The Zhinvali (Jinvali) water reservoir, also known as a lake, is on the Georgian Military Highway. It is located in the Mtskheta-Mtaineti region, Dusheti Municipality, north of the small town of Zhinvali, in the middle of the Aragvi River.
It is one of the most beautiful places in Georgia and attracts many tourists. There is an important monument of Georgian architecture on the reservoir’s shore – the Ananuri complex- making this place even more enjoyable.
Another monument located here is also noteworthy: during the construction of the Zhinvali hydroelectric complex, the 12th-century Church of the Cross, which is submerged in water for six months and can be seen for six months, was flooded.
It is a perfect place to unwind in nature, picnic, or escape from the summer heat. The reservoir and its surroundings are beautiful at any time of the year.
Here, visitors can get acquainted with essential samples of Georgian culture, swim in blue water, sunbathe and enjoy the beauty of nature.
The expansive space and the blue-green, rippling water between the mountains create incredible views. It is located between Alevi, Gudamakari and Kartli ridges. Its surface area is 11.5 km², and the maximum depth is 75 m.
The reservoir is of great importance for the water supply of the city of Tbilisi; it supplies drinking water to about half of the population of Tbilisi. Soviets constructed the dam in the 1980s.
As Tbilisi was increasing, there was a need for a new water supply. The government decided the Aragvi Gorge, rich with glacier water, was the perfect spot.
Local communities protested to the idea for two reasons-
They would have to move to the “Khrushovka” Apartments provided by the Soviet Union.
Zhinvali territory was an archaeological sight.
The city of Zhinvali(Jinvali) had been at the crossroads of the great trading routes. Therefore, throughout history, it was a city of the Georgian elite.
It was rich with fortresses, towers and palaces. Though most of these had tumbled down to ruins throughout the centuries, the territory promised an immense archaeological treasure.
Unfortunately, the protests didn’t bother the Soviet Government, and they proceeded to flood the area, burying centuries of history under 75 meters of water. In the winter, you can still see a small gem of the old Zhinvali. As the water levels drop, a church, once located at a hill overlooking the city, surfaces from underneath the water.
Even though the city’s history is lost, the lake now awes its visitors with stunning views and beautiful colours year-round.