About Sights – Uplistsikhe Cave City

Literally meaning ‘fortress of the lord’, Uplistsikhe (Georgian: უფლისციხე) dates back as far as the Iron Age and is one of the oldest urban settlements in Georgia. Situated 10 km east of the town of Gori on a rocky promontory above the river Mtkvari, the city stood directly on the path of the old Silk Road and was a strategic and commercial center. At the peak of its prosperity the city had a population of 20 000.

The complex is almost inaccessible from the river side. A 30 meter shaft that tunnels almost vertically down through the mountain, provided a secret entrance and escape route during times of danger. Although the city has been ravaged by invaders, earthquakes and the weather, it still contains a number of impressive public buildings

The city is divided into three parts: south (lower), middle (central) and north (upper) covering an area of approximately 8 hectares. The middle part is the largest and is connected to the southern part via a narrow rock-cut pass and a tunnel. Narrow alleys and several staircases radiate from the central “street” to the different structures.

The temple of Makvliani is the largest of the surviving temples of the Hellenistic period. Along with several pagan temples, there is a large throne room (named after Queen Tamar), whose roof has been carved to look like a wooden ceiling made of beams.

The easily worked natural sandstone rock made it possible to create complex decorative compositions such as this vaulted ceiling.

Archaeological excavations have revealed extraordinary artifacts of different eras: beautiful gold, silver and bronze jewelry and magnificent examples of ceramics and sculptures. These are no longer on site and are displayed in the National Museum of Tbilisi.

The majority of the caves are devoid of any decorations but there are columns and beams carved from the sandstone rock.

A church dating from the 9th-10th century was built at the top of the cave city.

The town was in its heyday in the 9th – 11th centuries but was ravaged by Mongols in the 13th century and largely abandoned.

How to get there? Uplistsikhe is a 30 minute drive from the town of Gori, and is 85 kilometers from Tbilisi. Regular buses leave Tbilisi’s Didube bus station for Gori, (the trip takes about an hour), and taxis are available in Gori to take you to Uplistsikhe.

Georgia About recommends a visit to this spectacular cave city!

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5 Responses to “About Sights – Uplistsikhe Cave City”
  1. Wow! That is amazing! Why build under the ground? Interesting….

  2. workmomad says:

    That looks truly incredible! I hope someday I can go see it….


Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] the area of the ”cave city” at Uplistsikhe (Georgian: უფლისციხე). Uplistsikhe dates back as far as the Iron Age and is one of the oldest urban settlements in […]

  2. […] Uplistsikhe is an ancient cave city, believed to be 5000 years old but finally destroyed by the Mongols. Hard to envisage life here as a functioning town. I enjoyed leaping from rock to rock and pretending to be a troglodyte. I thought of hiding in a cave and leaping out to scare someone but with hard surfaces and heights nearby, it was a bad idea. The many photos I took of this very photogenic place were great fun to edit in the all new Snapseed 2 too. […]

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