Anicent Villages


The village Chachkari is located in Akhalkalaki Municipality 30 kilometers south of Aspindza, in a valley to the immediate north-east of the Vardzia Cave Monastery. Because of its location it is considered as a unique tourist destination. 

The legend of Chachkari is inherently tied to the establishment of the cave city of Vardzia. Stories handed down tell that a key determinant of the location of Vardzia would be its proximity to a strong village, which would be able to supply the Georgian army with food and wine while also remaining strategically hidden. For this reason  the cliff face that houses the cave city of Vardzia was chosen and the village of Chachkari would be there, strategically hidden in the valley directly behind it, to provision and support Vardzia and its inhabitants. 

It is also said that a secret tunnel was dug between Chachkari and Vardzia to serve as a hidden supply route for the provisioning  of all the necessary goods from the village to the city. Legend states that even King Tamar herself used this very passage. 

The wines of Chachkari were made in rock hewn wine presses called Satsnakhelis in Georgian. The wine was carried to Vardzia in wineskins and stored in Qvevris. The remains of the wine were used to produce Georgia;s traditional spirit, known as Chacha which was reserved for the villagers to enjoy. It is from this legend that the village received its name of Chachkari, which means “The Gate of Chacha”.  Today this abandoned village with its small hidden in the cliff houses  looks like a hobbits’ village.

Upon reservation in advance you can even enjoy the wine-tasting in the old house of one of the region’s well-known wine-maker – Giorgi Natenadze. 

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One of the oldest historic villages in Georgia, Chobareti is distinguished by numerous architectural and historical monuments. While you’re there, explore the underground shelters and dwelling places interconnected by a system of tunnels that were used in past times to ward off enemies.

Chobareti is located pretty close to both  Akhaltsikhe and Aspindza. This village is distinguished by traditional gastronomy service offered by one of the villagers. There you can take part in the cheese-making process and bake traditional Meskhetian Kada and Khachapuri. After cuisine experience guests are served in the traditional Meskhetian house called “Oda” which is three hundred years old. 

If you are interested in local services please contact us directly and we will provide you with the information.

Private: Runed Village Enteli

With nearly all physical evidence of it erased from existence, the ruined church and Enteli stoneman are all that remain of the village. The stoneman is a well-preserved megalith monument that is estimated to have been created in the 9th century BC.


The historical village of Saro is located a few kilometers from the Akhaltsikhe-Vardzia road. The indigenous Meskhetian culture and architecture of Meskheti is probably the best preserved in Saro. Here you will see the ruins of the Megalithic Fortress built 3-4 millennium ago, medieval chapel of Archangel, secret defense buildings (darns), traditional Meskhetian dwellings (buildings half in the ground) i.e. Meskhetian ‘Odas’ and Meskhetian halls. The village is located at the cliff of the mountain. So, you will definitely enjoy the unearthly beauty of the Javakheti and Erusheti ridges.

Vardzia Historical-Architectural Museum-Reserve

Vardzia is a monastery dating back to the twelfth century AD, located on the banks of the river Mtkvari and is one of the most important historical sites in Georgia. The location, in the middle of a huge gorge, offers unforgettable views. Until this day, some monks still live in those caves.

The popular story behind the name is that the young Tamar (later Queen of Georgia) went out hunting with her uncle Giorgi and got lost in the caves. Giorgi searched for her and eventually found her because she shouted out from the rock cave above “Aq var dzia” (“I am here uncle”), which in the local language is close to the word Vardzia, i.e. I am here uncle.

The cave monastery grew into a complex stretching along the mountainside for as long as 800 m, to the depth of 50 meters housing perhaps 2,000 monks, with over 13 churches, 25 wine cellars, baths, libraries and numerous dwellings connected by tunnels and stairs. During an enemy attack, the complex could host up to 20,000 people.

It is assumed that the only access to this stronghold was via a hidden tunnel whose entrance was near the banks of Mtkvari river. The outside slope of the mountain was covered with fertile terraces, suitable for cultivation, for which an intricate system of irrigation was designed.

Four distinct building phases have been identified at Vardzia: the first during the reign of Giorgi III (1156–1184), when the site was laid out and the first cave dwellings excavated; the second between his death and the marriage of his successor Tamar in 1186, when the Church of the Dormition was carved out and decorated; the third from that date until the Battle of Basian c.1203, during which time many more dwellings, as well as the defences, water supply, and irrigation network, were constructed; while the fourth was a period of partial rebuilding after heavy damage in the earthquake of 1283.

Since 1985 the site has formed part of the Vardzia Historical–Architectural Museum-Reserve, which includes forty-six architectural sites, twelve archaeological sites, and twenty-one sites of monumental art. In 1999 Vardzia-Khertvisi was submitted for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List as a Cultural Site.

On the banks of the river directly below it is a service area which is home to several shops and restaurants. Steps lead from the car park in front of the shops up to the ticket office. Behind the ticket office, a paved road leads up to the upstream side of the complex, from where visitors are conveyed through a combination of external paths and stairs and internal tunnels along a one-way system to the far end of the complex from where they descend downstairs and tunnels to a path that leads them back to connect with the road just up the hill from the ticket office. 

Entrance Fee: The Vardzia entrance fee is 15 GEL (€4.45). 

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