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Gonio Fortress, Gonio

The Gonio-Apsarus fort (length: 222m, width: 195m, total area: 4.75ha) is situated on the left bank of the mouth of the river of Chorokhi (ancient Harpasus®Apsarus®Acampsis), within 12km of Batumi. The height of the walls 5m, while at the corners, where the towers are erected 7m. At present the fort has 18 towers, but originally it had 22.

This is region where the magnificent Colchian culture and first Georgian state entities: Dayaeni and Qulha (13th-8th centuries BC) came into being. Some Roman and Byzantine sources said that, the rise of Apsarus as a settled point belongs to precisely this period. According to the evidence of Stephanus of Byzantine, Artemidorus of Ephesus, Arrian, Procopius, etc. the origin of Apsarus is linked to the expedition of the Argonauts to Aeaea-Colchis, killing of son of King Aeetes, Apsyrtus and burring him here.

The latest data point to the rise of the first settlements here in the 8th-7th centuries BC. Apsarus played an important role in the Classical (5th-4th centuries BC) and Hellenistic (4th-1st centuries BC) periods as well. Namely, built of fortification is linked to Romans. For the first time this castellum was mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his work of AD 77. Apsarus was one of the military, political, economical and cultural centres of Roman world in the Eastern frontier in the 1st-3rd centuries AD. Five auxiliary cohorts (ca. 1200-1500 soldiers) were served and the theatre and hippodrome were functioned here. According some sources (Epiphanius of Cyprus, Dorotheos of Tyre, Sophron, etc.) apostle Matthias is buried in Apsarus. The Byzantines were fortified here from the 40s of the 6th century. This fort is known as Acampsis in the 10th century and as Gonio in the 14th century. Serious Ottoman garrison was stationed here in 1547-1878. Heinrich Schliemann, Niko Marr and Theodor Uspenskiy became interested by the history of Apsarus. Small-scale field-exploratory work became possible by the 1960s on this site. A particularly rich gold hoard dated by the 1st-2nd centuries AD was discovered in 1974 during road construction on a slope near the fort. Since 1994, the Gonio-Apsarus Museum and Preservation standing archaeological expedition has carried on large-scale systematic studies.
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Gonio Fortress Reviews
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90 reviews
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  • It's really close to nation like half an hour driving, if you are a history lover and nature person you should visit this place it's great and if you visit during summer you can go for a swim afterwar...  more »
  • I really liked it! Interestingly enough, inside the newly built fortress are the ruins of an ancient Roman Fortress. Painted around all the beautiful flowers, shrubs and trees. You can climb on the wall of the fortress. Still there is a museum with excavations.
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  • Enterens costs 3 gel for adults and 1 gel for children. It is interesting place to visit with nice garden and tropic fruits incide. There is a small interesting museum on territory. I recommend to vis...  more »
Google
  • It's quite small, but very old, built in the 1st c AD. Well preserved and maintained. Nice views. Definitely worth an hour's visit when you're staying in the area.
  • We'll kept fortress with a lot of history and a lot less restrictions in exploring it than you would expect. You can walk the walls, check the digs. Great fun. Plan at most two hours.
  • A view back into history of roman presence in this region and shows how well organized system they had in the castle ruins. From armory to underground water pipelines and baths. Wonderful place..must visit
  • There are basically just the walls you see from outside, which are fairly large. But the inside is a bit poor... A little museum in the middle makes it interesting enough.
  • Exploring Roman defensive architecture in Georgia is something unusual! It's really worth to see

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