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  • Gonio-Apsarus Archaeological-Architectural Museum-Preserve


    Gonio-Apsarus fortress with the total area of 4,75 ha is located on the left bank of Chorokhi (in ancient times referred to as Apsarus/ Akamphsys/ Harpasosys) River. This is the place of origin of the Bronze Age Culture of the ancient Colchis and the area where the very first Georgian tribal unions Daiaene and Kulkha (XIII-VIII cc BC) were founded. According to the relatively later-time Roman and Byzantine chronicles foundation of the ancient settlement of Apsarus should have taken place in parallel to those processes of formation of early Georgian statehood. Records provided in the original works of Stephanus  of Byzantium, Artemidorus of Ephesus,  Ariane, Procopius of Caesarea and others read that the  name of the settlement is directly linked with the ride of Argonauts in ancient Colchis Kingdome, assassination on their crown –prince Apsirtus, King Ayet’s son by them and interment of the late there.

    As archeological studies have revealed the earliest layers of Gonio settlement can be dated to the turn of VIII-VII cc BC. The settlement was intensely being developed throughout the whole period of V-I cc BC.

    In I c AD Romans built here the fortress. Apsarus fortifications are first mentioned in the original work of Gaius Plinius Secundus dated to 77 AD.

    In I-III cc AD Apsarus is one of the strategically important military, political, economic and cultural centers of Eastern border of the vast Roman Empire. Five supplementary reserve cohorts were placed here (1200 - 1500 man roughly). According to Procopius of Caesarea an amphitheatre and hippodrome were arranged in Apsarus. Remains of different structures – bath-houses, military barracks, praetorium and of several others, coupled with the remnants of water supply and sewer systems, water reservoirs and wells, etc. were revealed on the territory of Gonio. All of them supported with the great number of excavated material are dated by I-III cc AD .

    In IV c AD Romans had to abandon the fortress, but for the 40-es of VI c AD they were substituted by the Byzantines. Since mid XVI until 1878 year Ottomans were holding the garrison in this stronghold.