Shemokmedi Monastery Complex

Shemokmedi Monastery Complex

Shemokmedi Monastery Complex is one of few religious monuments in Guria Region that was not destroyed under the Soviet government. Therefore, its original architectural appearance has been preserved.

Location and Structure of Shemokmedi Monastery Complex

Shemokmedi Monastery Complex is located in beautiful village of Shemokmedi, on the banks of the Bzhuzhi River, in wonderfully green surroundings.

A beautiful view of Guria’s mountainous resorts can be enjoyed from the courtyard of the monastery, with Gomismta, Vakijvari, and Bakhmaro all visible.

The complex includes the Temple of the Holy Spi (a 12th-century basilica), and "Zarzma" (a 16th-century domed temple, specially built by Vakhtang I Gurieli for the Holy Transfiguration icon which moved here from Zarzma Monastery; this icon, which dates back to 886, is the oldest surviving; and a bell tower, built in in the 16th century, and restored in 1831.

The complex is surrounded by a high stone wall, proving that this place was of extreme importance to the village, region, and country through the ages as it served as a defense barrier. 

Many precious icons and church supplies have been kept inside the monastery, most of which were locally created although some were brought from other parts of Georgia. Shemokmedi Monastery Complex, with its treasure and land, has always been one of Georgia’s richest places. Accordingly, the complex has been examined repeatedly by scholars and researchers, while also attracting tourists. The monastery was described by Marie-Frédéric Dubois de Montpéreux, the 19th-century Swiss traveler and geologist, while it was also covered in interesting works by the British traveler and translator Marjory Wardrop, as well as being thoroughly investigated by great Georgian scientist, archeologist, and ethnologist Dimitri Bakradze and the historian Ekvtime Takaishvili.

Shemokmedi Monastery Complex Today

The monastery complex is part of the Diocese of Shemokmedi, which has a large congregation.

According to ancient tradition, every year, on September 21, the day of the Birth of St. Virgin Mary, on the path to the monastery, a line of barefooted pilgrims follow the path up to the temple.

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