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The vertical town

The vertical town
Photo Information
Copyright: Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4245 W: 17 N: 9939] (40976)
Genre: Places
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2013-07-28
Categories: Daily Life, Architecture, Ruins
Camera: Canon PowerShot S1 IS
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/500 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2014-01-25 23:59
Viewed: 3273
Points: 74
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Vardzia - The vertical city

Vardzia is a is a cave monastery site in the south of Georgia and excavated from the slopes of the Erusheti Mountain.
It is quite remote but in Akhaltsikhe we were able to negotiate with a taxi driver to take us there for a day trip (and also to the Sapara Monastery and the Khertvisi Fortress) at a reasonable price.

Do you see the lonely tree on top at the edge of the cliff? That will be the POV for Malgo's pictures when she will be there in April.

For a front view of the rock and a view at the inside, please have a look at the workshop.

Information from Lonely Planet Guide:

In the 12th century a fortification was built here and later a monastery was established that grew into a virtual holy city housing perhaps 200 monks, renowned as a spiritual bastion of Georgia.
The inhabitants lived in dwellings carved from the rock and ranging over 13 floors.
Altogether there are 119 cave groups with 409 rooms, 13 churches … and 25 wine cellars :)

Vardzia suffered a major earthquake in 1283 which shook away the outer walls of many caves.
Today Vardzia is again a working monastery with some caves inhabited by monks.

cornejo, Subhogen, ikeharel, Romano46, Gigidusud, pajaran, chrislo, jhm, Schnappilic, worldcitizen, emka, Oceania, aleXundar, jcpix, photoray, Graal, abmdsudi, adramad, ourania, nikkitta, Cricri, adores has marked this note useful
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To mkamionka: mistakePaulVDV 2 2014-02-01 03:22
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Critiques [Translate]

Ciao Paul
questo è un luogo molto bello e interessante, una di quelle cose che possiamo dire uniche nel loro genere.
La tua foto è ben realizzata e rende molto bene l'impressione che si può avere visitando il luogo.
Vedendo il fiume e la visuale che si ha da qui, si capisce perché abbiano scelto questa parte di montagna per creare la città.
Buona domenica

Hi Paul, very good picture of this interesting settlement excavated in the mountain wall, beautifully captured in this interesting image with good sharpness, depth, light and color. Very good and interesting job well done, congratulations my friend. Thanks for sharing this interesting work.

Good evening and happy start to the week.
Best wishes from southern Spain.

Hello Paul,
What an awesome place to build these network of caves. I wonder how they built this on this sheer vertical rock face. Good POV chosen to show the extent of the rock face as well as the valley down below. Good colours and clarity. Thanks for sharing a strange new place. Liked it a lot.

Ciao Paul
hai fatto un ottimo reportage nel tuo viaggio in Georgia e ti suggerisco di farne anche un tema.
Anche in questa il soggetto è assai suggestivo e ripreso molto bene.
Ottima la definizione.
Ciao e buona domenica

Hi Paul,
it looks very much like some caves in Kappadocia in Turkey. Amazing achievement and hard work of many people. Interesting POV, little bit higher and showing not only the caves but also some landscape around. Very good clarity and natural colors.
Thanks for sharing

Bonjour Paul,
Excellent POV sur ces grottes et bonne idée de cadrage. Très intéressante architecture. La version du WS est plus classique. Par contre le point de vue choisis pour notre amie me semble un peu dangereux, pauvre Malgo! :)
Bon dimanche.

Hello Paul,
On thumbnail I was thinking the capture is from Cappadoce in Central Anatolia but it's from Georgia.
Nice capture w,th perfect pov and layout. Many interesting notes.
TFS and have a nice weekend

Bonjour Paul,

Fraîches en été et chaudes en hiver. Ces maisons creusées dans la pierre de la montagne sont magnifiques. Une architecture simple et efficace, par contre assez difficile d'y installer la plomberie et l'électricité.

Bon dimanche


Higher and secluded, Paul, that's what probably guided those monks who built the place, carved on the rocks, and to be protected from a hostile environment.
Beautifully taken a side view, each of the caves shown in excelent clarity, DOF and impressive view of the steep cliff over the balley.
I enjoy this stuff very much.
Good evening,

Dobar dan, popodne.
Interesantan tekst o staroj arhitekturi, sa istorijom i opisom ...
Lep pogled na the vertical town ...
Dobar snimak i perspektiva, lepo pokazana stara arhitektura, lepe boje.
Dobar rad sa lepim fotografijama u radionici.
Lepo popodne i sve najbolje.

Good afternoon, this afternoon.
An interesting article on the old architecture, the history and description of the ...
Nice view of the vertical town ...
Good shot and perspective, nicely demonstrated the old architecture, beautiful colors.
Good work with the beautiful photographs in the workshop.
Nice afternoon and all the best.

Dag Paul,
Die monniken van de Middeleeuwen hebben daar een echt stadje gebouwd. Dit is goed te zien op de foto’s van de WS. Deze rots grotten zijn echt een bijzondere bezienswaardigheid die een beetje aan Cappadocië doen denken. Door al deze gaten ziet het klooster er uit als een gatenkaas ! Zonder pikhamer moest het uithollen van de rots een titanisch werk geweest zijn. Je hebt hier een heel mooi standpunt gekozen om de indrukwekkende rotstructuur weer te geven en tegelijkertijd een mooi uitzicht over de vallei en de omringende bergen te krijgen. Mooie kleuren en contrasten in een aantrekkelijke compositie. Een heel interessante en schilderachtige plek.
Vele groeten,

Hello Paul.
Great shot of this amazing placel, the cave monastery are very impresive, I like it, well done.
Regards Robert.

  • Great 
  • jhm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 24270 W: 523 N: 40571] (174654)
  • [2014-01-26 10:35]

Goedenavond Paul,

Hier moet men een beetje kamikaze spelen wil men thuis komen
Uitstekende genomen van deze grotten, en goed idee van deze inkadering.
Opnieuw een betere foto, Paul u zelf kiezen wat u wil tonen, en niet laten opdringen door andere mensen die soms niets van fotografie afweten.
U weet TE is een mooie site maar waart veel mensen samenkomen is er duidelijk jalousie.
Goed foto werk, bedankt.


Hello Paul,

TFS such an interesting place. Good presentation!

Best regards,


Hello Paul,
Thanks for showing us this amazing place. These types of dwellings are fascinating, the way they are carved into the sides of mountains or rocks. The different stairways are also unique. I hope these caves can continue to be preserved. The landscape in the distance is also beautiful.

Hi Paul
so Malgo is coming here in April??
She travels more than anybody! :)
good for her.

I'd love to see a picture taken near that tree haha

Looking at this scene, its hard to imagine people actually using these caves. simply amazing isn't it.
glad you were able to capture it and show it to us.
unique subject to post.

Good morning Paul.
Beautiful panoramic photos.
Good colors and nice sharpness.
All the best and regards

  • Great 
  • emka Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9980 W: 144 N: 25000] (122169)
  • [2014-01-27 6:13]

Hi Paul, how you are tempting me with these photos. This side view looks much more impressive than the general views from Workshop. How the people - monks - moved around this vertical city?? I am not sure about all these stairs. And the POV for me near the tiny tree, hahaha. The closer views remind the cave temples from Cappadocia. Interesting and very impressive. Thanks for sharing. i hope that in April there will be no snow.
Warm regrads Malgo

Hi Paul,

Living in the cave, winter would be warm and summer would be cool. How smart people were in 12th century. This picture was very nicely composed. It includes the cave and green mountain on other side.

Have a nice week!

Hello Paul,

Great shot of this cave town on the slope of the hill.Life must have been hard for all those monks.Excellnt pov and sharpness in this image.Keep sharing.TFS.


Hello Paul,
What an amazing place! It is unbelievable that these caves were built in the 12th. century. It must be quite an experience climbing from the base to the topmost cave.
A great set of images, each captured with perfect pov showing the uniqueness of the monastery. Wonderful clarity and light management.
A memorable presentation, thanks for sharing.
With best regards,

  • Great 
  • Fis2 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9438 W: 157 N: 15227] (122861)
  • [2014-01-28 0:37]

Witaj Paul!
A very curious place.
I like POV and composition.
Good colors and light.
Person add savor of photo.
Have a nice day

  • Great 
  • jcpix Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1857 W: 2 N: 3793] (14030)
  • [2014-01-28 16:10]

Hi Paul,

This is really something to behold, stunning what was carved right out the mountain side! I can only assume it was a bit more treacherous long before the handrails!? A splendid look upon these caves, this is a great point of view to grasp the dimension and make-up of this fascinating piece of history. A very strong composition and presentation, all with details and textures to enjoy along the way. Thanks for sharing this unique setting. I'm sure Malgo will be all over this place! :) Enjoy the day ahead.

Friendly wishes,


Howdy Paul,

Unusual and appealing slice of history with your view of the Vardzia Cave Monastery cliff dwellings, perched above the river valley below.

Similar it appearance and in time to our American Southwest Native Americans cliff dwellings.

Well done,

Excellente photo de ce spectaculaire et superbe endroit. Très bon choix de point de vue et de cadrage.

Salut Paul,
un bon pdv sur ces falaises et toutes ces habitations à flanc de montagne, bien composé avec le contraste de la vue de la vallée verdoyante à droite.

  • Great 
  • Waylim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2732 W: 154 N: 6183] (25436)
  • [2014-01-29 10:57]

Hi Paul,

Very impressive and interesting place to see. I have no idea of this place until now. Learn something new everyday. Excellent quality showing all the excavated area for living. I can only imagine back when. It probably keep very warm inside.

The WS are also really good and show the inside as well as the view from a distance.


  • Great 
  • Graal Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9445 W: 268 N: 3085] (103038)
  • [2014-01-29 11:46]

Hi Paul,
unusual place in Georgia. Amazing caves and "vertical town" (title). Interesting 3 images, here and in WS. Good presentation. I like it.
Have a nice evening.

Hi Paul
An extraordinary sight and the spectacular rock-cut dwellings! it must be wonderful to really see this. You chose the most effective view point showing us both sides to put into perspective as well giving us the ideas of scale, depth and height, full of natural colours, superb detail and clarity. This easily has to be one of the most unusual places on the planet and quite beyond imagination! and never cease to wonder at what nature produces. Superb TE contribution, applaud your excellent effort and tx to the extra pictures guiding us along. Congrats
Best regards

Hi Paul.
Splendid composition with this mountain wall, we see fully excavated, with what must have been cave dwellings, this reminds me of some similar places in Turkey.
Magnificent view the valley below and the other side of the mountain to the bottom.
A lovely colorful in very natural shades.
The lighting is very well run, good sharpness brings out the details of the image.
Well done.
Have a good day.
Best wishes.

P/D. Very grateful for your kind congratulations

Hi Paul,
Spectacular place, it's amazing how the people lived there.
Well taken scene, enjoy the weekend.


Hi Paul
the ratio of wine cellars to churches illustrates well the priorities in that settlement :)
Great POV to present this extraordinary place. Your comment about emka is I guess a joke as I remember her mentioning that she is afraid of heights. Very interesting place, I have just visited the Cappadokia which seems quite similar and they are not that far away from each other I guess.
Great reportage!

Hello Paul,
an amazing structure expanding along and within the rock. Your presentation is excellent, very sharp and detailed with stunning sense of depth and height that give us a comprehensive idea about this unique monastery and its relation to the landscape. I like very much the way you divided the frame, giving one third of it to the distant view. You made very apt use of perspectives and illuminated both the near and the distant view effectively. I appreciate very much the addition of the two complementary pictures in the workshop. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a lovely evening,

Hola Paul

Amazing, stunning place, first time I saw it, how did they managed with few tecniques to built such caves and live there, like #4 it show the inside part
This photo reportage is why I like TE
The POV is exellent to show mountain , caves, stairs and below the landscape
Will watch the followings next days
Greetings, congrats and TFS
Fascinated with this place

  • Great 
  • Cricri Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 15335 W: 159 N: 26849] (140744)
  • [2014-02-03 11:07]

Bonjour Paul
Intéressante note sur ce lieu insolite, extraordinaire, tout bon POV et de belles images complémentaires en WS
Belle soirée

IMpressive place Paul, very well documented.
The WS images are preety amazing also.

  • Great 
  • adores Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5877 W: 64 N: 11341] (46933)
  • [2014-02-19 15:48]

Hi Paul!
Good shot here! You're giving a good idea about how they look like. I've been there many years ago, it must be really different by now. I like the composition and the presence of the people.

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