Akhaltsikhe (Georgian: ახალციხე, literally new castle; also known as Lomisa, Armenian: Ախալցխա, Turkish: Ahıska) is a small city in Georgia's southwestern region (mkhare) of Samtskhe-Javakheti. It is situated on the both banks of a small river Potskhovi, which separates the city to the old city in the north and new in the south. The name of the city translates from Georgian as "new fortress".
The city is first mentioned in the chronicles in the 12th century. In the 12th - 13th centuries it was the seat of the Akhaltsikhelis, dukes of Samtskhe, whose two most illustrious representatives were Shalva and Ivane Akhaltsikheli (of Akhaltsikhe). From the 13th up to the 17th century the city and Samtkhe were governed by the feudal family of the Jaqelis. In 1576 the Ottomans took it and from 1628 the city became the centre of the Samtskhe Eyalet of the Ottoman Empire as "Ahıska". In 1828, during the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829, Russian troops under the command of General Paskevich captured the city and, as a consequence of the 1829 Treaty of Adrianople (Edirne), it was ceded to the Russian Empire as part of first Kutaisi and then Tbilisigovernorates. In the old part of the city one can see an old fortress, castle and mosque, the old fortress of the Jakelis (13th-14th century), and St. Marine's Church. The hills nearby the city harbour the Sapara Monastery (10th - 14th centuries).
Detail from a map of Rigobert Bonne, published in Geneve in 1780. The detail shows Akhaltsikhe, Georgia
According to the 2002 Census, the city's population with the many surrounding villages was 46,134. The city proper is currently estimated by locals to be about 20,000. In 2002 the majority were ethnic Georgians (28,473, or 61%), with minority of Armenians (16,879, or 37%).