Davit Gareja

Davit Gareja

The severe beauty of the semi-desert, caves carved out of the bare rock – Davit Gareja Monastery Complex, recognized by National Geographic as one of the 17 most beautiful and wild places of the world, never seizes to amaze its visitors. This unique monument of Georgian Christianity is located in Sagarejo Municipality, about 70 km east of Tbilisi.

History and Structure of Davit Gareja

On the barren slopes of the Gareja Mountain, along a stretch of 25 kilometers, the rock-hewn caves with up to 5000 monastic cells are still visible. The monastery even had a proper water supply system and reservoirs, which was necessary considering the climatic conditions.

The Davit Gareja Monastery was founded by the Assyrian father David Garejeli in the first half of the 6th century. This place is often referred to as the "second Jerusalem". According to legend, St. David Garejeli brought a stone with miraculous powers from the “Grace Ridge” in Jerusalem, before securing its place at the Gareja Monastery. 

After that, over the course of the centuries, the number of monasteries increased on a constant basis, leading to the establishment of an entire monastery complex.

Since the Middle Ages, the David Gareja Monastery Complex has been one of the most important centers of Georgian Christian culture for centuries. 

The David Gareja caves have preserved frescoes of the utmost significance, portraying historical figures such as King David Aghmashenebeli (the Builder) at the desert monastery of John the Baptist (Natlismtsemeli in Georgian), as well as Queen  Tamar and her son Lasha-Giorgi at Berthubani Monastery. 

Notwithstanding the constant invasions from multiple enemies, seeing the David Gareja Monastery Complex still stands up as an awe-inspiring experience.

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