The lands that today belong to Georgia had always been an item of interest of those willing to gain control over an important route leading from Asia to Europe. This explains why there are so many castles and fortresses in such a small country, they protected Georgia against the invasions of its aggressive neighbours for many centuries. However, endless wars and natural disasters left a big mark on Georgian strongholds usually constructed in difficult-to-reach places, on mountain passes and gorges. Many Georgian fortifications date from the beginning of this era but they also include really ancient buildings such as Gonio Fortress nearby Batumi; notes about it appear already in the works of a Roman writer, Pliny the Younger. Giving an impression of floating in the air over the Intsoba River, Gremi Castle enjoys great popularity among tourists visiting the famous Alazani Valley. Despite its tumultuous history, the building complex of Ananuri Castle have remained in great condition, it is located nearby the picturesque Zhinvali Dam.