Vardzia

Vardzia is a cave monastery in southern Georgia, excavated from the slopes of the Erusheti Mountain on the left bank of the Mtkvari River, thirty kilometers from Aspindza.

Vardzia a rock-hewn complex was founded in the 12th -13th cc. during the reign of Giorgi III and Queen Tamar.

Initially planned as a town-fortress, the complex became a well-fortified monastery, which had a significant role in political, cultural, educational and spiritual life of the country.

Its nineteen tiers extend from east to west, the dwellings were hewn and tunnels hollowed out into the cliff from south to north.

There are two-room, three-room and four-room cliff dwellings in the Monastry, including two-storey ones; galleries and vertical tunnels, secret passes and a pharmacy.

In the middle of the complex there is a Church of Assumption, richly decorated with mural painting. Behind the church there is a pool which served as a spring water reservoir, and was considered holy. There is a monastery and a few monks are still living in there.

The extended area of Vardzia-Khertvisi has been submitted for future inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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