Vardzia-Khertvisi refers to the area located in the upper reaches of river Mtkvari, in historical Samtskhe-Javakheti province of South Georgia, particularly stretched from ancient fortress Khertvisi, and medieval cave monastery complex of Vardzia. Since 2007, Vardzia-Khertvisi area is part of Unesco’s world heritage sites tentative list.
Khertvisi in its height used to be a fortified city under the House of Jakeli, noble family that ruled the Samtskhe province in the middle ages. Fortress stands on an uphill rocky terrain, overlooking the canyon of the river Mtkvari.
Vardzia is arguably one of the most notable and popular historical-architectural sites of Georgia. It represents a massive complex of caves and tunnels cut in the slopes of Erusheti Mountains. Vardzia monastic complex was founded in the Georgian Golden Age, 12th-13th c.c., and integrates hundreds of different caves, tunnels, rooms, lavras, churches and chapels.
Moreover, the area stretched between these two remarkable monuments is also full with different interesting historical-architectural monuments and archaeological discoveries: various medieval stone steles, epigraphic monuments, archaeological excavation sites, medieval churches and fortification structures.
Rocky landscape of Mtkvari gorge in these areas is also noteworthy, as arguably, nature here itself can be considered as a natural monument that is worth of interest.
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