Nokalakevi is an ancient Colchian fortress (🎫10 GEL) built on the banks of the Tekhuri River in Western Georgia. It’s been mooted as one of the (many) places to have housed the Golden Fleece. The oldest layer dates back to the 8th-7th centuries BC, although traces of life in this area begin from the beginning of the 1st millennium BC. Roman and Byzantine historians referred to this city as Archeopolis, although in earlier Georgian chronicles, it was called Tsikhegoji (Fortress of Kuji). Fortress commanded an important crossing point of the Tekhuri, at the junction with a strategic route that still winds through the neighboring hills to Chkhorotsqu in central Samegrelo. It played a part in the major wars between the Byzantines and Sasanians in the South Caucasus during the sixth century AD. The early Byzantine defensive fortifications take advantage of the site’s position within a loop of the river Tekhuri, which has carved a gorge through the local limestone to the west of the fortress. The steep and rugged terrain to the north of the site made the citadel established there almost unassailable. The impressively engineered tunnel on the far side of the complex leads down to the river.
Parking location – Nokalakevi: 42.357321N 42.197082E (🚻)