Ananuri Citadel and the Church of the Assumption, Georgia

Ananuri, a citadel used to sit on a ridge above a river that has been dammed so now sits on a point in the Zhinvili Reservoir.  The town that it towered over is underwater.  The Church of the Assumption was used as a barn in Soviet times and the frescos were whitewashed.  Some have now been uncovered.  The carvings on the outside walls of the Assumption Church include a huge cross visible from the highway and grape vines loaded with fruit.  Nicholas says the reason Georgians greet guests with wine is in commemoration of the Eucharist.  Each greeting is a form of communion.

There is a second chapel whose exterior is covered by scaffolding.  The interior is dark with an uneven floor.  We climbed through a narrow door.  Nicholas told me the walls were covered with frescoes but it was too dark to see them.  I used the light on my mobile phone to get a glimpse.  Then I decided aim my camera in a few random directions and see what came out in the flash.  Some of them are magnificent.  Others have been defaced with graffiti.  Names and dates from the 1950s are either painted over the frescoes or scratched into them.

The churches are surrounded by a wall and defensive towers.  We entered one tower and saw grooves in the stone walls which supported wooden floors.  This tower was 5 stories high.  This iconic citadel is on the cover of the current Lonely Planet guide.

I posted pictures of this site in the winter last March.  It is on the post Georgian Military Road.

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