Khikhani fortress or Khirkhati fortress also known as Abuseridzes family fortress. Is a medieval fortress located in Adjara, in the upper village Tkhilvana of Khulo municipality, at an elevation of 2200 meters above sea level, near the border of Georgia and Turkey.
The exact date of building Khikhani fortress is unknown, but most of scientists think it was built in the X-XIII centuries. Khikhani fortress was one of the most important fortresses in Adjara. The castle is strategically located in a very convenient location, as it has one pedestrian access from the south-eastern side. It used to be a shelter for the local lords.
The fortress used to be the main residence of the noble Abuseridze family in the late middle ages. The ruler of Adjara, Selim Khimshiashvili, fighting against Ottoman Empire was hiding at some point in Khikhani. There are several layers in the building blocks of the castle: ancient (X-XI century’s period), and new ones (XVII-XIX century’s period, Ottoman ownership period).
In the historical documents, it is stated that the completion of the construction of Khikhani fortress was guided by Tbel Abuseridze’s wife – Bagula. However, also the legend exists, according to which the building of the fortress is assigned to King Tamar – Georgia’s only female king.
The fortress used to have a secret underground passage. Recently, 43 clay pots (“Qvevri”) have been discovered by archaeologists underneath the Khikhani fortress. The newly-discovered wine cellar dates back to the 11-13th centuries.
Nowadays, only ruins are preserved from this formerly inaccessible building: four rectangular towers, a brick wall, a bakery, wine cellar, a water well, and St. George’s Church. The fortress had the curtain wall, some parts of which are nowadays destroyed.
There are several ways to get to the Khikhani fortress. Let’s take a look at each of them!
You can only get to Khikani fortress on foot. The closest point that is reachable with a normal car is Bako village, from there on the road get’s worse and should be driven with an off-road car.
Depending on the weather it might even be hard to reach Bako with a normal car. In winter these villages are isolated from the outer world and not reachable. If the weather is good you can try to drive closer than Bako but this is at your own risk!
In both Khikadziri and Bako you can find guesthouses to stay at another option is to camp at Khikani fortress itself (scroll down for more info).
Hiking from Khikadziri – long route (no off-road car needed to reach)
Walking time (one-way-up): 3h30min
Hiking from Bako – middle route
Walking time (one-way-up): 2h12min
Hiking from forest border – short route (off-road car needed to reach)
Walking time (one-way-up): 1h10min
For this part you’ll need a jeep that can take you further from Khikadziri to the forest near Khikani fortress, the rest of the way you’ll have to walk.
Hiking times are based on someone who has a normal condition. If you have a good condition it will probably take you less time. On the other hand if you have a bad condition it will take you longer. Also when hiking in bad weather, the trip will take longer as the road will be slippery so you will have to be more careful.
Also note that the way back will go faster than to way to go.
While the path to Khikani fortress is staightforward, it might be that you would like to use a map. On Google maps you cannot find directions to Khikani fortress so we recommend using Maps.me.
If you want to drive this way on your own. We have compiled for you a list of car rental companies in Batumi.
You can proceed as follows: go from Batumi to the village of Bako, which is located just 6 km from the Khikhani fortress. In Bako, you can stay in guesthouses, which we have indicated below in this post.
The road from Batumi to Bako is good. You can get to Bako by any car. You can also rent a car, or take a taxi, or use the services of local drivers, whose numbers are also listed in this post. (scroll below)
You can also take a taxi.
If you use the services of private drivers, the prices may vary. There is a risk of falling into a typical tourist story: if you are not guided by local prices, then you may be given a too high price. To avoid unexpected situations, we advise you to use the services of trusted taxi companies.
You can use Yandex Taxi, Maxim or Bolt App. Available for both Apple Store and GooglePlay.
Each of the companies has a different tariff, but for an approximate presentation of prices, we chose in the different application the same route from the center of Batumi to the center of Khulo.
We personally prefer bolt as it’s user friendly and drivers are always friendly.
In case you do not want to use the services of taxi companies, we have a contact with a reliable taxi driver, whose services you can use.
+995 568626939 Achiko
Our friend’s driver Achiko has both a passenger car and a jeep. The cost of a trip from Batumi to Khulo in a sedan will be about 100 GEL. The cost of a jeep trip from Batumi to Khulo will be approximately 130 GEL. In case of stops, if you want to visit different places along the way, the price for the trip may rise slightly. You can discuss all this personally with the driver and agree on how it will be more convenient for you.
Achiko can also become your guide on the way from Batumi right to the Khikhani fortress. In this case, a trip by jeep (only a car of this type can reach Khikhani) will cost about 200 GEL.
It is important to note that if our friend Achiko is busy and cannot provide you with his services, he will gladly help you organize a trip where either his brother or his father will be the driver. They also own both passenger cars and jeeps.
There is no direct way from Batumi to Khikhani Fortress (as for now) by public transport. You can take public transport to the center of Khulo. There used to be a marshutka that would go from Batumi to Khikhadziri but at the moment of writting this post the connection was halted.
You can call the tourism information center to double check:
+995 577 90 90 91
Right now you first need to go to Khulo and from there go to Khikhadziri.
From the old bus station in Batumi (see location: https://goo.gl/maps/hVxUwSbuhKTrcYyc7 ) the so-called “marshrutka” – minibus number 1 departs. The stencil will indicate Batumi – Khulo (in Georgian, but you can ask the locals). The cost of the trip is approximately 6 GEL.
Frequency: every 30 min
Working hours: 8am – 8pm
There are several ways to get to the Khikhani fortress from the center of Khulo:
+995 577 90 90 93
Make sure you choose a sunny day for your trip. Best time to visit: May, June, July, August, September, October;
According to the tourist information center, it is almost impossible to visit the Khikhani fortress in winter. We think that the matter is not only in the weather conditions, but also in the fact that the road to Khikhani is rather difficult. Probably, people with experience of such travel will still be able to get to Khikhani, this is not Everest, but without experience of winter hiking it shouldn’t be done!
Start hiking early in the morning;
Make sure you have your ID/Passport with you, as the border guards may ask for it;
Don’t forget to bring a cap and a bottle of water with you.
There is a small hut that is open for tourists. It however doesn’t have any amenities, so if you decide to stay there you better bring your mat and sleeping bag!
We recommend taking your tent and camp at Khikani fortress it’s the perfect spot for a cozy campfire and incredible sky full of stars.
Be aware though if the area is dry you should not make a campfire as this can cause destructive even deadly wildfires.
Considering that we are talking about the mountainous part of Georgia, there are no five-star hotels here. It is dominated by a large number of family-type hotels. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information about them on the Internet, but we have compiled a list of accommodations near to Khikani fortress.
You won’t be able these guesthouses on Booking.com. You can make a reservation by calling them. There are no streets on Google maps in the villages, but there is are signs / stencil everywhere and the guesthouse is 200 meters away.
Izolda, the guesthouse owner. Also, this lady works at a museum, she also can guide you to Khikhani Fortress.
These are our favorite accomodations. You can find more accomodations on Booking.com.
Proceeding from the fact that on the way to the fortress Khikhani only villages, you will hardly find a restaurant with a Michelin star here. But nevertheless, there are several places in Khulo where you can eat deliciously.
Food close to Khikani fortress
We would like to point out that although there are not many cafes and restaurants here, you can grab a bite to eat at the guesthouses/hostels above, without the obligation to stay overnight.
Restaurants in Khulo
– Restaurant “ABX” (our personal favorite)
This restaurant can be a bit tricky to find as it is on the top floor of the building. The restaurant has some great views and good price-quality food! Do note they have cheap wine but often only white one and for sure not the best one in Georgia. This is when we went there maybe they now also have red. If you go there and they have for sure let us know!
Restaurants in Tago
Glamping Tago has a restaurant that you can visit. We offer a vegetarian menu. You can take the cable car from the center of Khulo to the village of Tago, where the Glamping and the restaurant are located.
Glamping Tago is a small start-up set on a mission to enhance mindful traveling, providing equal care and love to our guests, environment and team members.
We do so, by creating a comfortable space in one of the most authentic places in Adjara.
Turning it into a getaway where people can reconnect with themselves, step into adventures and begin new stories.
If you have any questions or would like to add some information to this post,
feel free to send us a message!