• Vardzia

Vardzia (ვარძია) is a special place. All the way in the south of the country, close to the Turkish border , suddenly a cave complex looms up in the rocky hills along the river. Vardzia is a rock-cut monastery founded by the legendary Queen Tamar in 1185. It was originally built as a shelter during the Mongol invasions. The complex consisted of more than six thousand rooms on a total of thirteen floors. A strong piece of architecture.

The corridors of the monastery complex run deep into the mountains. Rooms alternate with narrow corridors, open spaces, a church and a throne room. Murals depict scenes from the Bible and Georgia’s history.

Vardzia from the other side of the Mtvari river
Vardzia from the other side of the Mtvari river

Tamar of Georgia

Tamar – “ Tamar the Great ” for her subjects – was a special woman. She was the first woman to rule the kingdom of Georgia. During her reign Georgia flourished economically and culturally, the so-called Golden Age. She left behind masses of churches and cathedrals, all of them architectural feats, a strong national identity, and a video game.

Tamar was called not only the Great, but also King of Kings. King, not Queen. This is interesting, because Georgian has no grammatical genders. In other words, a genderless language. Modern.

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