The monastery stands atop Sioni Hill. It was built for a brave King Archil of Kakheti who died in the name of Christ.
The complex consists of two hall-style churches, a five-story tower, a wine cellar, living quarters, and the remains of a gate, all of which come from different time periods.
It is believed that later, during the high Middle Ages, a second church, a wine cellar, living quarters, and a wall were built here.
The oldest building in the monastery complex is a church built in the 8th century by King Archil. After his tragic death, he was buried nearby, in the monastery yard.
It is also believed that the most prominent Georgian royals, such as King David Agmashenebeli (the Builder) and Queen Tamar were visiting and staying in the monastery.
Named for the martyr King Archil, the church commemorates his brave sacrifice when he refused to renounce Christ to his enemies and was tortured to death. The story of his torment was written as a book The Martyrdom of Archil, in the Middle Ages.