Uplistsikhe - Ancient Cave Town in Georgia


Uplistsikhe is situated on the river Mtkvari, around ten kilometers (6.2 miles) from the town of Gori (which is famous as Stalin's birthplace). At first glance this ancient complex looks like an abstract form of art created by Gaudi. Various rock formations, holes and chambers remind of sophisticated sculptures and certain shapes like for example a human face. You will be amazed when you find out that this site dates back to as early as the second millennium BC. It is the oldest ancient settlement known in Georgia. Left without any care for many years, it was plundered several times and destroyed by an earthquake in 1920. Now, it's on the UNESCO list and there are some works planned to preserve it.

The views from the cliff over the village and the Mtkvari river are spectacular, the natural forms of agriculture are still kept to this day, if you are lucky, you will see the shepherds with their herds grazing down in the valley below the ruins.

Uplistsikhe - Ancient cave city

Uplistsikhe - "The head"

Uplistsikhe - Ancient cave city

History of Uplistsikhe

The name Uplistsike means "the fortress of the Lord". It began its history in the Iron Age, second millennium BC. Back then, the complex was a very important cultural center for pagan worship in the Kartli (Iberia) region. Among the ruins, one can find the amphitheater, the pagan temple with an opening in the roof and smaller chambers that seem to have been homes. All the structures were carved out of sandstone rock. Not much is left nowadays from the grandeur of the place, but it's easy to imagine how magnificent and great it once must have been. On the top of the hill, above the ancient settlement, after the introduction of Christianity, a three-naval basilica was built in the ninth century AD. It is still open until this day. The decline of Uplistsikhe began in the twelfth century after Mongol invasions, although it was still functioning for the next few centuries to follow.

Uplistsikhe - The ninth century basilica

Uplistsikhe - ruins of the ancient city

Uplistsikhe - The basilica

Ruins of ancient chambers carved from sandstone

Sandstone rock formations

Ancient cave city - "The head"

Ancient cave city

View over the valley

Clay vessels at the Basilica in Uplistsikhe


No comments:

Post a Comment