Our last stop today was a large cave city located above the north side of the Mtkvari River. Between the 6th century BC and 1st century AD, Uplistsikhe (🎫 20 GEL) developed into one of pre-Christian Kartli’s chief political and religious centers, with temples dedicated principally to the sun goddess. After the Arabs occupied Tbilisi in AD 645, Uplistsikhe became the residence of the Christian kings of Kartli and an important trade center on the main caravan road from Asia to Europe. At its peak, it housed 20,000 people. However, its importance declined after King David the Builder retook Tbilisi in 1122, and the Mongols destroyed it in 1240. Nowadays, we can visit only the 40,000-sq-metre Shida Qalaqi (Inner City), less than half of the original size. Nevertheless, it’s one of the oldest places of settlement in the Caucasus. We got heavy rain during our visit, so we were happy to end up at the wine cellar for little wine and cognac tasting (included in the ticket price).
Parking location – Uplistsikhe: 41.966301N 44.211176E (🚻)