The soft chiming of small bells resonates in the misty surroundings, taking us to the past and the stage of a decisive battle in Georgian history. The sun penetrates through the cloudy sky, enveloping the hills in a mystical ambience.
Around an enormous stone monument at the top of a hill are dozens of massive swords thrust into the earth, posing as crosses and thus symbolisering those who lost their lives here. The extensive memorial complex includes an amfitheater with an owl keeping watch, and across the surrounding hills are sculptures of disfigured warriors.
In 1121, king David the Builder led a military campaign to free the Caucasus from Turko-Persian control. While largely outnumbered by horsemen and soldiers of the great Seljuk empire, it was a victory for king David who made use of the steep terrain and the element of surprise. The end of the Georgian-Seljuk wars led to Georgia’s liberation and reunification. (For more details, thank Wikipedia).
King David the Builder isn’t represented on this particular set of hills, but four kilometers north from here, at the edge of an outcrop. A meters’ high sculpture of him in chain mail stands proud, his arm raised with a horn in his hand.
Over the past 19 years, we have seen tons of monuments commemorating battles in some way or another, but not one has been in such an original setting. Having just arrived in Georgia, we have never heard of king David the Builder (well, here he is) or know anything about the country’s history and battles, yet we are in awe.
The wind is trying to blow us off our feet, but to no avail. We are nailed to the ground as we take in the wild surroundings of the mountains covered with forest in autumn leaves. Here, in this remote corner of central Georgia, we are all alone in this now idyllic yet wild setting of what once was a battlefield.
Above us the sky closes its curtains once more, shutting out the sun while turning on the tap. As the first drops of rain hit the ground, we take shelter in the Land Cruiser. Time for a cup of tea!
Thank you wander-lush.org for pointing out this intriguing site! If Georgia is on your route, do check out this website with a zillion blog posts about Georgia travel.
GPS Waypoint: 41.760303, 44.508118
Check it out: the Landcruising Adventure Shower Curtain Collection
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