Siege of Birtvisi (1403)

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Siege of Birtvisi
Part of Timurid invasions of Georgia
Result Timurid victory
Timurid Empire
Kingdom of Georgia
Commanders and leaders
Ibrahim I
Ivane Toreli

The siege of Birtvisi was a siege laid by the Timurid sultan, Timur, against Birtvisi Fortress in eastern Georgia in 1403.[1][2]


The Birtvisi canyon with the Sheupovari tower on top of a rock

In medieval Georgia, the fortress Birtvisi entertained a reputation of an impregnable stronghold whose master could control the entire strategic Algeti gorge.[1] In 1403, Timur sent his vassal, Shah Ibrahim of Shirvan to lead an attack on the fortress. The defense of the fortress was led by Ivane Toreli, who commanded 150 soldiers in addition to 30 Aznauri and their families.[3] It took eight attempts for Timurid forces to subdue the fortress.[4] On 12 August, the gates were stormed by 52 Merkit volunteers who were experts at rock climbing. The surviving defenders were killed and their wives and children given to Ibrahim's officers. Commander Ivane Toreli's wife was added to the Ibrahim's harem.[3]


  1. ^ a b Allen, William Edward David (1932), A History of the Georgian People: From the Beginning Down to the Russian Conquest in the Nineteenth Century, p. 125. Taylor & Francis
  2. ^ Gabriel Michaud, Louis (1816). Biographie universelle, ancienne et moderne ou Histoire, par ordre alphabétique, de la vie publique et privée de tous les hommes qui se sont fait remarquer par leurs écrits, leurs actions, leurs talents, leurs vertus ou leurs crimes: Ge - Go, Volume 17. Michaud, 1816. Retrieved 9 Jan 2009.
  3. ^ a b Rayfeld, Donald (15 February 2013). Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia. Reaktion Books, 2013. p. 151. ISBN 978-1-78023-070-2.
  4. ^ "Jim in Georgia". Archived from the original on August 15, 2016. Retrieved July 6, 2013.