Narikala fortress above Tbilisi

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High above the old town of Tbilisi is one of the most interesting sights in the city. The large Narikala fortress dominates the hill above the city and there are imposing views of the city from up there. And a good thing about the fortress – it is free to visit.

Church inside the Narikala Fortress

The fortress got a long history – it was originally constructed as a Persian fortress in the 4th century BC. It was later expanded significantly by David the Builder who was the most famous of the Georgian kings. Later it was remodeled – but in 1827 the Russian used the fortress as their munition depot – and the safety features of this munition depot were insufficient so a huge explosion destroyed most of the fortress.

The fortress was never rebuilt so the walls are mainly in ruins. You can get up to the fortress just by walking from the old town below the fortress or you can take the cable car from the other side of the river. We have always just walked up the hill – it is a bit of walk but it is doable for most people.

View from Narikala Fortress

The main attraction of the fortress is the option to have the view of Tbilisi with all the buildings below. But you can also go and see the old walls of the fortress.

Inside the old walls of the fortress is a church which was constructed after the fortress was destroyed. The church is still in use I am not sure how many people walk up the hill to reach this church – most locals probably go to the churches down in the city itself.

Narikala Fortress at night

Another attraction up at the fortress is the giant mother of Georgia statue. When you walk around up at the fortress you will get close to the statue.


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