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Our trip to Kazbegi _ Zhinvali Dam

Published by Sal ome — 2 years ago

Blog: 2017-2018
Tags: Erasmus blog Georgia, Georgia, Georgia


The introduction

When you are going to the north to the mountains in Georgia, there’s this one place, where you have to go through and it’s this Zhinvali Dam or water reservoir, which is a pretty beautiful place and usually the cars or tours stop there to have a look at this amazing nature and take photos, etc. we also stopped our car there and took a little break looking at the horizon on the Zhinvali dam and taking lots of photos of us there.


About Zhinvali Dam

So, this Zhinvali Dam is a complex water reservoir in the eastern Georgia and it’s located in Dusheti municipality. It’s north to the village Zhinvali and it’s 70 kilometres far from Tbilisi _ the capital of Georgia. It’s located in the middle of the Aragvi river and it’s in between Alevi, Gudamakari and Kartli ridges. It’s 11.5 square kilometres wide and the volume is 520 million cube metres. It’s maximum depth is 75 metres.

The Zhinvali Dam was built in 1985, when they built the Zhinvali hydroelectric station in the river Aragvi territories. The dam is a very important thing for providing Tbilisi with water. It provides approximately half of the city’s population with water.

The building of Zhinvali hydrocomplex started in 1971 and there was the village Zhinvali, which would be covered with water, so that the majority of the residents of the village were moved to other villages, such as Aranis and Bichnigaurtkari and Chinti.

Village underneath the water

Many people don’t know about the Zhinvali Dam and the history behind it. Only some of them have heard about the village covered with water and the church, which sometimes is seen above the water.

So, historically, there had been a village on this territory from the second half of the 12-th century, but the history goes even far back, because there have been some archeological findings there from different period of time in history. There were some expeditions on that territory in the 20-th century, however, the expeditions were not finished because of the building process of the Zhinvali dam.


On that place, where now the Zhinvali Dam is situated, once was the medieval  rich Georgian town called Zhinvali with its fortresses and castles and roads and houses. The life there was considered rich and it was pretty difficult to get there and settle there if you didn’t have some money. When the archaeological diggings began, they found those dwellings and they got to know, that there was this rich merchant-craftsmen town, where the merchants’ road was going through and it was a pretty important place in the Caucasus.

We read about the town of Zhinvali in the historical sources from Davit the Builder’s time, when he settled the Kivchaghi people in Georgia. Then the King Tamar gave the Zhinvali town to his loyal Chiaber Mandaturtukhutsesi _ royal court servant. There’s this interesting thing, that when they were digging, they found his tomb there, which was partly robbed. However, they discovered many things in the tomb and there were 17 coins from Tamarian time, which until then were just two _ one  was in Petersburg and the other one was in England.


Despite the archeological diggings, 7-8 churches were left like that and the water covered many bronze, iron and gold armory and jewelery.

There was the town fence and the gate covered with water, too, and the 12-th century “Jvaripatiosani” church became under the water, which is like that for 6 months during the year and the other 6 months it is seen above the water and people are pretty excited to see it, if you want to know the truth. It has only been a couple of decades since the church has been under the water and when the water goes down and the church is seen upon the water, it’s a pretty bad thing for it, because the water damages its walls little by little and soon it will disappear, I guess.

Well, if you are ever nearby the Zhinvali Dam, you should definitely check it out and if you are going to Kazbegi, you will definitely go through it and when you see that water from your window, you should tell them to stop the car and you should get out of it and look at the beautiful thing in front of you!


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