The Vani Caves

The Vani Caves

The Vani Caves complex carved into a cliff is a unique example of Georgian medieval architecture. It is an 8th-century monument located in Samtskhe-Javakheti Region, 27 kilometers away from the town of Aspindza.

The Structure of the Vani Caves

Around 200 caves have been carved over 16 stories high in the cliff, which contained living areas, agricultural storage areas, a shelter, tunnels, six churches, and the remains of a plumbing and reservoir system. The Vani Caves assisted in the development of other architectural forms of Vardzia in the 12th and 13th centuries. 

The domed St. George Church stands in the center of the complex and acts as an active monastery now. It was an extremely important religious center and a fountain of knowledge and education for centuries.

The church has a decorated limestone gate and an ornamented bell tower. Archaeologists have also found a workshop for glazed ceramics and agricultural buildings, with a wine press and a small water-line carved into the cliff.

There is also a wine cellar with space for eight Qvevris and a small church in the upper part of the complex. Stanzas of the Georgian literary masterpiece, “The Knight in the Panther’s Skin” have been written in ink on its walls in the second half of the 15th century by women who fled there for shelter.

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