translated by Tinatin Bujiashvili
Uflistsikhe is situated 8 km east of town Gori. The ancient town lies on the left bank of the river Mtkvari near the village Kvakhvreli. Uflistsikhe is one of the ancient rock-hewn town and interesting place for turists in Georgia. When I was in Uflistsikhe, I met schoolchildren listening to the guide with great attention.
Uflistsikhe lies on the south slope of Kvernaki ridge, covering an area of 9.5 hectares. The Uplistsikhe complex can be divided into three parts and contains the components of old east countries and the components of ancient Inner city: a fence, a trench, some entrances, a tunnel, water-piping, water-lines. Complex contains: a long building, a church, houses with large yards, one-pillared halls, a building in the beginning of the main street, Inaccessible building, plain room, complex of two-pillared and four-pillared halls (main church), Prince’s church, a platform at the street, a house at the edge of the rock, a complex of a red room and etc. (the names of the rooms and halls are conditional). The ancient town contains various structures of rock-hewn halls, storerooms and separated buildings dating from different times.
I listened to the guide with great attention with the children too:
In the I-II millennium BC one of the strongest communities used the area of Uflistsikhe as a dwelling. In the early Iron age (X-VI centuries BC) Uflistsikhe is a fortress of the leader (Lord) of the community who ruled Shida Kartli. That’s why it is called Uflistsikhe. Uflistsikhe means-Uflis-Lord’s Fortress-Town.
Uflistsikhe community conquered the settlements of nearby area. In VI-V centuries B.C. Uplistsikhe was one of the most important political and religious centers of pre-Christian Kartli – one of the predecessors of the Georgian state.
In II-I BC Uplistsikhe is a typical Hellenistic town with its citadel, town, handicraft, farming and social life.
In I-III AD Uflistsikhe is still important urban and military-strategic centre, as well as pagan worship of place.
With the Christianization of Kartli early in the 4th century, Uplistsikhe seems to have declined in its importance and lost its position, however it still remains the strongest fortress of feudalism. It was a leader town since VIII century and reemerged as a principal Georgian stronghold during the conquest of Arabs in the 8th century. In IX-X centuries Georgian Bagrations, princes of Kakheti and Armenian kings had struggles to conquer the fortress. Uplistsikhe faced an immediate and rapid decline, culminated by the destruction of large parts of the city during the Mongol conquest in the 12th century, and the subsequent abandonment of the rest of the town in the XV century. It was still used as a temporary shelter in times of foreign intrusions.
The town had several entrances. Didikldekari was the main entrance in the north which is open tunnel carved in rock. (Length is150m, with is 10m), dating IV-II centuries BC. The main caravan road which connected the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea ran here. Mtsirekldekari is situated in the south-west of the town. It is carved in the rock. (Length is 60m, with is 1.5m). It is the main entrance of the town. The town had a secret tunnel-the tunnel situated in the south. (Diameter 3m) running down to the Mtkvari River – an emergency escape route that could also have been used for carrying water up to the town while being siege.
The town, on the rocky ridge, was defended by high cliffs from the south and west, and from the north and east part the town was defended by a trench carved in the rock. It was a natural trench which was widened artificially. Its edges are steep. Inside the trench there is a high and wide fence (Length is 3-4m) where there is a tower with tile roof built in it. Both the fence and the tower are damaged.