Those interested in history will encounter an impressive lineup of medieval Georgian monuments in Aspindza Municipality, Samtskhe-Javakheti Region. While its caves, fortresses, and beautiful nature are appealing enough, the area’s historic and mythic ties to Queen Tamar also make it a popular tourist destination.

The History of Aspindza

Traces of civilization in Aspindza town, the center of Aspindza Municipality, hail back to pre-Christian times. The whole area was flourishing during the Middle Ages: a lot of castles and monasteries were built there in that very period.

Like much of Georgia, the region was no stranger to war. Due to its location, it was constantly forced to fend off invasions by Persia and the Ottoman Empire.

Indeed, the name Aspindza is synonymous with many important Georgian victories, including the 1770 Battle of Aspindza. During the course of this famous battle, the Georgian warriors, under the command of King Erekle (Heraclius) II, defeated a force of Ottomans and Lezgians nearly three times the size of their own.

Important Monuments

The region is home to a number of significant historical monuments, including the 12th-13th century monastery complex of Vardzia. This ancient site is of immense historic importance.

Boasting seven stories in some parts and thirteen in others, the cave complex comprised more than six hundred rooms, twenty-eight wine cellars, 185 Qvevris, and 15 churches. The construction of this impressive cave complex was begun by King Giorgi III and completed by his daughter, Queen Tamar.

Within the partially collapsed monastery’s ancient halls, the best-preserved frescoes can be found in the Dormition of the Virgin Church. One of these depicts a young Tamar standing next to her father with a model of the church in her hands.

Other outstanding sights of Aspindza Municipality are villages Khizabavra and Saro. In the latter, two megalithic fortresses from antiquity and a 7th-century church are preserved. 

There are also a number of interesting monuments from the Middle Ages in the region, including the fortified cities of Tmogvi and Khertvisi, built atop rocky mountains, and the cave complex and desert monastery of Vanis Kvabebi.

We use third-party cookies in order to personalise your experience.
Cookie Policy