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Coordinates: 41°36′32″N 44°32′21″E / 41.60889°N 44.53917°E / 41.60889; 44.53917

The Birtvisi canyon with the Sheupovari tower on top of a rock.

Birtvisi (Georgian: ბირთვისი) is a ruined medieval fortress in Kvemo Kartli, Georgia, nested within limestone cliffs in the Algeti river gorge. It is now within the boundaries of the Tetri-Tsqaro municipality, adjacent to the Algeti National Park, south-west of the nation's capital Tbilisi.[1]

Birtvisi is essentially a natural rocky fortress of 1 km², secured by walls and towers, the most prominent of which – known as Sheupovari ("Obstinate") – tops the tallest rock in the area. Various accessory structures, an aqueduct included, have also survived.[2]

In written sources, Birtvisi is first mentioned as a possession of the Arab amir of Tiflis of which he was divested by the Georgian nobles Liparit, Duke of Kldekari and Ivane Abazasdze in 1038.[3] In medieval Georgia, Birtvisi entertained a reputation of an impregnable stronghold whose master could control the entire strategic Algeti gorge. The Turco-Mongol amir Timur notably reduced the fortress during one of his invasions of Georgia in 1403.[4] After the partition of the Kingdom of Georgia later in the 15th century, Birtvisi was within the borders of the Kingdom of Kartli and in possession of the princes Baratashvili.[2]


  1. ^ Protected Areas: Algeti National Park. Agency of Protected Areas of Georgia. Accessed June 18, 2011.
  2. ^ a b (in Georgian) ზაქარაია პ. საქართველოს ციხე-ქალაქები, ციხესიმაგრეები, ციხე-დარბაზები, ციხე-გალავნები, კოშკები.-თბ.,2001.-გვ.86-88.
  3. ^ Thomson, Robert W. (1996), Rewriting Caucasian History, p. 289. Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-826373-2
  4. ^ Allen, William Edward David (1932), A History of the Georgian People: From the Beginning Down to the Russian Conquest in the Nineteenth Century, p. 125. Taylor & Francis

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