Chakvinji fortress is located northeast of Zugdidi. It was built in the II-III centuries and was active until the XVIII century. Even in the Hellenistic age (323-33 BC) this place was connected to the Silk Road.
The monument was abandoned for more than two centuries and was severely damaged by harsh climatic conditions. During the era of Soviet totalitarian rule, a lime quarry was opened here, the removal of earth masses led to the rock breaking process, which posed a great threat to the foundation of the monument.
Most recently, Europa Nostra and the European Investment Bank Institute named Chakvinji fortress among the 7 monuments under special threat in Europe in 2023.
Europa Nostra, or "Voice of Cultural Heritage in Europe", is a European network for the protection of cultural and natural heritage. It unites 250 CSOs, 150 associates and 1500 individual members from more than 50 countries. The goal is to reveal and protect cultural and natural heritage monuments. To achieve the goal, it manages large-scale campaigns to save endangered monuments and buildings.
The Europa Nostra Award is the European Union's cultural heritage award, which is the EU's highest award and recognition. It is awarded under the following categories: conservation-restoration, research, education, public participation and awareness campaigns, "Cultural Heritage Champions".
Europa Nostra's 7 Most Endangered Programme is a campaign to save endangered monuments and landscapes in Europe. Monuments are selected according to their cultural value and also according to the existing danger.
"Getting into the nominations of Europa Nostra is recognition and showing the importance of the monument," says Maka Dvalishvili, representative of Europa Nostra in Georgia, head of the Georgian Arts & Culture Center. According to her, with the financial support of the European Investment Bank Institute, experts will study the needs of the Chakvinji fortress on the spot and develop recommendations. At the same time, the monument will receive an emergency grant of 10,000 euros from the European Investment Bank.
Most recently, with the support of the European Union Culture Project, the cultural development strategy of Zugdidi was developed, which envisages the development of Zugdidi as a city of cultural heritage innovation. Getting into Europa Nostra's nominations and Zugdidi's strategy create a favorable environment for attracting the necessary international grants for the restoration of the Chakvinji fortress.
By the way, the winner of various nominations of this prestigious European competition has been a tangible or intangible monument and project of Georgian cultural heritage.
Europa Nostra award-winning organizations and the winning projects implemented by them from Georgia:
Winners of the Europa Nostra Award
In 2021, the project of proactive conservation and monitoring system of the Vardzia Cave Complex received the Europa Nostra award (presented by the National Agency for Cultural Heritage, the Italian Higher Institute for Environmental Protection Research (ISPRA) and in cooperation with the Center for Cultural Heritage and Environmental Research of Ilia State University).
In 2019, the project for the rehabilitation of Mutso Castle Village received the Europa Nostra and "Public Choice" awards (presented by the National Agency for Cultural Heritage).
In 2018, the Europa Nostra award in the scientific research category was awarded to the project "Textile from Georgia" (presented by the Art Palace).
In 2017, in the category of trainings and community awareness, the project "Traditional Crafts Initiative in Georgia" received the Europa Nostra Award (presented by the Georgian Arts & Culture Center).
In 2006, the project for the conservation of the Timothesubini frescoes (presented by the Georgian Arts & Culture Center, in collaboration with the Italian partner organization (Conservazione Beni Culturali)) received the Europa Nostra Medal.
Special mention of the Jury of Europa Nostra
In 2018, in the awareness raising category, the project of "Artarea" company - "Tbilisi Tours and Tbilisi Yards" became the winner of the special award of the Jury of Europa Nostra.
In 2017, in the conservation-restoration category, the winner of the Europa Nostra jury's special award was the project of the Tbilisi Development Fund - rehabilitation works of historical buildings on Agmashenebeli Avenue.
In 2016, the Art Palace of Georgia was awarded a special award by the Jury of Europa Nostra for its achievements in the field of cultural heritage.
In 2015, the Georgian Arts & Culture Center was awarded a special award by the Jury of Europa Nostra for its achievements in the field of cultural heritage.
7 Most Endangered Programme
In 2023, Chakvinji fortress became a finalist of Europa Nostra's "7 Endangered Monuments" program (presented by the Georgian Arts & Culture Center in cooperation with Zugdidi Municipality Hall).
In 2021, the Narikala fortress became the nominee of Europa Nostra's "12 monuments under special threat" (presented by the Tbilisi Development Fund).
In 2018, the Chiatura ropeway project was nominated for Europa Nostra's "12 monuments under special threat" (submitted by the Ministry of Culture and Monuments Protection of Georgia).
In 2018, Davit Gareji Monastery Complex became a finalist of Europa Nostra's "7 Endangered Monuments" program (presented by the Georgian Arts & Culture Center).