Vardzia (ვარძია) is a special place. All the way in the south of the country, close to the Turkish border , suddenly a cave complex looms up in the rocky hills along the river. Vardzia is a rock-cut monastery founded by the legendary Queen Tamar in 1185. It was originally built as a shelter during the Mongol invasions. The complex consisted of more than six thousand rooms on a total of thirteen floors. A strong piece of architecture.
The corridors of the monastery complex run deep into the mountains. Rooms alternate with narrow corridors, open spaces, a church and a throne room. Murals depict scenes from the Bible and Georgia’s history.
Tamar of Georgia
Tamar – “ Tamar the Great ” for her subjects – was a special woman. She was the first woman to rule the kingdom of Georgia. During her reign Georgia flourished economically and culturally, the so-called Golden Age. She left behind masses of churches and cathedrals, all of them architectural feats, a strong national identity, and a video game.
Tamar was called not only the Great, but also King of Kings. King, not Queen. This is interesting, because Georgian has no grammatical genders. In other words, a genderless language. Modern.