Georgia is known for a huge variety of amazing sightseeing destinations from medieval temples to skiing resorts, from ancient churches to hot springs in green valleys, from the sea to picturesque ruins. Despite such huge variety of destinations, the most exciting and unforgettable destination is a mysterious Uplistsikhe cave town. This rock-hewn town is located in the East of Georgia, 10 km away from Gori.
The most ancient settlement in Georgia was founded in the Bronze Age; its name translates as “Lord’s Fortress”. From 6th century BC to 1st century AD Uplistsikhe cave town was the most important religious and political center of Iberia – a historical region that played an important role in ethnic and political strengthening of Georgia. Archaeological excavations revealed temples and things that worshiped a sun goddess, before Christianity became the main religion of the Georgians.
Uplistsikhe experienced its first decline, when Christianity was brought to Georgia by the Apostles Simon and Andrew in 1st century AD; Tbilisi and Mtskheta became the new centers of religion and politics. Uplistsikhe didn’t become abandoned, Christian temples were built there and two religions cohabited Uplistsikhe for some time. The town started flourishing again after the Arab invasion of Tbilisi; Uplistsikhe became new residence of the rulers of Iberia.
Uplistsikhe cave town expanded its territory, grew amount of citizens to 20,000, and became a major trading post. In 1122, when Tbilisi was freed, Uplistsikhe experienced dramatic decline. The situation got worse after invasion of Genghis-khan armies in 13th century, the town became derelict. Today ruins of the town occupy area of 40,000 square meters and can be split in upper, lower and central area. The ruins preserved Hall of Queen Tamar, a bakery, a pharmacy, an amphitheater, and places of sacrifice. This mystical cave-town exposes travelers to unknown Georgia and its origins.