Photographer's Note

Vardzia - The vertical town

No, this isn’t Cappadocia.
The picture shows the cave monastery of Vardzia in the south of Georgia, close to the border with Armenia.

If you like to know why I called this picture ‘The vertical town’, please have a look at my previous picture and also here in the workshop.

The caves are excavated from the slopes of the Erusheti Mountain and stretch along the cliff for some five hundred meters. First they weren’t visible from in the valley. This occurred only after a major earthquake in 1283 which destroyed much in this cave town and also caused the collapse of the irrigation system.

Information from Lonely Planet Travel Guide:

In the 12th century a fortification was built here and later a monastery was established that grew into a virtual holy city housing perhaps 200 monks, renowned as a spiritual bastion of Georgia.
The inhabitants lived in dwellings carved from the rock and ranging over 13 floors.
Altogether there are 119 cave groups with 409 rooms, 13 churches … and 25 wine cellars :)
Vardzia suffered a major earthquake in 1283 which shook away the outer walls of many caves.
Today Vardzia is again a working monastery with some caves inhabited by monks.

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Additional Photos by Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5077 W: 17 N: 12171] (49032)
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