After the 15th century, the tradition of carving monasteries into cliffs stopped in Georgia, and would not resume until the end of the 1990s in Dzama Valley.
Dzama Valley is located around 170 kilometers away from Tbilisi, boasting beautiful natural landscapes, historic fortresses and towers, as well as around 60 churches and monasteries. For more than a century, it was not an active place of worship, but the restoration of old churches and the construction of new ones has spurred a revival in recent decades. Notably, in 2008, it was decided that Shio Mghvimeli Monastery be carved into a cliff in the Elbakiantkari village in Kareli municipality in Shida Kartli Region. Its construction was completed in 2011.
Pass through a five-meter-long corridor, after which you will see the church, which is adorned with charming paintings by the professional icon painter, Vasil Zandukeli.
It should be noted that every church in Georgia has a path around it for hymn-singing processions. At Sarkineti, to maintain that tradition, the halls in the monastery were cut into the same cliff face, to accommodate the congregation.
Today, around ten monks live in Sarkineti Monastery.