About Sights – The Treasure Caves of Khvamli

The Khvamli (Georgian: ხვამლი) or Khomli (Georgian: ხომლი) limestone massif is located near Georgia’s second city, Kutaisi, and contains numerous sinkholes and caves. One of the most distinctive caves is called Tekenteri (თეკენთერი) whose entrance is through the hollow of a large tree. The cave contains a lake of cold, clean water that was drawn up in buckets by local herdsmen to water their animals.

Khvamli limestone massif in western Georgia. Photo by ჯაბა ლაბაძე via Wikimedia Commons.

Khvamli limestone massif in western Georgia. Photo by ჯაბა ლაბაძე via Wikimedia Commons.

The caves of Khvamli are reputed to contain “royal treasures” (სამეფო საჭურჭლე) hidden there in the 13th century when the Kingdom of Georgia was divided between two cousins, David VI and David VII.

The 14th-century Georgian Chronicle of a Hundred Years (Georgian: ქართლის ცხოვრება) records that much of the treasure of the kingdom was hidden at Khvamli, rather than divided between the two cousins. However, it was also recorded that a “chain of diamonds, the superb jewel cut in the form of an anvil and a great pearl, of which the like was never seen” was claimed by David VI.

King David VI

King David VI

During World War 2, Stalin ordered an expedition to Khvamli to find the treasure. The expedition group included the famous Georgian alpinist Aliosha Japaridze. The expedition spent several weeks searching the Khvamli massif but nothing is known about its findings.

Legend also identifies Khvamli as the site of the punishment of Amirani (Georgian: ამირანი), the hero of a Georgian epic who resembles the Classical Prometheus.

Statue of Amirani in Borjomi

Statue of Amirani in Borjomi

Prometheus Cave, one of Georgia’s natural wonders, is located near Khvamli.

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