The cave city of Vardzia is a cave monastery dug into the side of the Erusheli Mountain in southern Georgia on the left bank of the Mtkvari River. It was founded by Queen Tamar in 1185. The monastery was constructed as protection from the Mongols and consisted of over six thousand apartments in a thirteen story complex. The city included a church, a throne room, and a complex irrigation system watering terraced farmlands. The only access to the complex was through some well hidden tunnels near the Mtkvari River. In 1283 an earthquake destroyed approximately two thirds of the city, exposing the caves to outside view and collapsing the irrigation system. Persians commanded by Shah Tahmasp I raided the monastery in 1551, capturing all important icons and effectively ending the life of the monastery. Nowadays Vardzia is a major tourist attraction in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region and one of the most impressive objects in all the Georgia. About 300 apartments and halls remain possible for visit, including King Tamar’s room, big hall and some wine-vaults. Masterly painted frescoes witness the glory of ancient time. In some tunnels the old irrigation pipes still bring drinkable water. At present the place is maintained by a small group of monks.