Archaeological and Architectural Museum-Reserve Peter Fortress
Georgia, Kobuleti

Museum-reserve Peter Fortress was founded in 1989. It includes fortifications dating back to the early Middle Ages, as well as the remains of a VI century basilica, various buildings and more. Petra Fortress is one of the most significant monuments of material culture on the entire east coast of the Black Sea. During excavations on its territory (7 hectares), archaeological sites were discovered that date back to the Late Bronze Age - Early Iron, and up to the medieval period.
There were once settlements on the site of the fortress. Archaeologists have revealed cultural layers, the earliest of which date from the late Bronze Age - Early Iron Age (II - I millennium BC).
This territory has historically been a settlement of one of the ancient Kartvel tribes - Laz. Due to the unique military-strategic and trade-economic location, the Byzantine emperor Justinian I in this place built up a fortified city. An important land road passed through the city, which connected western Georgia, the Byzantine provinces, Persia and Armenia. Maritime and coastal shipping was also well developed. Some sources indicate that the need to found the fortress of the emperor was convinced by a certain commander John Ziv, who is mentioned as a man of "unknown and low origin, who rose to the rank of stratig only because he was the most unfit of all people and the most capable of finding funds for the illegal acquisition of money. "
The Acropolis of Petra was located on a high steep rock on the Black Sea, from the land side, in addition to the stone fence, it was protected by a rocky relief (hence the Greek name “Petra” - stone, rock). From the fortress of Peter the coastal shipping from Byzantium to the eastern shores of the Black Sea was controlled. Byzantium and Persia were very interested in the possession of Petra, since their political and economic expansion in this region depended on control of the fortress of Peter. This was one of the reasons for the war between Byzantium and Persia in the middle of the VI century, and later between Russia and Turkey.
During the so-called Laz Wars, which lasted from 541 to 562, the fortress was captured by the Persians under the command of Khosrov I. In 549, the Byzantine army under the command of Dagisfei made an attempt to recapture the fortress. But this military company failed. Only after the end of the next stage of the war with Persia, the Byzantines managed to regain control of Petra, they subsequently destroyed it. Perhaps the fortress was no longer needed.
One curious moment. In Petra, from the first half of the 6th century to the 10th century, there was a bishop's department. How to correlate this with information that the fortress was destroyed? Perhaps, in fact, “destruction” means something else - that Petra ceased to exist precisely as a defensive structure.
The main excavations of the fortress were carried out in the early 60s of the XX century. During the excavations, the remains of two early medieval structures, a basilica and a bath, which make up a single architectural ensemble, were discovered. The architecture of the bath is characteristic of the late antique period. Traces of rectangular columns in section are visible along it. These are the remains of the portico adjacent to the bathhouse.
And in 2010 or 2011, when cleaning the walls of the fortress, a cross was found, laid out with ceramic plates and decorating the main (eastern) gate. The cross is shown to the right of the entrance.
Also, as a result of relatively recent excavations north of the basilica, a well was dug 15 meters deep. Perhaps in the future searches will lead to other finds. A grave was discovered near the basilica. Most likely, one of the clergy was buried there. Also, archaeologists discovered an ancient mosaic on the territory of the fortress, but what became of it is unclear. It seems that this find was mothballed.
Some scientists identify the Petra fortress with the Kadzheti fortress from “The Knight in the Tiger Skin”.
Some gold, silver and bronze artifacts found in the complex during excavations are exhibited in the local museum. They span a large period of time, from the pre-antique period to the early Middle Ages. The most significant of the finds are the following: the remains of the V century BC basilica, architectural details from several structures, including marble capitals and capitals made of other materials, fragments of mosaics, ancient and Hellenistic tombs, artifacts and architectural details of buildings dated to VIII- VI centuries (the remains of late reconstructions of buildings of the IV-V centuries), many weapons and tools that were used for economic activities.
The numismatic collection of the museum is one of the richest in the region, although most of the items were found by chance. This is a very interesting collection of Greek, Roman, Parthian, Sassanian, Byzantine, Arab and Ottoman coins. Some coins found here are exhibited in other museums and collections.
The archaeological sites of Tsikhisdziri provide valuable and rich material for a better understanding of the complex political, cultural and economic relations between Byzantium, Iran and the kingdom of Laz.
Http://www.tury.ru/sight/id/21188 will acquaint about some artifacts found on the territory of the fortress.

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