At the beginning of the 17th century, an Armenian merchant by the surname of Saakashvili saved Gori from the invasion of the Ottoman army.
In 1603, Shah Abbas the Great of Iran declared war on the Ottoman Empire that was at that time ruled by thirteen-year-old Ahmed the First. Persia defeated the Ottomans and gradually drove them out of all the territories that had belonged to them under the Istanbul Agreement, including Georgia.
At the end of 1608, the widow of Atabek Samtskhe Helena with the support of the troops of the Kartli kingdom and the Iranians expelled the Turks from Akhaltsikhe.
Furious, the Ottoman sultan in response sent a large army in Samtskhe. The Turks did not meet any serious resistance in Samtskhe. The Turkish troops did not stop there and in 1609 proceeded to Kvemo Kartli.
Kartli’s king Luarsab at the time was in his residence, the Tskhireti Castle. The Ottoman forces for a long time wandered around his residence, unable to find the right path to the king’s possessions.
While the Turks were searching for the camp of the Kartli king, the king’s troops got ready for the approach of the enemy army. And during the decisive battle, the Georgians defeated the Turks and forced them to retreat.
The retreating enemy units approached the Kur River. The water level was high, forcing the Turks to go up the river. Soon, the Turks approached the defenseless Gori.
“Who knows what fate awaited the city if not for an Armenian merchant named Saakashvili who noticed the approach of the enemy,” writes Georgian historian Vano Sulori in an interview with Sputnik Georgia.
The Armenian merchant dismantled the bridge and thus prevented the Turks from attacking Gori. The Turks were forced to retreat to Tashiskari where they were awaited by the Georgian army. There, on June 16, 1609, the Georgians smashed the Turkish troops and put them into retreat.