Mghvimevi Monastery

Mghvimevi Monastery

Atop a high cliff in the Kvirila River Valley in the upper part of Imereti Region stands a monastery that resembles a fairytale castle. With its building carved into the cliff, paths jutting out over the world below, and impressive ornamentation, Mghvimevi Monastery is sure to enchant. You can see this 13th-century wonder in the Chiatura Municipality of Imereti Region.

The Structure of Mghvimevi Monastery

The monastery is composed of a number of buildings, with the main Church of the Savior being a double-nave basilica. The domes, set upon massive pillars, are made of limestone and hewn stone. The church is adorned with ornamentation and the interior is completely painted.

Reaching the church is an adventure of its own, as you’ll need to take the path leading up the cliff, through the monastery yard, and to the main cave. This main cave is 35 meters deep and its entrance is 20-22 meters wide, although it narrows the farther in you go. The Church of the Savior stands at the entrance to the cave. The church has two entrance doors, with the especially impressive western door now preserved in the Shalva Amiranashvili Art Museum in Tbilisi.

At the other end of the cave is the smaller St. Catherine Church, which is completely carved into the cliff. Only its facade has been built onto the cliffs. On the eastern wall of the church is a bas-relief of a ram, while the southern wall has frescoes painted on it.

At either end of the main cave are many other smaller caves which the inhabitants of the monastery used to use as shelters.

So, even if you think you’ve seen it all when it comes to churches, Mghvimevi Monastery is well worth a visit. It’s very charming, a bit mysterious and offers great views of the surroundings too.

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