vardzia

-

10% Discount for early Booking!

  • Vardzia

The unique monument of Georgian architecture, rock-hewn town of Vardzia, is situated in Aspindza, formerly the Samtskhe Province of Georgia, approximately in 70 km to the south from Borjomi city (at about 1 300m altitude). The territory of Samtskhe-Javakheti served as a barrier separating the rest of the country from the Moslem world. The place often became a theater of military operations, and was also used for the assembly and review of All-Georgian troops starting for long campaigns. Therefore, the King Giorgi III, who ruled in 1156 -1184, decided to build a town-fortress there and complete the chain of castles protecting the land - Akhalkalaki, Khertvisi, Tmogvi, and Mgeltsikhe. He decided to build it not as an ordinary fortress but as a huge fortified military quarter with a permanent large and ready-to-attack garrison.

Giorgi III did not succeed in completing the building of Vardzia. The construction was brought to an end by his daughter Tamar. It is said that the name of the town derives from ‘ak var, dzia’ or ‘here I am, uncle’ - Tamar's call when lost in caves.

During the reign of Tamar the importance of Vardzia considerably increased and achieved a great prosperity, amazing the contemporaries. Historians tell us about the Queen's rich contributions to the monastery and the luxury of its caves. The chief seminary of southwestern Georgia was housing 2 000 monks until an earthquake ruined it in 1283. Another earthquake in 1456 was followed by a Persian army in 1551, so that now Vardzia cave complex consists of approximately 600 rooms survived of a total 3 000, cut in the rock and located in five, six, seven and sometimes twelve tiers, which included stables, barracks, bakeries, wine presses and stores.

Most of the rock-hewn chambers in the city were intended for residence. Each dwelling consists of three adjacent rooms, cut consecutively from the face into the depth of the rock along a south to north axis. The floors were connected by secret passages and holes made in the ceilings of the porticoes with wooden ladders attached to them.

The so-called Salkhino hall with an adjoining wine cellar was intended for feasts. There was also another large wine cellar (marani) with thirteen buried jars. Total number of 28 wine cellars functioned in Vardzia: 6 in the halls and 22 in the store-rooms with 235 jars containing 90 973 liters. The existence of wine-pressers and wine cellars indicates that viticulture and wine-making played an important role in Vardzian life, especially in the 15th century.

The so-called ‘Tamar's room’ is located in the west part of the hall. According to a legend, Queen Tamar had 366 rooms in Vardzia so that enemies could never find out where her bedroom was.

The spring is situated deep in the mountain not far from the main church. Its reservoir contains about 8 m3 (i.e. up to 200 buckets) of fresh cold water, the constant temperature 110C. However, a special water supply was built to supply the town with spring water. The water supply provided 166 000 liters per day that was enough to supply the town of 50 000 people. A tank containing 630 000 litters, was cut in the rock in the west part of the complex to store water.

Vardzia is best known for the paintings of the main church. The images of King George III, Queen Tamar and Eristavi Rati Surameli are found in the Assumption temple, created by the master Giorgi in 1180. This is one of the four images of the great queen of such an ancient origin. Vardzia's paintings represent significant monument of the Georgian monumental painting.

To book multiday tour, please, check 2 days itinerary from Tbilisi here.

Information about places to visit in Georgia and Georgia tourist attractions. 

We are excited to thank you all for your interest. Please, contact us for bookings tours@georgianholidays.com

 

See you soon in Georgia!

Hot Deal

We offer very special one-day trekking tour by 4x4WD jeep to the one of the treasures of the Great Caucasus Mountains - Abudelauri colorful lakes.

Read more

  • Viator Top Rated 2016

    Viator Top Rated 2016

    Georgian Holidays has achieved Viator\'s 2016 Top Rated Award, distinguishing us as an outstanding activity provider for the world\'s leading online resource for booking tours and activities.

  • ITB Berlin 2017

    ITB Berlin 2017

    Please, contact us to arrange the meeting on ITB Berlin 2017 at Georgian Stand #103, hall 15.1 on 8-12 March, 2017. Visit Georgian Holidays on ITB Berlin!

  • WTM London 2017

    WTM London 2017

    Please, contact us to arrange meeting on WTM London 2017 at Georgian Stand #EU450 on 6-8 November, 2017 Visit Georgian Holidays on WTM London!

  • Holiday Fair Brussels 2017

    Holiday Fair Brussels 2017

    Please, contact us to arrange the meeting at Georgian Stand or visit us on Holiday Fair Brussels, stand 5424, hall 5, 2-5 February, 2017!

  • TTG Rimini 2017

    TTG Rimini 2017

    Please, contact us to arrange the meeting on TTG Rimini 2017 at Georgia Stand Pavilion A1, lane 1/2, area 034-049 on 12-14 October, 2017. Visit us on TTG Rimini!

  • GTA

    GTA

    Georgian Tourism Association - GTA carries out projects to improve tourism development in Georgia in partnership with Department of Tourism and Resorts, Agency of Protected Areas, International Organizations (USAID/SME project, GTZ Private Sector Development project, GTZ regional communal development project, IUCN etc.), local partners (i.e. Elkana, Geoland) and member companies. GTA is the member of UNWTO Knowledge Network, of GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council), of GCCI (Georgian Chamber of Commerce and Industry) and member of ICC (International Chamber of Commerce).

  • HEIFER INTERNATIONAL

    HEIFER INTERNATIONAL

    HEIFER INTERNATIONAL implements the project Sustainable Development of Rural Tourism in Black Sea countries

  • Leader of the Branch 2016

    Leader of the Branch 2016

    Gold Medal and International Certificate \"Leader of the Branch 2016\"/ Winner of National Business Award