Once one of the most important cities in the Middle Ages kingdom of Egrisi, the historic city of Vartsikhe is located in the Baghdati Municipality, thirteen kilometres from Kutaisi. Known by the ancient Greeks as Rhodopolis, this city was of great strategic and economic importance due to its favourable location.

The Historical Past of Rhodopolis

Known locally as Vardtsikhe (rose [vardi] fortress [tsikhe]), Rhodopolis is first mentioned in 6th-century Greek sources. As the Byzantine historian Procopius wrote, the most notable cities in Lazica were Rhodopolis and Mourisius (modern-day Mukhurisi). According to Justinian, Archaeopolis and Rhodopolis were the biggest and oldest strongholds in Lazica. 

In the late Middle Ages, Vartsikhe became one of the residences of the kings of Imereti.

The Location of Rhodopolis

Rhodopolis was located in a field surrounded by forests and rivers. It is the only place in Georgia where three rivers flow into each other, and an important merchant highway once passed by Vartsikhe at the confluence of the Rioni, Kvirila, and Khanistskali Rivers.

Today there is only a ruined city there, a silent witness to ancient glory. At the southwestern edge of the fortified city is a layer of an ancient wall with the ruins of a rectangular tower attached to it. In the north there are two churches from different time periods, one of which remains only as ruins. 


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