Located in South Georgia, Vardzia is a cave monastery complex, that was founded by Queen Tamar in 1185. Originally, the cave city was hidden in Erusheli mountain, but an earthquake in the 13th century exposed the caves. The complex consisted of thirteen levels, six thousand apartments, a throne room, the church of Dormition of the Mother of God and a bell tower. The monastery complex has unique murals and epigraphical monuments, written in old Georgian script Asomtavruli.
Side note: Becoming a nun was not always a voluntary process in Georgian Orthodox Church. Furthermore, often it was a form of punishment. In Vardzia, there is an inscription on the monastery wall, presumably made by a nun. It reads: “I was fourteen, when they made me a nun, I turned seventy fourteen here… Boy, you were so handsome! ”
Today, Vardzia is protected under Georgian Cultural Heritage Preservation National Agency and it’s one of the most visited sites in Georgia.

Photo by: Kamil Ghais

Photo by: Ilona Margalitadze

Photo by: Ilona Margalitadze

Photo by: Nino

Photo by: Lasha Gabelia

Photo by: Paata Vardanashvili

Photo by: Paata Vardanashvili


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