Five monks are still living on this mountain. The bell is sounded every morning at seven o'clock. Varzia is a cave city in the south of Georgia. It dates from the second half of the twelfth century.
Vardzia

Legend

According to an etiological myth, the young Tamar went hunting with her uncle Giorgi. She got lost in the caves of Vardzia and when she was called by her uncle, she replied: 'Ac var dzia' ('I am here', uncle).

Legend

According to an etiological myth, the young Tamar went hunting with her uncle Giorgi. She got lost in the caves of Vardzia and when she was called by her uncle, she replied: 'Ac var dzia' ('I am here', uncle).

History

Excavations have shown that Vardzia was already inhabited in the Bronze Age. The foundation of Vardzia was devised by Queen Tamar to protect the inhabitants of the city from the Mongols. Queen Tamar then became the first female ruler of Georgia, although she was technically crowned king. The city consisted of apartments, a church, a throne room and a complex irrigation system for agricultural land.

According to legend, Queen Tamar had 366 rooms for herself, so that intruders could never guess which room her actual bedroom was.

In the eastern part of the complex are more than seventy-nine cave dwellings, in eight layers and with a total of 242 rooms, including six chapels. There was a pharmacy and twenty-five wine cellars. In the western part the church stands with forty houses, in thirteen rows and a total of 165 rooms, including six chapels and the bakery.

The church was founded in 1185 and has an important series of murals. The church was built by order of Queen Tamar to house the icon of the Virgin of Vardzia.

Access to the complex was only possible through the hidden tunnels in the neighborhood of Koera. In 1283 the city was hit by a heavy earthquake, 75% of the city was destroyed, a partial reconstruction followed. The area was abandoned during the Ottoman takeover in the sixteenth century.

The small group of monks who have returned to Varzia and are still alive today make the city accessible. Thanks to these hard-working monks, tourists can visit Varzdia and view the different houses and tunnels.

History

Excavations have shown that Vardzia was already inhabited in the Bronze Age. The foundation of Vardzia was devised by Queen Tamar to protect the inhabitants of the city from the Mongols. Queen Tamar then became the first female ruler of Georgia, although she was technically crowned king. The city consisted of apartments, a church, a throne room and a complex irrigation system for agricultural land.

According to legend, Queen Tamar had 366 rooms for herself, so that intruders could never guess which room her actual bedroom was.

In the eastern part of the complex are more than seventy-nine cave dwellings, in eight layers and with a total of 242 rooms, including six chapels. There was a pharmacy and twenty-five wine cellars. In the western part the church stands with forty houses, in thirteen rows and a total of 165 rooms, including six chapels and the bakery.

he church was founded in 1185 and has an important series of murals. The church was commissioned by Queen Tamar to house the icon of the Virgin of Vardzia.

Access to the complex was only possible through the hidden tunnels in the neighborhood of Koera. In 1283 the city was hit by a heavy earthquake, 75% of the city was destroyed, a partial reconstruction followed. The area was abandoned during the Ottoman takeover in the sixteenth century.

The small group of monks who have returned to Varzia and are still alive today make the city accessible. Thanks to these hard-working monks, tourists can visit Varzdia and view the different houses and tunnels.

From 2012, the preservation of the murals in the church of Vardzia is carried out by Courtauld Institute of Art in collaboration with Georgian authorities.