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Zhinvali reservoir and Ananuri castle are some of the best and picturesque destinations in Georgia. Many tourists like this route because they manage to visit both historical places and natural monuments. Distance between Tbilisi and Ananuri is approximately 1 h 15 min. Take your preferred car from Enterprise Rent-A-Car and head out via Tbilisi-Senaki-Leselidze highway.
Zhinvali lake is not a natural lake, but an artificial reservoir. It is located near Georgian Military Road. In the 1980s Soviet authorities decided to build a dam and supply water to rapidly growing Tbilisi. They thought that the Aragvi Gorge is rich with glacier water, so the place was perfect for reservoir construction.
However, the central authority decided to destroy buildings and fill the area with water. The only standing structure is the 12th church. When the water level decreases the top of the church is reappearing. Now the lake is one of the stunning places of Georgia, which keeps many untold secrets and legends. One of them tells that if someone dives into the water and rings the church's bells any wish will come true. In spite of this legend, swimming in the lake is not recommended.
Ananuri castle is located on the Aragvi river. It is one of the best-protected historical monuments in Georgia. Initially, this medieval fortress was used for military purposes. Then it became the residence of the Dukes of Aragvi, which ruled the places from the 13th century. One of the dramatic parts of Ananuri fortress history is the invasions of Shanshe of Ksani in the 17th century when the Aragvi clan was massacred. The castle has 2 churches, towers. In the Church of Virgin have buried some Dukes of Aragvi. Tower of Ananuri fortress opens breathtaking panoramic sceneries. Colorful Zhinvali lake and mountains will amaze you.
Below the castle, you can find an old road and Ananuri bridge, regularly flooded by water from the reservoir. From time to time people can see 2 pillars of the bridge. When the water level extremely decreases the entire bridge can be seen too. Since 2007 the complex is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ananuri fortress opening hours do not change during the week. So it is always open for visitors from 9AM-8PM. There are no entrance tickets.
Add Zhinvali lake and Ananuri fortress to your Georgian itinerary, rent a car via Enterprise Rent-A-Car and enjoy the unforgettable memories in Georgia.
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Trip to Zhinvali lake and Ananuri fortress