12 km south to Batumi city, on the left embankment of river Chorokhi, Gonio-Apsaros fortress is located which dates to the I century A.D. One of the oldest settlements in Georgia existed around this fortress. Gonio-Apsaros fortress had unique strategic function and protected entrances to Chorokhi and Acharistskali river valleys that connected South-West Georgia to the Black Sea coast. Due to its favourable location, Gonio fortress became the citadel of Roman Empire, later of Byzantium and then the Ottoman stronghold in Eastern Black Sea region. For the same reason, the fortress comprises several layers: Roman (III-IV B.C), Byzantine (VI-VII) and Ottoman (XVI). Besides, Gonio fortress was one of the most important and irreplaceable strategic fortifications used for defence purposes by Georgian kings.
Gonio-Apsaros history is closely linked to the myth of Argonauts. It is widely known that the King Aeetes buried his son Apsaros there after he was killed by the escapee Jason. According to the legend, one of Christs 12 disciples-Matatha is buried there as well.
The oral history has it that the left streamflow of Chorokhi river ran by the fortress which flew into the sea. As per the same oral tales, the river served as an important waterway for the local population through which they travelled to Artvin. In time, this streamflow was blocked and turned into the lake which is known by the name Gonio Lake today.
Gonio museum-reserve was founded in 1994. It must be noted that artefacts of the Hellenistic period were discovered during archaeological excavations on the territory of Gonio-Apsaros fortress. As a result, the buildings of public importance were uncovered, as well as items such as ceramics, bronze, silver, gold and Justinian-I coins. Gonio treasure has a special significance. It contains unique jewellery and is kept in Adjara State Museum at present.
Working hours: 10:00 - 18:00 everyday
General Admission: 3 Gel.
pupils and students: 1 Gel.
Children under 3 years old: Free admission.
General Admission with guide: 10 Gel.
homeless children, employees of Museums, ICOM members, People with disabilities, soldiers, refugees with free of charge.
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