Vardzia Unintended consequences .
24 Apr 2014
Underground fortress caused it’s own destruction . Much like Earth today .
1185 saw a woman, Tamar, on the throne of Georgia. This was a first for the country and extremely unusual in the Europe of the twelfth century. Her reign nevertheless, saw a flowering of culture and she wished to build a fortress because of the Mongol threat .
The Mongol empire had been inexorably expanding and little Georgia was under threat constantly. What better an idea, then, for their fabled Queen to have her monastery carved from solid rock. It looks like it is the ruins of some giant Tolkien city, Minas Tirith in ruins. Yet this was not to be the home of dwarves but of monks .
The underground fortress was duly built at great cost (think Maginot Line) and withstood the Mongols (who couldn’t be bothered by such a low value target)
Then in 1283 a major quake caused the whole front face of the mountain which hid the underground complex slide off .
It was caused by the industrious undermining of the stability of the slope .
Law of Unintended Consequences .
The Hidden Assumption that gets you .
See the “After” picture :
The guts of the fortress was exposed , as well as having killed probably 2/3 of the defenders .
The contour lines above the slide were agricultural terraces .
A cautionary example of ignorance and hidden assumptions .