Discover Georgia
Vardzia, the ancient Cave City of Georgia – Journal of Nomads
06 February, 2018
Vardzia, Georgia’s unique cave city continues to amaze people from all over the world. This time, famous travel blog, Journal of Nomads devoted wonderful and very interesting article to Vardzia – Georgia’s unique ancient cave city.

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. It can freely be called the Honor of Georgians.
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Vardzia is a rock-carved fortress

This cave town is a monument of
Georgian history, culture and religion. It should be mentioned that the site is included in the UNESCO world culture heritage list as one of the most unique rock-hewn towns.
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Vardzia is a monument of Georgian history

The name of the cave-town is connected with Queen Tamar , the great female monarch (Mepe) of Georgia from 1184 to 1213, presiding over the apex of the Georgian Golden Age. According to the legend, young Tamar, when out hunting, lost in the caves; when called for, she replied "I am here, uncle" (Georgian: “aq var dzia"), giving the site its name.
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The name of the cave-town is connected with Queen Tamar

“Vardzia is a spectacular cave monastery near Aspindza in southern Georgia. It looks like one of the movie sets of Lord of the Rings, but it is not the home of dwarfs but of many monks. This underground monastery was built in the 12th Century, under the reign of King Tamar, the first woman that was ever crowned as a king (not a queen!) in Georgian history”, the article reads.
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It looks like one of the movie sets of Lord of the Rings

Author of the article emphasizes distinctiveness and importance of the place and tells its great history. As it is known, Vardzia was built as a shelter from Mongol attacks.

“In the late 1100's the medieval kingdom of Georgia was constantly under threat of the Mongol Empire. To help her people avoid the Mongol onslaught, Tamar ordered the construction of an underground sanctuary and secretly they started building this fortress under the Erusheli mountain. It was a gigantic job but the people worked hard with the determination that their culture and lifestyle should not be destroyed by the invading Mongols”- Cynthia Bil, a travel blogger at Journal of Nomads informs its readers.
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As it is known, Vardzia was built as a shelter from Mongol attacks

The publication stresses unique architecture of the medieval complex: “This underground fortress eventually had 13 levels constructed with natural caves and contained over 6000 rooms, including a throne room, a reception chamber, a meeting room, a bakery, a forge, chapels and a huge church. The only way to get to this underground city was through a secret tunnel which started at the nearby Mtkvari River.”
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Vardzia kept Georgians safe from the Mongol attacks

It is also noteworthy that the land on the outside of the hidden monastery was extremely fertile. The monks arranged an irrigation system on terraced farmlands so they could produce their own food. As the author notes, some tunnels had irrigation pipes that still bring drinkable water. The cave city also had about 25 wine cellars containing 185 wine jars.
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Journal of Nomads team in Vardzia

Vardzia kept Georgians safe from the Mongol attacks, but, sadly, a devastating earthquake in 1283 (only 100 years after its construction) destroyed more than two-thirds of the city. In the aftermath of the earthquake, the remaining caves that were once hidden became visible.

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There is a special “bubble gum tree” outside the cave city

At the end of the article, the author advises its readers not to forget bringing some chewing gum with them, as there is a special “bubble gum tree” outside the cave city, where people make a wish and stick their chewing gum to the tree.

Read full story at Journal of Nomads

All photos courtesy of Journal of Nomads

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