananuri is connected to regrets of Anna. Anna, a lord’s daughter, opened the door for the lezghins. The reason was Anna’s love to the lezghin boy. Later, when she saw the devastation of her people she regretted much.
There is another legend which says that near the river Arkala the enemy set their camps. The very morning the river flooded the place. And locals attacked them too. So later, people said, that enemy regretted to come there. But these sayings are just nothing but legends.
The building of the Ananuri fortress began in the XIV century by Aragvi Eristavi. Defensive buildings- a fence, a tower were built first. The building of the Monastery complex began in the beginning of XIV century. The fortress consists of two fortifications joined by a crenellated curtain wall. The upper fortification with a large square tower, known as Sheupovari is well-preserved. It is a seven-storey tower and dates to XVI century. The church has a pyramid style watchtower. From there the guard controlled the enemy from four sides. The lower fortification, with a round tower, is mostly in ruins. In Ananuri church there is a burial of St. Dositeos Kutateli.
There are three churches within the complex. St. Panteleimon church is the oldest and belongs to the XV-XVI century. A bell tower was built in the XVII century.The Deity church was built later.The biggest church of three is the Church of the Assumption. The church was built by Bardzim Mdivanbergi in the 1689. In the entrance of the church there is an inscription about the building of the church. According to the inscription, Kaikhosro Baghsashvili worked from morning till late night without sleeping to build the church. There are also some excerpts from St. Mary prays. You can also read: “The one who reads this pray for our souls and God will bless you too. 1689”
On the south facade of the church there is a carved grapevine cross. The Church also contains the remains of a number of frescoes, most of which were destroyed by a fire in the XVIII century.
The church was opened in 1989 by Archbishop Zosime.
The fortress overlooks the Zhinvali reservoir, which provides Tbilisi with drinking and utility water. The views of the reservoir and surrounding mountains are spectacular.
The fortress is on the UNESCO Tentative list and is one of the must see places for tourists while travelling in Georgia.
Near the Fortress you can buy some souvenirs for a good price.
Mini buses from Didube station, Tbilisi leave for Village Ananuri every hour. It takes about 40 min and the price is 3 Gel.