During the middle ages, monasteries were places to stay since there were very few accommodations during that time. They were also used to help feed the poor, take care of the sick, and provided education to boys in the local community. A monastery is a building or complex of buildings comprising the domestic quarters and workplaces of monastics, monks, or nuns, whether living in communities or alone.
St. Nino is one of the most iconic Saints for Georgian people. In the 4th century, Nino held a scroll and grapevine cross in her hand when she arrived in Georgia. You will come across that cross all over the country of Georgia as you visit different sites. Nino preached Christianity in Georgia, and in the year 327, Christianity was declared the state religion.
St. Nino was born in Cappadocia to a Greek-speaking Roman family at the end of the 3rd century. Her father, Zabulon, was a Roman military commander. Nino’s parents dedicated themselves to Christianity. When Nino was 12 years old, she was told they were moving to Jerusalem. Before leaving, they sold all their possessions, gave the money to the poor, and moved. In Jerusalem, the girl learned that Georgia (Iberia) was not Christian. One night Nino saw a dream in which the Virgin gave her a cross woven from the vine and called her to go to Georgia for preaching Christianity. She died in Georgia due to sickness. St. Nino was buried in Bodbe Monastery in East Georgia. Today she is the most loved St in Georgia. The Georgian Orthodox Church celebrates St. Nino’s Day twice a year – June 1 is the day she arrived in Georgia while January 27 is the day she died. St. Nino is in the Kakheti region, 2 kilometers away from the small town of Sighnaghi.
Jvari Monastery sits on a hilltop opposite the town Mtskheta with a view of the Aragvi and Mtkvari rivers. Mtskheta was the capital of the early Georgian Kingdom of Iberia, from the 3rd century BC until the 5th century AD. At the beginning of the 6th century, King Dachi I Ujarmeli moved the capital from Mtskheta to Tbilisi, in accordance with his father’s will.
This Georgian Orthodox monastery started with a small church built in the 4th century with medieval religious architecture. It became an important stopping point on the ancient trade routes and was a significant site of early Christian activity. The grave of Mirian, the Georgian king who adopted Christianity, lies within the church. The complex today contains several buildings from different periods. As of 1994, the church is included on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. When you visit this site there are stunning views from here.
David Gareja is a monastery cave complex and most notable religious and cultural center a rock-hewn Georgian Orthodox monastery. The complex was founded in the first half of the VI century by one of the Assyrian fathers called David. He came and settled in a small, natural cave in the Gareji Desert with his disciple Lukyan. This monastery has been destroyed many times. In 1265, The Mongolian army by the command of Berke-khan raided and destroyed the Davit Gareja and its surroundings. In 1616-1617 the Persian army attacked; the monasteries were abolished. David Gareji consisted of settlements and villages, where the peasants were considered monastic servants. The Davit Gareji monasteries existed until the end of the XIX century. Today monks still live there, and the caves are not allowed to be visited by tourists.
It was absolutely one of our favorite stops in Georgia. Actually, Georgia has so many beautiful places it is hard to say favorite but one of the most fascinating places to visit. It is in the Kakheti region of Eastern Georgia, Sagarejo municipality, 60-70 km southeast of Tbilisi, on Gareji hill. We were lucky to have a driver to took us there through undeveloped roads to get the true experience of how rugged the area was in Georgia.
There are so many monasteries in the Republic of Georgia when you visit this beautiful land, you must put these three on you must see when you are here.