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Gonio Fortress

Gonio-Apsaros Fortress is located 12 km south to Batumi, on the left bank of the River Chorokhi . It is a real paradise for the lovers of historical and cultural antiquities.

The total length of the walls is 900 m, height – 5 m, the towers are 7 m high. Today the fortress contains 18 towers. It used to have 22. 4 main towers were arranged in the corners of the fence. Earlier the fortress had 4 entrances but today only the western gate is in function.

Gonio-Apsaros fortress had a unique strategic significance: it protected the entrances to the Chorokhi and Acharistskali Gorges which connected South-Western inlands to the Black Sea littoral. It was its location that made Gonio fortress into one of the citadels of first the Roman Empire and then – Byzantine.

It is the region where Colchic Bronze culture and first Georgian state unions found their birthplace. According to the Roman and Byzantine sources Apsaros was formed as a settlement during that period. Its history is closely connected to the myth of the Argonauts.

According to the legend this is the site where king Ayet buried his son Apsaros, whose body was dismembered and thrown into the sea by Jason.

The interested traveler can find out that the oldest archaeological layer excavated here belongs to XVIII-XVII cc. BC. Burials of V c BC have been found outside the southern wall in Gonio. The revival of urban life has been traced since the Hellenistic Age. A number of historians claim that Gonio fortress used to be the strategic, political, economic and cultural centre of the Eastern Roman frontier. A theatre and hippodrome functioned here in I-III cc. AD. One of the twelve apostles of Christ St. Mathias is buried in Apsaros.

Archaeological excavations began in Apsaros in the 60-es of XIX century. In 1974 an important jewelry hoard belonging to II-III c AD was accidentally found. Systematic scientific works have been carried out here since 1994. Gonio-Apsaros fortress is declared the museum-preserve.

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