Meskheti and Javakheti
In the south of Georgia you will find the provinces of Meskheti and Javakheti – a land of forested mountains and steep river valleys, gushing rivers and clear lakes. The region is dotted with castles and fortresses from different periods – a legacy of frequent invasions thanks to its geographic location – but the jewel in the crown of this fascinating region is surely the cave town of Vardzia.
Vardzia is a huge cave complex that once consisted of some 3000 caves and could house around 50,000 people. It was built during the reign of Queen Tamar, a great ruler of 12th century Georgia. Vardzia is a place of wonders – artfully carved caves connected by long tunnels, all hewn by hand over 800 years ago, a natural cold-water spring trickling from the rock-face, beautiful frescoes still as bright as the day they were first painted… The cave town survived earthquakes and invasions and once again houses a working monastery.