A Once Hidden Cave City: 6,000 Homes Built In A Rock

Wow, I have never seen anything like this before. This is an 800-year-old cave city (for lack of a better word). It is obviously man-made, which blows my mind.

The story behind it is even more fascinating. This city, named Vardzia, is located in Georgia, where Eastern Europe and Western Asia come together. It has 13 levels and 6,000 “houses” for people to live in. It was built back when Tamar, a 25-year-old woman, was the Queen of Georgia. She had this cave city (a monastery) built as a place for the monks to hide in since they were being attacked by the Mongols.

Back in the day, the only way to get there was through a secret tunnel that began at a river. Wow, a secret tunnel leading to a cave city… sounds like the ultimate adventure map! The monks remained hidden and living peacefully in this cave, undetected, for years. They were ahead of their time and created Europe’s first eco-friendly self-sustainable structure. They even made a whole bunch of inter-working irrigated terraces to provide food and water. Even though these brilliant monks escaped the Mongols, an earthquake in 1283 collapsed much of the cave city. Even Mother Nature is not without a twisted sense of irony. There are a few monks who still live there today, but now it’s pretty much just a museum.

[via Kuriositas]