Exploring Georgian Cave Town Uplistsikhe
My last trip to Georgia was an amazing one; I had a chance to visit the ancient rock-hewn town in the Eastern Georgia –Uplistsikhe.
Uplistsikhe cave complex is situated 10 kilometers east of the newly reconstructed Georgian town – Gori. The place is famous and notable for its unique combination of various styles of rock-cut cultures from Anatolia and Iran and co-existence of pagan and Christian architecture.
This amazingly beautiful complex is one of the oldest urban settlements in the country. Its history begins in the I-II millennium B.C. For centuries Uplistsikhe was an important religious, political and cultural center in the Hellenistic and the late Antique periods (IV c. B.C. – IV c. A.D.). In the 9th – 11th centuries the town was in its heyday, however, it was cruelly ravaged by Mongols in 13th century.
The cave complex area covers approximately 8 hectares. We know very little about the nations living in Uplistsikhe but it seems they had achieved a high level of civilization. Upliscixe inhabitants used a laboratory to make medicines. There’s also an apothecary, the winery, as well as halls used for ceremonial purposes.
While exploring Uplistsikhe, you’ll see the winery, not far from the winery is an apothecary and right behind the apothecary is a laboratory. Continue walking and you’ll discover the hall named after Georgian Queen Tamar.
Not far is a Christian basilica built of stone and brick in the 9th-10th centuries. The earthquake in 1920 completely destroyed several parts of the most vulnerable areas of Uplistsikhe.
Luckily, archeologists excavated numerous artifacts of different periods, including gold, silver and bronze jewelry, and samples of ceramics and sculptures that say a lot about this place. Many of these artifacts are in the safekeeping of the National Museum in Tbilisi – the capital of Georgia.
If you plan to visit Georgia, I would strongly recommend you to reach this wonderful place. It takes only two hours of drive from the capital and is definitely worth seeing!