Vardzia - A cave city in the rock, covered with legends and ancient history

Jan. 16, 2022 | Georgia

Vardzia is a monastery city carved into the rock at an altitude of 100 meters. It consists of 13 floors and thousands of caves. It is located about 270 km from Tbilisi and 240 km from Kutaisi. Its length along the valley of the river Kura is about one kilometer.

Because of constant raids of foreigners, the inhabitants of the country had to be protected. So an impregnable fortress appeared - or rather it was already in the form of rocky caves. It only needed to be inhabited and improved.

This amazing by its structure and history place, which would not leave anyone indifferent. And what views can be seen from above!

Things to see for a tourist

  • Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Its construction was accompanied by Queen Tamara. In front of it there are frescoes depicting George III and his daughter Tamara;
  • The observation deck, which offers a magnificent view of the rock city and its surroundings;
  • Inside the complex are preserved bakeries, libraries, dining rooms, cellars, and workshops.

You will walk through inclined tunnels with steps, learn about the ancient history of the monastery, and admire the mountain scenery and hills.

It is best to take a tour or audio guide. So it will be much more interesting and you will not get lost in a large number of caves.

There is also a spring on the territory from which you can drink. For the safety of visitors to the caves are equipped with fences. But with all the safety you need to be very careful and cautious, because sometimes you can come across worn stone stairs, unfenced shafts and holes in the floor.

Tips

  • It is best to come here in the warm season. In winter, some of the caves are closed to the public;
  • Wear comfortable, non-slip shoes;
  • Clothing must be appropriate to the monastic site;
  • Be sure to take water with you.

Vardzia has seen a lot of pain and tragedy. Visiting this place, you can feel all the power and grandeur of the defensive fortress, which saved Georgian lands from enemy invasions. If you still have time, you can visit several interesting places in the vicinity of Vardzia:

  • 20 minutes away by car is the huge Khertvisi Fortress on the top of the mountain, and nearby merge 2 rivers. The sight of extraordinary beauty;
  • hot springs, next to which there is a swimming pool and you can swim in the healing water;
  • another cave monastery Vanis Kwabebi. It is not as equipped as Vardzia, but interesting enough and not as crowded.

Alla Bregova