According to The Georgian Chronicles the city was established in the 9th century by Guaram Mampal, son of the King of Tao. From the 13th to the end of 14th centuries it was the capital city of Samtskhe-Saatabago, ruled by the Georgian princely family and a ruling dynasty of the Principality of Samtskhe, the House of Jaqeli. After the Treaty of Constantinople in 1590, the whole territory of Samtskhe-Saatabago went under the rule of Ottoman Empire. Turks Mostly used to build defensive edifices. In 1752 first mosque was built in Rabati. A mosque, a minaret, a synagogue, a Christian church, the Jakelis’ Palace, a museum and a citadel are the restored antique buildings, which can be seen at the renovation site.
The old stone Rabati fortress, the main sight of the Akhaltsikhe town, is standing on the small hill on the very shores of the Potskhovi river. Its name comes from Arabic meaning “fortified place”. It is located on the western suburbs and can be seen practically from anywhere in the city. This military building erected in the 13th century had witnessed a lot over the centuries. The fortress had been destroyed several times, was often in a siege, as a result of which had absorbed tracks of different cultures and religions. In 2012 there was held a large reconstruction after which Rabati fortress in Akhaltsikhe turned into a town within the town. It has become not only a historical monument, but a real cultural city centre. There are church, mosque, synagogue, small park, History Museum, various shops, hotels and even civil registry office inside the fortress walls.
The history of Rabati fortress goes back into the centuries and no one can definitely say when the first fortification appeared. It is known that in the 12th century Djakeli prince’s family had built here the first real fortress and it had turned into their residence for 300 years. What is interesting is that when they had erected the fortress, it had a name of “Akhaltsikhe” that is translated as “new fortress”. So the city that stretched at its walls has preserved this name up to our days.