Claudio Margottini about Vardzia
19 November, 2018
Claudio Margottini about Vardzia
Vardzia is a cave monastery in Samtskhe-Javakheti. Queen Tamar ordered the construction of Vardzia in the twelfth century. It contained apartments dug out of the rock and outside terraces for cultivation. An irrigation system was designed particularly for this. Since 2007, by the nomination of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia, the monument is on the provisional list for inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

The monolithic city of
the Vardzia monastery complex has faced various threats throughout the years and is still at risk of endogenic (earthquakes, tectonic movements) and exogenic (erosion) geological processes. Several earthquakes have taken place in the region. The most disastrous earthquake occurred in 1283 when a 15-meter layer broke away from the wall of the complex and two – thirds of the total area was damaged. Aggressive exogenic processes, as well as sharp changes in climatic conditions, especially rain, snow, snow runoff and groundwater, destroy this massive rock city. In addition to geological processes, armed conflicts that the monastery faced for centuries contributed to its destruction.

Due to the threats, National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia has started to carry out rehabilitation works every year to protect the monument. One of the main components of the program is a 3D laser in order to record a photo documentation of the monument. The works are led by Claudio Margottini, full Professor in Engineering Geology (Italian National Scientific Habilitation) and adjunct Professor at the UNESCO Chair in the University of Florence.
vardzia
Vardzia, a cave monastery in Samtskhe-Javakheti, Photo courtesy: www.travelingeorgia.ge


Claudio Margottini has worked in various countries such as China, Nepal, Egypt, etc. He has carried out the rehabilitation works on the sculptures of Buddhas in Afghanistan or Koguryo tombs in North Korea. He is currently trying to protect the pyramids from water damage. There has not been a single monument he could not preserve unless they were damaged by wars. Meanwhile, the professor claims that the structure of Vardzia ( a 13-storey building containing 600 rooms) contributed a lot to its survival during the Mongolian (XIII-XIV centuries) invasion in Georgia.

First photo courtesy: www. flickr.com

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