Armaztsike (Bagineti)

Armaztsike (Bagineti)

Armaztsikhe was the very first capital city of Kartli, and was rediscovered many centuries later during archaeological excavations. Its ruins tell us a great deal about the everyday lives of Georgians in antiquity.

The Location of Armaztsikhe

Armaztsikhe is located on Bagineti Mountain, near the Mtskheta-Tbilisi Highway. The archaeological objects found here speak to its importance as a cultural, historical, and strategic center.

The name Armaztsikhe refers to the idol of Armazi, the chief God as proclaimed by King Parnavaz in the pre-Christian period of Georgia’s history.

The Structure of Armaztsikhe

The remains of a wall, towers, bulwarks, the base of the Armazi Idol, a palatial building, a wine cellar, a bathhouse, and plumbing are just a few of the ancient structures that remain here today. The unique style of these gold, silver, and bronze-accented structures shows us that the site’s builders were from a progressive culture with an appreciation for the arts.

There is more to Armaztsikhe that just these impressive ruins, however, as three distinct layers of culture have been unearthed during excavations here. The lowest (Armaztsikhe I) belongs to the 4th-3rd centuries BCE, the middle (Armaztsikhe II) to the 3rd - 1st centuries BCE, and the highest (Armaztsikhe  III) to the 1st century and beyond.

These layers demonstrate the significance of this city to the surrounding region.

The Historical Past of Armaztsikhe

Until the founding of Tbilisi, Armaztsikhe held significant strategic importance. Later, it became the residence of the kings. 

Unfortunately, it was seriously damaged during the invasions of Marwan II in the 7th century and fell into disrepair after the later Mongol and Turkish invasions.

Still, what remains is an impressive testament to the craftsmanship and endurance of the ancient Georgian people.

Nowadays, there is a very interesting field museum, where you can explore the sights discovered during the excavation.

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