ნიხახის ციხე

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Date
2022
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Abstract
Nikhakhi fortress is situated in Yusufel district of Artvin province (the Republic of Turkey) in 40 km from town Yusufeli, on the road that goes in direction of Speri. The contemporary Turkish name of the village is Yokuşlu while the old name is Nikhakh (Nihah). The old name of the village is still preserved in minds of local population. The fortress is erected near the road on the banks of the Çoruh river. Nikhakhi fortress is constructed on the high hill which is 900 m above the sea level. It is interesting that Nikhakhi fortress similar to other fortresses is constructed on very unassailable place. It is situated on a hill in mountainous area and in front of this fortress a lots of large estates are placed. Among the other obligations of the owner of the fortress was the protection of roads and estates which are in that gorge. In the Georgian defense system fortresses erected for the defense of the roads leading to Tao (south-western province of historical Georgia, now part of the Republic of Turkey) are very important. Those roads needed special defense and care as the roads and the households that were situated in this vicinity must have been protected. Except for the roads coming from outside the Georgian borders there were fortresses built for the protection of the roads connecting the different Georgian provinces with each other. Nikhakhi fortress is especially interesting as it lies on the road that comes from Speri (historical province in the south of Tao, now Ispir in the Republic of Turkey). Speri province, mount of Speri and the road that comes from this region was the border of historical Georgia. Hence, the Georgian kings were very concerned for the protection and strengthening of those roads. The Çoruh River valley as well as the whole Tao was inhabited by the Georgian tribes at the beginning. From 12th to 8th centuries BC it was part of Diaokhi. Later, from 4th-3rd centuries BC this land was the part of Kingdom of Iberia and was annexed by the Armenians in the beginning of 2nd century BC. Since that period the part of Tao where Nihahi is located was under the Georgian or the Byzantine control as well. At last, in the second half of the 8th century the Georgian Bagrationi managed the recapture those lands. Later, during existence of the United Georgian Kingdom this land was properly defended. In 1231-1232 sultan of Rum Kayqubad I (1220-1237) campaigned against Nikhakhi fortress. Seljuks managed to capture the fortress, but the Georgian regained it soon. After the division of the United Georgian Kingdom Tao became a part of Samtskhe-Saatabago. The independence of this principality was soon challenged by the Ottomans. According to the Turkish sources this process was opposed by the local feudal lords. According to the historical sources (İbrahim Peçevi, Ḥasan Beg Rumlu etc.) Nikhakhi fortress was conquered by sultan Suleiman I (1520-1566) in 1549.Sultan had valued this victory very much. He sent the letters in Europe for the commemoration of this victory which he won against the Georgians. In the letter that was sent to the French king Henry II Valois (1547-1559) sultan had praised himself for the capture of Tortom, Nikhakh and Akçakale (Azordi) fortresses. During the next sultan Selim II (1566-1574) the Ottomans made the first census in the newly conquered lands. Nikhakhi was listed in “Gürcistan Vilâyeti Defteri of 1574”. According to the administrative division Nikhakhi fortress and its settlement was assigned to Pertekrek nahie (district). According to that census 50 families lived in the village. Nikhakhi population paid the same taxes as other villages of Gürcistan Vilâyet. Defteri (Census Book) includes taxes on ispençe (tax levied from non-Muslims), badihava (tax for Air), resm-i arusane (bride-tax), tapu resmi (was a feudal land-registration tax), taxes on fruits and vegetables Hay tax, Resm-i hınzır (pig tax), beehive taxe etc. Nikhakhi fortress as we have already mentioned is situated near the road on the high hill. Despite this fact it should have been well fortified. At the west of the fortress there is tower about 10 meters height. It is a construction that has several floors which are later addition and the product of reconstruction of this building. The tower has embrasures as well. The tower is also constructed with the use of fragmented stones and limestone. Entry gate was above the ground level, but now it lies on the ground. The whole territory of Nikhakhi fortress was dug up by the treasure seekers. The courtyard of the fortress is overclouded with remnants of limestone and ceramics.
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ნიხახი, ციხეები, ართვინი, იუსუფელი
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ივანე ჯავახიშვილის სახელობის თბილისის სახელმწიფო უნივერსიტეტის საქართველოს ისტორიის ინსტიტუტის შრომები, XIII, თბილისი, 2018, გვ. 206-244 / Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University Institute of Georgian History Proceedings, XIII, Tbilisi, 2018, pp. 206-244
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