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Samshvilde archaeological settlement is located in the Southern part of Georgian Rebulic. The study of the site started in 2012 by Samshvilde archaeological expedition of UG /University of Georgia/

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Geographical description

Chivchavi River coming from the Bedeni Mountain is the left tributary of the Khrami River. Along the Chivchavi River, on the location called Nadarbazevi there are the ruins of one of the holiday palaces of queenTamar of Georgia, and between the Chivchavi river and the river of Khrami there is the Orbi or Samshvilde fortress.  Apparently, in early days together with this one of the oldest fortresses there existed a fortress city as well. Today there is a small village of Samshvilde.

 

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 Brief history

According to the Georgian historical tradition, the Samshvilde fortress was to be built by Kartlos, the Georgian ethnarch. Therefore, it must have been built within the period from the time of the Kartlos’ father Targamos to King Parnavaz.  As the analysis of the historical sources shows, they must have been built place in the mid 4th century, AD, when King Bakur of Kartli assigned the Sassanian relative of his father Mirian to the position of Kartli bidaxae. Thereafter till the middle of the 8th century the Persians ruled the region choosing Samsvilde as their residence.  

 In the 5th century Samshvilde was such a significant city that it was ruled by the heirs to the throne of Kartli, among them by the father of Vakhtang Gargasali, who resided in Samshvilde together with his wife Sagdukht before accession to the throne. Sagdukht built  Samshvilde Sioni church dedicated to the Mother of God. The church was significantly altered in the 8th century. Today there are just the ruins of the Samshvilde Sioni church remained. 

Weakening and destruction of the Sasanian dynasty is connected with the Arab invasion. Actually, the region of Samshvilde and its central fortress city were the first to be attacked by the Arabs coming from south against Tbilisi, and Sasanian dynasty appeared to fell a victim to that invasion. In the mid 8th century the Arabs were firmly established in Kvemo Kartli including Samshvilde. At the end of the 9th century, when almost all the region of Southern Georgia was temporarily conquered by the Ani Kingdom of Armenia, they formed their vassal kingdom, which is known as the Tashir-Dzoraget Kingdom in history. The kingdom was ruled by Armenian Bagratuns, and as far as the central city of their residence was Samshvilde fortress they were referred to as Samshvilders that means Samshvidians.

At the beginning of the 11th century, in the time of the Tashir-Dzoraget King David the Landless they built the Lori fortress and the Samshvildians moved their residence to Lori. It was in the 60s of the 11th century when Georgian kings intensified attacks against Samshvildians and King Bagrat IV of Georgia (1027 -1072) took over several significant fortresses including Samshvilde.

Later, Samshvilde being under the control of Seljuks for a while  was released   by King David the Builder (1089-1125) and reunited  with Georgia.

Till the 18th century Samshvilde fortress city played an important role in the history of the Kartli Kingdom, and  then in the history of the Unified Georgia.