Birtvisi is a ruined medieval fortress in Kvemo Kartli, Georgia, nested within limestone cliffs in the Algeti river gorge. It is now within the boundaries of the Tetri-Tsqaro municipality, adjacent to the Algeti National Park.
Birtvisi is essentially a natural rocky fortress of 1 km², secured by walls and towers, the most prominent of which – known as Sheupovari ('Obstinate') – tops the tallest rock in the area. Various accessory structures, an aqueduct included, have also survived.
In written sources, Birtvisi is first mentioned as a possession of the Arab amir of Tiflis of which he was divested by the Georgian nobles Liparit, Duke of Kldekari and Ivane Abazasdze in 1038. In medieval Georgia, Birtvisi entertained a reputation of an impregnable stronghold whose master could control the entire strategic Algeti gorge. The Turco-Mongol amir Timur notably reduced the fortress during one of his invasions of Georgia in 1403. After the partition of the Kingdom of Georgia later in the 15th century, Birtvisi was within the borders of the Kingdom of Kartli and in possession of the princes Baratashvili.References:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.