Georgia’s Biggest Cave: Home of Prometheus?

   

Prometheus Cave, near Kutaisi, is Georgia’s biggest cave*, and an enchanting experience.

 

 

 

 

In Greek mythology, Prometheus gave life to mankind by gifting them the fire he stole from Mount Olympus. According to myth, Zeus punished Prometheus by ordering him to be chained, with unbreakable bonds, to a rock somewhere in the Caucasus. Could it be that the location of his eternal imprisonment was Georgia’s biggest cave? That’s certainly what many Georgian’s believe, and in any case a visit to the cave is a mesmerizing experience. Here’s what you need to know.

 

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The Armenian Cave Village of Khndzoresk

The Caucasus are heaven if you are a fan of caves, and the Armenian cave village at Khndzoresk does not disappoint!

 

 

The Armenian cave village of Khndzoresk may not be well known (we can probably blame it’s tricky to pronounce name…) but it deserves to be known as one of the most fascinating destinations in Armenia, and possibly the Caucasus as a whole. Its picturesque location and rich history make it one of Southern Armenia’s must-see stops. Here’s what you need to know.

 

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The Puzzling Cave City of Vardzia

 

The Cave City of Vardzia is a vivid reminder of Georgia’s fascinating history. But what was it for?

 

 

Cave City of Vardzia

Photo by Tony Bowden

 

Cave cities are always an astonishing sight, a fascinating glimpse into an ancient way of life, and the cave cities of the Caucasus are no exception. Georgia actually has three prominent cave sites and while Uplistsikhe is older, Vardzia is by far the biggest and most impressive. This vast set of caves date from the 12th century, Georgia’s golden age, and are unsurprisingly a UNESCO world heritage site.

 

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Georgia’s Meteora: the Katskhi Pillar

Georgia is full of surprises: you can find better wine than France, higher mountains than Switzerland and, it turns out, older monasteries than those found on the rock pillars of Greece. 

 

 

 

The Katskhi pillar, Georgia’s Meteora is found not far from Chiatura, but seems a world away from the town’s mining history and rusty cable cars. It’s setting — amid an other-worldy landscape of cliffs and forest — is stunning. The pillar rises 40 meters from the hills, and has understandably captivated Georgians for centuries: it was originally a pagan holy place, likely used for fertility rights, before the arrival of Christianity. And in Georgia, Christianity arrived a long time ago.

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Do You Dare Take a Ride on Chiatura’s Ancient Cable Cars?

Chiatura’s ancient cable cars are one of the most interesting sites in the Caucusus. 

 

chiatura's ancient cable cars

Photo by Sarah Murray

 

If you like cable cars, you’ll love the Caucasus. Treat yourself to a trip on modern tramways which take you up to Narikala Fortress in Tbilisi, rise up from Batumi’s harbour, and cross the magnificent valleys leading you to Tatev monastery in Armenia. However, if you want an authentic experience, hop onto Chiatura’s ancient cable cars, which have been running twenty-four hours a day for more than half a century.

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