Sites & cities that bear the name of Nokalakevi


Today in : Georgia
First trace of activity : ca. 8th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Aia?, Aea?, Ἀρχαιόπολις, Archaeopolis , Tsikhegoji, Djikha Kvinji

Description : Nokalakevi (Georgian: ნოქალაქევი) also known as Archaeopolis (Ancient Greek: Ἀρχαιόπολις, "Old City") and Tsikhegoji (in Georgian "Fortress of Kuji") and according to some sources "Djikha Kvinji" in Mingrelian, is a village and archaeological site in the Senaki municipality, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti region, Georgia. Located by the Tekhuri River, on the northern edge of the Colchian plain in Samegrelo, western Georgia, lie the ruins of Nokalakevi. Occupying approximately 20ha, the site was known to early Byzantine historians as Archæopolis, and to the neighbouring Georgian (Kartlian) chroniclers as Tsikhegoji, or the fortress of Kuji — a Colchian ruler or eristavi. The fortress is located 15 km from the modern town of Senaki on the Martvili road, and would have commanded an important crossing point of the river Tekhuri, at the junction with a strategic route that still winds through the neighbouring hills to Chkhorotsqu in central Samegrelo. Nokalakevi-Archaeopolis played a part in the major wars fought between the Byzantines and Sasanians in the South Caucasus during the sixth century AD. It was one of the key fortresses guarding Lazika (modern Mingrelia) from Sasanian, Persian and Iberian (East Georgian/Kartlian) attack. During the war of AD 540-562, the Persians' failure to take Nokalakevi-Archaeopolis from the Byzantines and the Laz eventually cost them control of Lazika. The early Byzantine defensive fortifications of Nokalakevi-Archaeopolis 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. A wall connected this 'upper town' to the 'lower town' below, where excavations have revealed stone buildings of the fourth to sixth century AD. Beneath these late Roman period layers there is evidence of several earlier phases of occupation and abandonment, from the eighth to second centuries BC

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