Georgia is famous for “cave towns” and the top ones on your list should be Davit Gareja and Uplistsikhe. Visit Stalin’s hometown of Gori and then head out to Uplistsikhe, a cave town out in sparse countryside.
The main two options to get there are to share a car/taxi or get a Marshrutky (shared mini-bus). We took a Marshrutky which left us here and we walked round to the entrance to Uplistsikhe. The main two options to get there are to share a car/taxi or get a Marshrutky (shared mini-bus). Be sure to dress warm as it gets fairly cold and windy.
Entrance to Uplistsikhe Cave Town in Georgia
Uplistsikhe is an ancient cave city which dates back to between the 6th and the 1st century BC! The added charm is the extreme countryside and wilderness of rural Georgia surrounding the area.
Uplistsikhe was actually a religious centre, hence the housing of an excellent church on the top of the cave city – the centrepiece of Uplistsikhe. The church/temple is an example of pre-Christian Kartli. The area also acted as a go between/stop off point between Europe and Asia for trade.
Uplistsikhe once housed 20,000 people, and they call it a city – after all, Machu Picchu is referred to a city, and nobody lives there now either! Uplistsikhe was larger at one point in time however was destroyed. Archaelogists uncovered the site in the 1950s and have made a lot more of the caves now visible and easy to visit since then.
It’s open from 11am to 6pm at present though this does change so keep tabs on it. Visiting outside these hours is not possible – the site is a nationally protected area and police man the site 24 hours a day. Respect the entrance fee and visit during day time.
Uplistsikhe Cave Town in Georgia.
It’s quite a small cave town to navigate your way round and you won’t need all day here! Guided tours are available if you want some historical background as well.
This marvellous cave town in the Georgian countryside.
While Visiting Uplistsikhe I’d also recommend walking up the tunnel (used as an escape route), the main tower gate (at the front), the mini ampitheatre (just some ruins of what might have been), the Queen of Tamar Hall, its lower caves and Uplistsulis Eklesia (the main sight with a massive church at the top).
The church at the top of Uplistsikhe Cave Town.
Check out the views of the countryside too – they are simply tremendous!