Similar to Uplistsikhe but larger and even more impressive are the ruins of Vardzia; said to be 800 years old. This city was built inside the mountain to be protected from Mongols and remained invisible to other countries and armies. In the 13th century, a large earthquake split the mountain in half and exposed the city. Since the earthquake occurred, the city was almost completely destroyed and abandoned.
To give you an idea of its size, at its peak Vardzia has over 13 floors with a total of 6,000 rooms! On the left is one of the city’s secret escape tunnels. Above is one of the few buildings that were visible from the outside. Below are frescoes within the monastery, including a depiction of Queen Tamar.