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Uplistsikhe – The oldest Cave Town

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There are three major biggest cave towns in Georgia: Uplistsikhe, Vardzia and David Gareja. From these towns, Uplistsikhe is the oldest one. Its name literally means “the lord’s fortress”. It is one of the monuments of ancient times, which gives you the unique experience.

This ancient city is very interesting with its streets, squares and water reservoirs. It has four gates and a secret tunnel, which goes down to the Mtkvari River. It is estimated that there were more than 700 buildings at the time it was built, but only around 270 has survived today.

Legend behind Uplistsikhe

There is a legend that the city was built by the slaves. They were given special golden axes, which were covered with iron. Therefore, slaves had to work as much as they could in order to destroy the simple metal on the surface of the axes and only after that, they could get this gold as the reward and a freedom. Some parts of the buildings are dated back to II and I millennium BC. During the Middle Ages Uplistsikhe was a very prosperous city.

An unusual prison

The city consists of 3 districts. The central district is the biggest one in size. There is located a prison. However, it was an unusual prison. There were 80 m deep holes, specially made in the way that the prisoner could only stand there. The prison was located in the center, so that everybody could see the prisoners suffering and they would refrain from committing a crime.

Theatre from the first millennium

A special attention goes to the theatre (Theatron), which dates back to II-III centuries AC. The ceiling is decorated with sophisticated ornaments; the stage is located in the center. Tamar Hall is another very interesting place for tourists, which is named after King Tamar. It belongs to ancient times as well. The hall was intended for some ceremonies for the idols.

Tradition related to the church

There is also an old church in the central district. Near the church, you will see very old pitchers(Qvevri.) There was a tradition: when a child was born in the family, they filled the pitcher with the wine and kept it until he would become 16 years old. After that, they would give this Qvevri full of wine to this church as a gift for the God.

Even today all the mysteries of Uplistsikhe are not fully uncovered. That's why Georgians consider it as a mystical city.

From 2007 Uplistsikhe is included in UNESCO World Heritage List.


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The author

Anano Chikhradze

Anano Chikhradze

I am Anano. I Iove travelling, history and getting to know people from all over the world. I write about Georgia, my country, and I am sure everybody will fall in love with it.

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