Monday, May 30, 2016

History Along the Mtkvari River

With Akhaltsikhe as our base in southern Georgia, we visited three major, and very impressive, ancient sites in the hills above the Mtkvari River.

Khertvisi Fortress

The meadows were full of vivid spring wildflowers.

The star attraction was Vardzia, a magnificent cave town. 
At its peak, it held about 3000 occupied caves, stretched along miles of the river.

The interior spaces are imposing — very much a match for the 
Ancient Pueblo ruins in the American southwest.

View from the caves down to the river

The last of our sites for today was Akhaltsikhe Castle. This is a rather strange complex, recently renovated and modernized, that contains four historic buildings along with some modern ones. 
This is the castle.

A golden-domed mosque

A Christian church

A fort, whose first floor is now used for administrative offices, flying the Georgian flag

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