Vardzia – a cave city from 1185.

In a valley fairly close to the border to Turkey lies the cave city of Vardzia. It was the most surprising part of the visit to Goergia both because I didn’t know anything about it and because of the size and complexity of the city. It has a church, 25 wine cellars, 12 chapels, a bakery, pharmasy and 185 wine jars  sunk into the floor among the hundereds of caves with room for 6000 people. It was built by queen Tamar and her father starting in 1185. This picture of Tamar is taken from the Internet.

Tamar1

Our first sight of the hill side was this:+DSCF4989

When this was built, it was hidden behind part of the mountain. A huge earth quake in 1283 exposed the caves. Yhe white rock shows where the mountain side tumbled to the valley floor, and suddenly the city was not hidden any more. Originally the only entrance to the city was through a secret tunnel. This picture shows only one part of the city.DSCF5006

This picture shows another part. The stairs between the caves are clearly visible and it is also clear how the earth quake exposed the caves and also took away walls in the caves.

A couple of pictures from the interior of caves.

A church was dug into the rock in the center of the hillside. It had an arch outside that was decorated with fresco. I find that the old Georgian fresco painting have a special atmosphere appeals to me as being genuin and sincere.

We were not allowed to take pictures inside the church and some really watchful priests followed us closely. So this picture is taken from the Internet.

vardzia church1

This visit I think was the most interesting one in Georgia for me. The size, the atmosphere and the history all appealed to me and I could easily have spent many more hours there.

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