Vardzia is a cave town in the south of Georgia, in the Little Caucasus, on the left bank of the river Mtkwari. It was built in the 12th century by the Georgian king Giorgi III in a wall of the mountain Erusheti as a border fortress against the Persians and Turks. His daughter, Queen Tamara, extended it further and established it as a monastery.

The cave city consists of deep caves connected by tunnels, stairs, terraces and galleries. Originally there were about 3,000 apartments that could accommodate up to 50,000 people.

After an earthquake in 1283, unfortunately only 750 rooms have remained until today. 
The main attraction is the monastery church of "the Assumption of the Virgin Mary" with a magnificent column portal and impressive coloured frescoes.

Today 5 monks and 3 novices still live in the monastery of Wardsia.

In 1993 Wardsia was registered for the UNESCO World Heritage List.


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