The condition of the 11th-century fortress of Akhalkalaki worsens every year, and there are no state programs for its preservation. Now, there are two ways to save the fortress – either renovate it or conserve it as-is and prevent further damage.
The Akhalkalaki fortress is the main attraction of the city of Akhalkalaki. The current city of Akhalkalaki appeared in 1064 on the site of the fortress. In those years, King Bagrat IV had just dealt with the opposition and put things in order in the country. But in 1066, the Seljuks invaded the city and destroyed it.
The history of the city prior to the 15th century is poorly known. In the 16th century, the Turks arrived and occupied Akhalkalaki, calling it “Ahılkelek”.
In 1828, the city was taken by the troops of Russian General Paskevich and annexed to Russia. The city’s bloody assault of that year was the most striking event in the history of Akhalkalaki.
Today, the Akhalkalaki fortress is not only dilapidated but also badly maintained. The cultural heritage of the 11th century has become a garbage dump and a toilet. This place also does not attract tourists since it isn’t part of the city’s infrastructure, and it is not indicated on tourist maps as well.
With that said, the issue of the need to preserve this historical monument of the 11th century becomes relevant from time to time. Chairman of Sakrebulo of the Akhalkalaki Municipality Nairi Iritsyan is a proponent of the restoration of the fortress and the improvement of its territory.
“This idea came to us 5-6 years ago when Rabat was being restored. We think this will attract a lot of tourists. The territory of the fortress of Akhalkalaki is large and has development potential. But we have not yet found that link in the government which we could address with concrete proposals,” said Iritsyan.
jnews conducted a small survey among the locals on what they think about the future of the fortress. Namely, they were asked which route they preferred – conservation or renovation.
Many did not wish to answer, but everybody noted that the fortress of Akhalkalaki should be brought back to normal. Most want to see the fortress as a venue for cultural events.
Shushan Shirinyan, westernarmeniatv.com
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