The cave town of Vardzia is one of the most important and impressive historic monuments in Georgia. At an altitude of 1300 metres above sea level, and starting 100 metres above the valley floor, the caves continue up for half a kilometre and had 13 floors, connected by a complex system of tunnels.
Vardzia was built by King George III in 1156-1184 and this incredible town quickly grew to consist of over 3,000 caves that could accommodate 50,000 people at a time. The Vardzia complex had living quarters, refectories, barns, wine cellars (marani), stables, drugstores and even libraries. The town had a potable water supply and a sewerage system.
Now part of a state heritage reserve, the extended area of Vardzia-Khertvisi has been submitted for future inscription on the UNESCO WorldHeritage list.