Vardzia, cave city

The drive from Sighnaghi to Vardzia took most of the day, even though it only looked a short distance on the map! As we travelled west, the weather cooled and Jo reported snow was falling in Vardzia. Expected maximum temperature 2 degrees! What! Lionel hasn’t stopped complaining about the cold, but he happily takes a drop of Chacha ( the local firewater with our host and tries to cope.)

Khertvisi Fortress
10th-14th Century

On the way we stopped at Khertvisi Fortress, which had commanding views of the surrounding countryside and the snowy mountains we were heading towards.

Vardzia is a very small village, we are staying by the river at Sada Guesthouse, where the owner likes a drink or two. It was surprisingly cosy and warm last night despite the zero temperatures!

Those holes are part of the caves complex

Today we climbed up to the cave city. This was built into the side of the mountain in the 12th Century to hide and protect the people from the Mongol Hordes! It could house 50,000 people! A century later, an earthquake shattered two thirds of it, exposing the tunnels and various rooms.

The beginning of the caves…so many to explore
A room with a view
That snow is close by!
Not too close…
Ceiling in the church
A long way down
Upstairs, downstairs!
The church

The monks continue to live up there today. It was an amazing place to wander through, thankfully with plenty of railings and stairs! We left via the “secret tunnel” which of course bought lots of my favourite movies to mind! Snow started falling as we climbed down, time for a warming drink of chacha!

Part of the secret tunnel, a wobbly walk down!
Tea and chacha