Uplistsikhe – meaning “The Fortress of God” is an ancient cave town from the 1st half of the 1st millennium BC. situated on the crossroads of important trade routs. It was the main centre of paganism, and represents a complex of halls, caves, theatres, altars, pagan temples, secret tunnels, prisons, pharmacy, passages-streets all carved out of stone over an area of 4 hectares. The city was surrounded by the protective moat surrounding it from the east and the north. Uplistsikhe had four gates from all parts of the world. The cave city still has the two-column “reception hall of Queen Tamara” with arch niches and huge pylons. It is magnificent in its sizes, perfect workmanship and graceful architectural forms. Some premises, wine storages, fragments of temples and fortifications, the secret underground tunnel used for water supply are still intact.
Uplistsikhe was a cult temple city, a large pagan centre prior to Christianity introduction in Georgia (the 4 th century). At its peak of prosperity, the city had a population of 20 000. Later Christian churches were built. In 9th -10th cc AD a three-nave basilica was added to the complex. In the 13 th century Uplistsike was destroyed as a result of devastating invasion of Genghis -khan hordes to Georgia.
In the 19 th century Uplistsike was lost under the layers of dirt and sand. Huge efforts of many experts in its excavation, cleaning, strengthening, restoration and studying of this outstanding historical monument in the history of Georgian culture revived Uplistsikhe which is listed among the historical monuments protected by UNESCO.