Emperor Vespasian’s baths… In Gonio
04 September, 2014
Emperor Vespasian’s baths… In Gonio
Georgian-Polish joint archeological expedition has unearthed extremely old Roman baths and ruins of other buildings at the territory of a fortress in Gonio-Apsarosi , located in the Adjara region in southwestern part of Georgia. The baths date back to 1st century A.D., and according to archeologists’ estimates, were built in its second half, during the rule of Emperor Vespasian.
The archeological dig was conducted by both Adjara’s Cultural Heritage Protection Agency’s Gonio-Apsarosi Museum-Preserve and the Archeological Institute of Warsaw University.
The first stage of the expedition is already complete. In expectation of more archeological discoveries, the second stage is planned for 2015.
Head of the Polish side of the expedition declares that the baths were most likely built for Roman legionnaires stationed in Western Georgia. Mosaics decorating their floors point at the significance of these baths for the Romans. Polish archeologists, together with Georgian ones, plan to unearth the baths in their entirety, conserve the ruins and build a roof over them.

Shota Mamuladze, professor of Gonio-Apsarosi Museum-Preserve and head of the expedition, explained the discovery in detail:

“We have discovered remains of buildings that date back to I and III centuries A.D., among them Roman baths, which we managed to study only partially. Among our discoveries is a tiled floor, a water reservoir and the remnants of a mosaic. The latter fact points at the particular significance of the bath.

– Which Roman forces and how many of them were stationed in Gonio?

– Five cohorts total, according to historians, but there is no data regarding whether they were legionnaires or auxiliaries. However, insignias discovered at the site point at auxiliaries. We even know the designations of the cohorts. One cohort was comprised from 200 to 300 soldiers. Here at the fortress, from 1,000 to 1,200 people were garrisoned, which was enough for exercising control of both land and marine routes, as well as keeping an eye on and preventing possible threats from the north.

– You mentioned that archeological research was conducted in four areas. What else did you uncover?

– Besides the baths, some quite interesting ruins were unearthed. Soldier barracks, discovered in the southeastern part of the fortress, were a particularly interesting find: they are equipped with a multi-tiered floor and some parts have hypocaust heating. Plumbing and sewer systems are also present. Cultural sediments of various epochs have also been found in the same location. For example, remnants of certain settlements can be found here, dating back to VIII-VII centuries BC, which seem to be dedicated to a cult. They are chronologically followed by Roman sediments, dating back to I-III centuries A.D. and are represented by two construction styles. The same region is also home to cultural sediments of the Ottoman Empire (XVI-XIX centuries), which are distinguished by the relatively modern plumbing, tiles and other remnants. In the southwestern part of the fortress, more Roman ruins were unearthed, especially distinguished by the discovery of furnaces designed for working with ceramics.

Gonio-Apsarosi Fortress (222m length, 195m width, total area – 4.75 ha)

Located 12 km from the city of Batumi, it lies on the left shore of the Tchorokhi River (known as Apsarosi/Akampsisi/Harpasosi in the past). This is the region where Colchian metallurgy was born and the first Georgian states, Kolkha and Diaokhi, were formed (XIII-VIII centuries BC). According to Roman and Byzantine written sources, it was in this period when Apsaros was established as a settlement. As various historians and ethnographers claim, among them are Stephanus of Byzantium, Artemidorus Ephesius and Procopius of Caesarea. The name of the settlement is related to the Argonauts’ journey to Colchis, their murder of Absyrtus, son of Aeetes and his burial here.
According to Pliny the Elder, the fortress was already built by 77 A.D. Apsaros was a strategic, political, economical and cultural center of Rome’s eastern border. Five auxiliary cohorts (about 1,200-1,500 soldiers) were stationed here; there also was a functional theater and a hippodrome. According to some sources (Epiphanius of Salamis, Sophron and others) this is the final resting place of apostle Matthias. In the 40s of the VI century, Byzantines established themselves in Apsaros and in X century this place became known as Akampsi. In the XII century it was renamed Gonio. From 1547 to 1878, a significant Ottoman force was stationed here.
Among the first to become interested in the fortress’s history was Heinrich Schliemann, Nicholas Marr and Fyodor Uspensky. Archeological digs at the site began in the 60s of the past century.
Print
Other Stories
The Daily Telegraph writes about Georgia
The national British daily broadsheet newspaper “The Daily Telegraph” has recently published an article about Georgia entitled “Is Georgia the new Puglia? With new direct flights, get there before the masses do.”
Places to chill out in Tbilisi
Tbilisi is not a huge city, but there are lots of places to chill out there. But which one to choose?
10 things to do in Tbilisi - recommendations from a blogger
www.lifeinexcess.com published an article about Georgia. The webpage belongs to a traveller and “a lifestyle blogger” kirsty.
Culinary Tourism – Discover the Imeretian Cuisine
It is not surprising that one of Georgia’s biggest attractions is its cuisine. Colourful Georgian dishes prepared with rich, aromatic spices and herbs attract all food lovers.
Discover Samegrelo – beautiful part of Georgia in the country’s west
Samegrelo is in the western part of Georgia. Its unique nature, cuisine and language must be experienced whilst visiting Georgia.
Discover must see places in Kakheti
Kakheti is located in the eastern part of Georgia. There are a variety of places for visitors to go in Kakheti:
Discover protected areas and national parks in Georgia - Part 4
Georgia will surprise visitors by the variety of its landscapes and nature. This small country has everything for all kinds of visitors.
Shaitan Bazaar and cuisine in old Tbilisi
Georgian cuisine has always been a part of the Georgian identity. It has been influenced by both Europe and Asia.
Discover protected areas and national parks in Georgia- Part 3
There are numerous places to rest, organize picnic or have adventures in Georgia. Here are some of the venues to check out:
Alternative tourism in Georgia
Alternative tourism is the opposite of mass organized tourism. Georgia is a perfect destination for the alternative tourism
Discover protected areas and national parks in Georgia- Part 2
Georgia preserves unique nature and here are some of its examples:
The Washington Post writes about a Georgian dish - Ajapsandali
Georgian cuisine is becoming more and more popular in other countries, be it in neighbouring ones or further afield.
Explore festivals and holidays in Georgia - Part 2
To truly experience Georgian culture and its many traditions, you must attend a few of the festivals held both in the capital and throughout the country.
Discover protected areas and national parks in Georgia- Part 1
Georgia is a small country with a variety of flora. There are twenty protected areas and national parks in Georgia.
Discover places in the vicinity of Tbilisi
Tbilisi is surrounded by interesting and attractive places to visit.
Explore festivals and holidays in Georgia - Part 1
Lots of tourists are attracted by Georgian nature and cuisine. However, to truly experience Georgian culture and its many traditions, you must attend a few of the festivals held both in the capital and throughout the country.
Discover Batumi
Batumi is the second-largest city of Georgia, located on the coast of the Black Sea in the country'ssouthwest.
Discover Samtskhe-Javakheti
The administrative centre of Samtskhe-Javakheti (Georgia’s southwestern region) is Akhaltsikhe.
Summer Dream in Beshumi
“If you drink local milk for 25 days, even if you are a blind, you will see the stars in the sky at midday”.
Swords discovered at Lado Gudiashvili Square in Tbilisi
The renovation of Lado Gudiashvili Square (in the old part of Tbilisi) is presently in progress. The process is under archeological monitoring.
The oldest citizen of Tbilisi tells how people lived decades ago
Tbilisi has always been a city with a specific culture and life style. Today this is not as evident as it was at the beginning of the 20th century.
Fresh snow in Kazbegi in mid-August
Ever wondered whether does it snows in the Georgian mountains in summer or not?
Discover Kutaisi
Kutaisi is one of the most interesting and beautiful cities in Georgia.
Discover Borjomi
Borjomi is a district of Georgia, in the region of Samtskhe-Javakheti. Borjomi is one of the most popular resorts, famous for its mineral waters, health, unique nature and abundance of historical monuments.
Bakuriani – a place to visit in summer and in winter
What Georgia can really boast about is its mountains – literally in every part of the country there are mountains, some covered with snow throughout the year.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
21.09.2018
22.09.2018
USD
1
USD
2.6193
2.6193
EUR
1
EUR
3.0693
3.0693
GBP
1
GBP
3.4651
3.4651
RUB
100
RUB
3.9538
3.9538