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an urban-type settlement, center of Vani Raion, Georgian SSR. Located in the Colchis (Kolkhida) depression, 19 km southeast of the Samtredia railway junction. Population, 6,000 (1969). It has a cannery and a silkworm-breeding farm as well as wine, lemonade, and bread-making plants and a garment factory; there is a museum of local lore. The Sulori balneological health resort is located 9 km from Vani.
During ancient times, one of the most important cities of ancient Colchis, which flourished between the third and first centuries B.C., was located in the Vani area. Systematic excavations have been carried out since 1947. Opulent burial sites of women dating from the fifth century B.C. have been found with a large number of different ornaments, including gold ones. Also discovered were the burial site of a Colchis warrior from the fourth century B.C. and a cult grave with a human figurine made of iron, along with gold ornaments and the remains of linen clothing. The city was fortified with walls of raw brick on a stone foundation. Numerous religious and public buildings (several with mosaic tile floors); monumental architectural and sculptural details; coins (such as silver Colchian coins of the Pontus mint); an iron censer; fragments of a bronze vessel of Greek workmanship with sculptural ornamentations; numerous local and imported ceramic pieces; and iron weapons, including a battering ram and shafts, have been discovered. The finds indicate that the city had extensive contacts with the Greco-Hellenistic world. Some investigators identify the site of ancient Vani with the city of Surium mentioned by Pliny, while others believe it to be Aea, the mythical capital of Colchis. The abundance of temples and houses of worship indicate that it was a temple city, a general Colchian sanctuary. The city was destroyed in the middle of the first century B.C.
REFERENCESKhoshtaria, N. V. ’Arkheologicheskie raskopki v Vani.” In Kavkazsko-blizhnevostochnyi sbornik, vol. 2. Tbilisi, 1962.
Hoshttaria, N., R. Phuthuridze, and O. Th. Lorthkhiphanidze.“Arkheologiuri aghmotchenebi vanshi.” Sabdshotha helovneba, Tbilisi, 1968, no. 1.
Lorthkhiphanidze, O. Th., and R. Phuthuridze. “Arkheologiuri gathhrebi vanshi.” Metsniereba da ttekhnikka, 1969, no. 12.
Lorthkhiphanidze, O. Th. “Vanis khalakhi.” Tsiskkari, 1968, no. 7.
O. D. LORDKIPANIDZE