Vardzia, unique monument of Georgian culture
08 May, 2014
Vardzia, unique monument of Georgian culture
Time under the reign of Queen Tamar is considered the golden age of Georgia. This period marks the revival of the country. The end of XII century and the beginning XIII is thought to be the renaissance of art and literature. Around this time began Bethania, Kintvisi desert and many other temples were built. The most prominent of them was, and still is, Vardzia. Tamar’s father, King Giorgi III, began construction of this monastic cave town and his successor King
Tamar finished it. Vardzia is a brilliant creation of the Georgian people, which endured centuries and countless attacks from within. It is an example of art, culture and the geniality of our people.
It shows in which conditions our ancestors created ways to defend the nation from numerous attacks from enemies.
Vardzia can freely be called “the Honor of Georgians”. This cave town is a monument of Georgian history, culture and religion. It continues to amaze people from all over the world.
Vardzia is a rock-carved fortress stretched over 500 meters. It is located in the historic region of Samtskhe-Javakheti and consists of 600 rooms. Tamar’s favorite residence was legendary. There were 366 chambers, protecting from enemies.
The cave-town is included in the UNESCO world culture heritage list as one of the most unique rock-hewn town.
It is a town with streets, squares, 15 churches with unique wall-paintings, most of which are corrupted nowadays.
The most notable of them are the restoration of Lazarus, entering Jerusalem and others.
There were 28 wine-cellars with 235 pitches, that could hold about 100 000 liters of wine. Despite the fact that it is carved deeply into the rocks, it was not short of daylight or spring water. Springs from the neighboring mountains supplied the town with cold water.
It is a rare sight to see a church carved in the rocks, which is complimented by an icon of Tamar (only four of these icons remain today). She is holding the model of the church with next her, her father, King Georg III.
In 1551 Vardzia was vandalized and destroyed. They kidnapped the well-known icon of the mother God, golden and steel doors, and other treasures.
In 1978 the Turks conquered Vardzia. It was robbed once again. Part of the monks was slaughtered and the others were scattered across the country. In 1861 liturgies were reestablished, although the stealing never stopped and the fortress was abandoned and neglected. On the verse between the XII-XIII centuries a chapel was built decorated with different ornaments. The wide arch on the gate is the sole architectural element.
The first time I visited Vardzia I was awed. It was rich, golden and silver items, icons and crosses ornamented with precious gems. The monastery represented an important cultural centre, where great art and literature works were produced.
I believe it is a masterpiece of art and engineering. This was a time of religious wars in Europe and the Catholic and Orthodox Churches were in rage. Imagine a four meter high sophisticated rock and realize that our bare hands did that.
Time and an earthquake have had their impact on losing the former brilliance of the town, but it still leaves visitors wonderstruck with its beauty and grandeur.
Other Stories
The Daily Telegraph writes about Georgia
The national British daily broadsheet newspaper “The Daily Telegraph” has recently published an article about Georgia entitled “Is Georgia the new Puglia? With new direct flights, get there before the masses do.”
Places to chill out in Tbilisi
Tbilisi is not a huge city, but there are lots of places to chill out there. But which one to choose?
10 things to do in Tbilisi - recommendations from a blogger published an article about Georgia. The webpage belongs to a traveller and “a lifestyle blogger” kirsty.
Culinary Tourism – Discover the Imeretian Cuisine
It is not surprising that one of Georgia’s biggest attractions is its cuisine. Colourful Georgian dishes prepared with rich, aromatic spices and herbs attract all food lovers.
Discover Samegrelo – beautiful part of Georgia in the country’s west
Samegrelo is in the western part of Georgia. Its unique nature, cuisine and language must be experienced whilst visiting Georgia.
Discover must see places in Kakheti
Kakheti is located in the eastern part of Georgia. There are a variety of places for visitors to go in Kakheti:
Discover protected areas and national parks in Georgia - Part 4
Georgia will surprise visitors by the variety of its landscapes and nature. This small country has everything for all kinds of visitors.
Shaitan Bazaar and cuisine in old Tbilisi
Georgian cuisine has always been a part of the Georgian identity. It has been influenced by both Europe and Asia.
Discover protected areas and national parks in Georgia- Part 3
There are numerous places to rest, organize picnic or have adventures in Georgia. Here are some of the venues to check out:
Alternative tourism in Georgia
Alternative tourism is the opposite of mass organized tourism. Georgia is a perfect destination for the alternative tourism
Discover protected areas and national parks in Georgia- Part 2
Georgia preserves unique nature and here are some of its examples:
The Washington Post writes about a Georgian dish - Ajapsandali
Georgian cuisine is becoming more and more popular in other countries, be it in neighbouring ones or further afield.
Explore festivals and holidays in Georgia - Part 2
To truly experience Georgian culture and its many traditions, you must attend a few of the festivals held both in the capital and throughout the country.
Discover protected areas and national parks in Georgia- Part 1
Georgia is a small country with a variety of flora. There are twenty protected areas and national parks in Georgia.
Discover places in the vicinity of Tbilisi
Tbilisi is surrounded by interesting and attractive places to visit.
Explore festivals and holidays in Georgia - Part 1
Lots of tourists are attracted by Georgian nature and cuisine. However, to truly experience Georgian culture and its many traditions, you must attend a few of the festivals held both in the capital and throughout the country.
Discover Batumi
Batumi is the second-largest city of Georgia, located on the coast of the Black Sea in the country'ssouthwest.
Discover Samtskhe-Javakheti
The administrative centre of Samtskhe-Javakheti (Georgia’s southwestern region) is Akhaltsikhe.
Summer Dream in Beshumi
“If you drink local milk for 25 days, even if you are a blind, you will see the stars in the sky at midday”.
Swords discovered at Lado Gudiashvili Square in Tbilisi
The renovation of Lado Gudiashvili Square (in the old part of Tbilisi) is presently in progress. The process is under archeological monitoring.
The oldest citizen of Tbilisi tells how people lived decades ago
Tbilisi has always been a city with a specific culture and life style. Today this is not as evident as it was at the beginning of the 20th century.
Fresh snow in Kazbegi in mid-August
Ever wondered whether does it snows in the Georgian mountains in summer or not?
Discover Kutaisi
Kutaisi is one of the most interesting and beautiful cities in Georgia.
Discover Borjomi
Borjomi is a district of Georgia, in the region of Samtskhe-Javakheti. Borjomi is one of the most popular resorts, famous for its mineral waters, health, unique nature and abundance of historical monuments.
Bakuriani – a place to visit in summer and in winter
What Georgia can really boast about is its mountains – literally in every part of the country there are mountains, some covered with snow throughout the year.
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate