Cave Cities

As one of the oldest Christian countries in the world, a holiday in Georgia offers a rare feast of architectural and cultural delights and, whatever your interest, it will not disappoint.

One of the oldest cave towns of Georgia is Uplistsikhe, a town hewn into the living rock. The citadel dates back to the 7th century BC. It served as a strategic point on the historical Silk Road from ancient times until the 15th century AD. It contains a large central hall for pagan rituals, living rooms, ancient theatre, wine presses, wine cellars, bakery.

Set in the middle of a near desert plain close to the Azeri border, David Gareji is a lonely but hauntingly beautiful place. Its numerous monasteries once housed 6,000 monks but now only a handful remain. The Udabno Monastery, set in a steep cliff, is undoubtedly the most remote and wild of the three most frequently visited monasteries of the Gareji Monastery complex and has some wonderful 10th-12th century frescoes, the best of which are on the walls of its refectory.

Possibly an even better known cave city is Vardzia. Literally hewn into a mountain, some 600 of its original 3,000 chambers remain intact and you can walk through a maze of chambers, which once included stables, barracks, bakeries, wine presses and living quarters, some of which still have frescoes.

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