ON THE RIVERBANK of Mtkvari you find the monumental ancient cave-village Uplistsikhe from the 1st millennium BC. The city was a powerful religious, political and cultural center in the Hellenistic and late Antique periods. Streets, churches, palaces, concert halls and living quarters were carved into the an impressive sight together with the extremely beautiful and breathtaking surroundings.mountain. Originally it consisted of more than 700 caves. Today only 150 remains. The cave city is still
the residence of Georgian kings
After the establishment of Christianity in Georgia in 337, the role and importance of the city decreased. In the 9-10th decade it once again rose, and became the residence of Georgian kings. The people of Uplistsikhe had close ties with the centers of Urartu, Iran, Armenia, Asia Minor and Greek-roman counties. The articles made here are of high artistic quality and shows Uplistsikhe as a center of handicrafts. Chingis Kahn destroyed the city in 1240. It was finally deserted in the 14th century. Today Uplistsikhe is an impressive memorial of ancient settlements in Georgia. Findings are kept in the state art museum of Georgia.
A days trip from Tbilisi.
You can spend a whole day walking around here. From Tbilisi you can take a mashrutka to Gori (60 km), and a taxi from there. I would estimate the distance Gori to Uplitsikhe to be around 10 km. Bring some food and you will have a great day. At the entrance you can buy water and khachapouri. Go up to the top and enjoy the spectacular scenery overlooking Mtkvari and the long valley in both directions. Don’t forget to look at the beautiful candle lit fresques in the 10th-century Prince’s Church.
Entrance fee for foreigners here is twice the ordinary fee for Georgians like most places in Georgia. It’s still very cheap, and is more a reflection of the miserable economical situation most Georgians experience than a desire to skin tourists.