Georgia’s golden age is related to the reign of King Tamar. 12th-13th centuries were times for unprecedented renaissance for Georgia. Art, architecture, military build-up, constraction of roads and fortresses were flourishing. The immortal poem of Shota Rustaveli "the Knight in the Panther's Skin" is a masterpiece of those times. Remarkable architectural monuments such as Geguti Palace, Betania Monastery, Kintsvisi monastery and many other palaces and cathedrals were also constructed. The cave monastery of Vardzia by the valley of the Mtkvari River is one of such amazing constructions.
The monastery of over 600 cave cells has been well-preserved and currently occupies area of over 500 square meters stretched on the heel of the Erusheti mountain.
It is a truly unique town with streets, squares and 15 churches with unique frescos of great historical and cultural values, such as “raising of Lazarus” and “the Christ entering the Jerusalem”, also the painting of the King Tamar (one of four original paintings of King Tamar preserved to this day).
Amazingly, the Vardzia monastery was equipped with its own water supply. Springs of water fall into the monastery from the nearby mountains. The wine cellar of the monastery was filled with more than 90 thousand liters of wine.
The Vardzia was a favorite residence for the King Tamara. Over 300 cells belonged to King’s residence. The construction was skillfully designed from security, as well as acoustic point of view.
The Vardzia monastery has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.