Cave cities to visit in Georgia
22 January, 2019
Cave cities to visit in Georgia
Georgia boasts its unique caves spread out across the country. The caves are chiefly grouped into two types: cave monasteries and indoor caves with speleothems (mineral formations created in a cave).

Cave Monastery complexes in Georgia

Davit Gareja Monastery was established in the 6th century by one of the Assyrian monks St. David Garejeli. The area is a semi-desert containing churches, monasteries, and cells curved out in the rocks. The landscapes and monastery complex are breathtaking. Part of the complex is
located in the Agstafa rayon of Azerbaijan and has become subject to a border dispute between Georgia and Azerbaijan.
david_gareja
Uplistsikhe is an ancient rock or cave town in Shida Kartli near Gori. It is thought to be the earliest urban settlement in Georgia between the early Iron to Middle ages. It had been a place of defense against the Muslim and Mongolian invaders over the years. There is a basilica church at the top of the complex. It was built between the 9th-10th centuries. The Uplistsikhe cave complex has been on the tentative list for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage program since 2007.
uplistsikhe
Vardzia is a cave monastery in Samtskhe-Javakheti (Georgia’s southwestern region). 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. One of the central places in the cave system is the Church of Dormition with distinguished medieval mural painting. Since 1985 the site has formed part of the Vardzia Historical–Architectural Museum-Reserve, which includes forty-six architectural sites, twelve archaeological sites, and twenty-one sites of monumental art. Some monks presently live in the monastery. Tourists usually call the site the fortress of the Lord of the Rings.
vardzia

Indoor caves with speleothems


Almost every region of Georgia houses indoor caves but there are given the most well-preserved and beautiful ones below.

Near the city of Kutaisi (west part of Georgia), visitors can explore the Prometheus and Sataplia caves. The caves preserve stalactites, stalagmites, underground rivers, and lakes. The underground sights can be seen via a boat trip. Outside the caves, there is a Jurassic Park, footprints of a dinosaur and replicas of the animal.
sataplia
Last year in December, Vakhtang Sikharulidze, one of the dwellers of Kutaisi, discovered a new cave by accident. On that day, he went hunting away from the city on Kldiashvili Street. When Vakhtang fired a hunting weapon, he was amazed at the echo produced by the shooting. He followed the echo and reached the entrance of the cave. He immediately realized that he had found something unique.
newly_discovered_cave_kutaisi
The cave has been observed by the speleologists Valeri Barbakadze and Gigo Oniani. According to them, the cave has a zero floor at a depth of 80m containing a hallway and two halls. The cave is replete with stalactites and stalagmites. The speleologists have found a number of unique eccentric forms as well. They suggested that the discovered spot can be 30-50 years old. Addition to the Prometheus and Sataplia caves near the city, the newly found spot will officially make Kutaisi a magical cave city.

Related stories:

Experience Uplistsikhe - Aerial tour of an ancient rock-hewn Georgian city

Claudio Margottini about Vardzia

Newly discovered cave in Kutaisi can be 50 years old

Georgia’s David Gareji complex among 7 most endangered heritage sites in Europe
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