Vartsikhe village in Imereti Region, built at the confluence of three rivers - Rioni, Kvirila, and Khanistskali, has long history. The archaeological excavations in this area prove that Egrisi, an ancient Georgian kingdom, was located on the territory.
Distance to the location by road from:
3:40 hr
2:25 hr
0:25 hr

Vartsikhe, or Rhodopolis

The historical name of Vartsikhe, according to Greek sources, is "Rhodopolis", the city of roses, literally translated into Georgian as "Vard-tsikhe". Rhodopolis is first mentioned in Byzantine records in the 6th century.

Due to its favorable geographical location, Vartsikhe had great strategic importance. At that time, important international trade routes passed through here, such as the "Great Waterway" from India and the land route from the north.

The ancient fortress city ruins have been well-preserved and you can see the walls built by the hands of people of the first century, pottery and military weapons forged from iron.

Vartsikhe Castle

A grove of zelkova trees stands near Vartsikhe, in the middle of where the palace was built. As a result of archaeological excavations, a large part of the fortress-city complex dating back to the IV-V centuries was discovered.

Heavily damaged defensive structures have been found on the territory of the former city. The first wall was built with stone and limestone, dating to the IV-V centuries CE.

In the southwestern part of the fortress city, there are the ruins of an old wall and an adjoining residential tower, connected to the second residential tower by a large wall. Towers without entrances are interspersed along the wall. In the northern part of the castle, there are two churches from different periods.

Vartsikhe was also the summer residence of Georgian kings and they used to hunt in the nearby Ajameti forest.

Vartsikhe, also known as ancient Rhodopolis, tells us how developed the Georgian state of Egrisi was which had great geopolitical, economic, and cultural importance during that period.

Today, the Ajameti forest near Vartsikhe is a protected area, and the groves of the Imeretian oak and zelkova are on Georgia’s red list. Walk along the marked hiking trails and relax at the picnic areas arranged throughout the forest.

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