Vardzia’s Mysterious Cave City

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Image Credit: ancientpages.com

Jillian DeMaio, Staff Writer

Vardzia, Georgia is home to beautiful landscapes and a rich history that still has European historians enticed in its mysterious cave city carved into the vast slopes of Erusheti. Carved in the 12th century and once consisting of over 6,000 rooms, the Vardzia cave city is one of the most well preserved in all of Georgia. This once remarkable city is spread over 19 floors including 25 wine cellars, 15 chapels, a nunnery, and many more pieces of well-preserved history. 

Over the years, Vardzia became a self-sustaining city due to the fertile land surrounding it and its complex irrigation system. Vardzia was once home to 2,000 monks; however, the cave city was impermanent. In 1283 an earthquake shook the land and more than 70% of the city and as a result, most of the remaining citizens left the land, leaving only the monks behind. The fortress had become a monastery overnight. 

Today, the cave city is still visible and the hidden interior is still being studied. Currently, approximately 500 caves remain, including an apothecary, wine cellars, dining hall, and tunnels stretching as far as 600 feet. Vardzia still has many historical aspects to offer historians and a beautiful location to offer tourists that come from across the world to see its stone walls. Overall, seeing sights such as Vardzia’s cave city expands someone’s understanding of history and culture that may have otherwise been unknown.