Vardzia, Georgia Cave Monastery Carved in Rock

Vardzia - the monastery dating back to the twelfth century AD, located on the banks of the river Mtkvari is one of the most important historical sites in Georgia. Similar to the cave towns that can be found in Goreme region, Turkey, however this one is even bigger, carved out of the entire wall of the cliff, with beautifully decorated church. The location, in the middle of a huge gorge, offers unforgettable views. Until this day, some monks still live in those caves.

The site is really incredible and not overcrowded as few people in the West even know that there is such a country as Georgia. So, visit it now, before it gets too touristy and expensive. Now, you still can freely walk through all the corridors carved out of the rocks olmost a thousand years ago.

The cliff wall - The view of the whole cave monastery

Vardzia - Cave Monastery

Beautifully decorated stones

The mountains around Vardzia

The valley

Vardzia - The gate

Bells at the Church of the Dormition

History of Vardzia

The site of Vardzia was inhabited since the ancient times, and cave towns in the region date back to as early as the fifth century BC. One of them is Uplistsikhe (click the link to see post and photos about Uplistsikhe), a must see besides Vardzia. Cave Monastery City of Vardzia was carved in the twelfth century during the Georgian Golden Age.

The name of the cite comes from, according to the legend, a conversation between Tamar (who is depicted in the church of the Dormition) and Giorgi, his niece, when he was looking for her after she had gotten lost in the maze of the tunnels. She replied when called: "I'm here" ("Ac var dzia" in Georgian). And "Var dzia" became the name.

The monastery is made of numerous tunnels connecting houses and other rooms with the beautifully painted, well preserved church of Dormition and other smaller chapels.

It was abandoned in the sixteenth century after the Ottoman Invasion, however, as I have mentioned above, some monks live there until today.

The other side of the valley


Vardzia - Cave Monastery

Tunnels in Vardzia

Vardzia - The gate to church of the Dormition

The view from the side of the cliff

The church of the Dormition

The church of the Dormition - Original wall paintings

Vardzia - Cave Monastery

The steps to the upper level

Flower on the cliff



  1. So beautiful to see. Thank you for sharing this.

    1. Thanks William,i`m glad you like it :) Will do my best to keep it up like this and in future :)