Due to its strategic location, having control of Gori Fortress meant having ownership of Shida Kartli. For centuries, the rulers of Kartli and Kakheti, the Mongols, the Persians, and the Ottomans all fought to seize control of it. In the 19th century, a Russian battalion was stationed here.
Throughout its war-torn history, Gori Fortress was destroyed and rebuilt multiple times. The citadel’s current incarnation came about in 1775, when King Erekle II had the fortress rebuilt using 16th-century artworks to guide its reconstruction.
The fortress is surrounded by an oval-shaped wall that reaches heights of up to ten metres. The wall is made from a mixture of cobblestone and hewn stone, and has been patched up with bricks in some places. From the west, the fortress is further guarded by the so-called Tskhrakara (Nine-door in Georgian). The fortress also has a tunnel that was used for bringing water from the water reservoir, and is surrounded by a moat. There are also the ruins of a small church within.
While the fortress was significantly damaged during the 1920 earthquake, it remains an impressive example of Georgian military architecture.