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Traveling in Uplistsikhe (Cave Town), Georgia

2012-11-18

Cave Town or Uplistsikhe is one of the most thrilling places of interest in Georgia. It is situated 10 kilometers east of the Georgian town Gori, on the left bank of Mktvari river. Uplistsikhe contains buildings that date back to the Early Iron and Late Middle ages and distinguishes with its combination of rock-cut cultures and pagan and Christian architecture.

This stunning cave complex is one of the oldest urban settlements in Georgia. It is situated in the heart of the ancient kingdom of Kartil. Its history begins in the 1-2 millennium B.C. For many centuries the Cave Town was an essential religious, political and cultural center in the Hellenistic and the late Antique periods. In the 9th-11th centuries the town got in its pick of prosperity, however, it was severely destroyed by Mongols in 13th century.

The cave territory is about eight hectares. It can generally be divided into three parts: south (lower), middle (central) and north (upper). The largest part is the middle one, it includes a bulk of the Uplistsikhe rock-cut structures and is connected to the lower part by a tunnel. Little is know about the nations who lived here, but it is obvious that they had been highly civilized for the era. They used to have a laboratory where they made medications, a winery, apothecary and a ceremony hall. The winery is located near the apothecary and the laboratory is located behind it. If you keep on walking forward, you will see the ceremony call which was named after the Georgian queen Tamar.

Near the ceremony hall, there is a Christian basilica, built of stone and brick and dating back to the 9-10th centuries. Some very important parts of the Cave Town were almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1920. During excavations archeologist have discovered different types of artifacts dating to different centuries, including gold and silver jewelry, sculptures, etc which tell a lot about this town. Most of the artifacts are now kept in the Georgian National Museum in Tbilisi.

If you are visiting Georiga, it is a great idea to visit Uplistsikhe, as it is one of the must-see places of the country. It takes only 2 hours to get to Uplistsikhe from Tbilisi by car.

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