The mighty river of Mktvari runs all the way through Georgia, and naturally, with a geographical position like that it played a major role in Georgian history during its most glorious and intense periods. On the banks of the rivers you can find ancient forts and fascinatingly old castles that have witnessed the highs and lows of the history of the country that stands on a crossroad between Asia and Europe and has thus combined the features of both worlds in the most unique way. One of the numerous hidden tunnels from the river will take you to one of the Georgia’s most impressive historical sites: the Cave City in Vardzia.
The city looks like something from a set decoration for a futuristic movie, but, in fact, it is an ancient monastery that lies inside the 13-storeyed cave collection. Even today the monks are using the caves as their own home. The cave city consists of more than 6000 caves, and each of them has their own, very specific function. Different caves function as residencies for monks, churches, and a throne room. The caves are connected with a stairways set that is breathtaking even when you look at it, not even to mention if you walk them.
The city counts it history from approximately 12th century, so our century marks the 1000 year anniversary of the monastery. Of course, an old building like this one could not stay unaltered, given that it has constantly been used as a residency. Some of the changes were caused by an earthquake, which happens quite frequently in these territories. However, the main features of the monastery now look exactly as they used to. Currently the Cave City serves both as a major tourist attraction and a place where a lot of religious-related events take place.