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David Gareja Monastery

David Garedji MonasteryThe David Gareja monastery complex consists of several monasteries in caves built in the VI century and scattered on a plot of a couple of tens of kilometers along the Georgian border. Part of the monasteries came to the territory of Azerbaijan and is called there Keşiş Dağ. The monastery was founded by the monk David, one of the “Assyrian fathers” who preached Christianity in Georgia. This happened 2 centuries after Saint Nino brought Christianity to Georgia.

By the way, the believersDavid Garedji Monastery believe that 3 visits to the Gareja desert can be equated to a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The most famous and visited caves are: St. David Lavra, the caves of David Gareja St. Dodo cave, Bertubani, resurrection, Chichhituri, John Krestitelskom, Tetri-sencebe, Kolagiri, Mogatusi, Veran-garedzha and PIR-Ukugmarti.

The reason that this arid place was built a huge complex, was that there is a source of water next to the Church of the Transfiguration of the Lord in the monastery of St. David. This monastery is considered to be the main monastery of the complex and here is the tomb of David of Gareja. This Holy place is visited by many pilgrims. Scientists suggest that here is buried and a follower of David Gareja – Saint Dodo. In the Lavra there are 2 chapels, located on a hill, from the territory of which there are picturesque views of the surrounding area and neighboring Azerbaijan. After the death of David Gareja in the VI century were built monastic complexes Dodos-Rka and Natlismtsemeli. In the IX century in David Gareja monastery Saint Hilarion Kartveli built new churches and also completed the main Church of the Lavra.

After the attack of the Seljuk Turks in the XI century, the construction of buildings on the territory of the complex David Garedzhistopped. The peak of David Gareja complex reached in the XII century, when there were monasteries Udabno, Bertubani and Chichhituri, and the monastery of St. David expanded and improved. David Gareja had his own school of painting. The drawings on the walls of temples can be seen and prominent historical figures: king David IV the Builder, Queen Tamar, king George IV Lasha, Dimitri Amountwater and many saints.

In the XII century at the head of a complex of Onufrii Garejeli, the monastery became one of the largest cultural and educational centers of Georgia. However, in the XIII century in this area there were Mongols who looted and damaged the David Gareja Monastery. Then some of the monks fled to other monasteries. In XIV–XV centuries Tamerlane appeared on the territory of Georgia, and in 1615 in one night Shah Abbas ruined the monastery and killed a few monks who supported the activities of the monastery and restored it.

The revival of this Shrine began only in the XVII century under king Teimuraz II. Onufriy Machutadze, Abbot of the monastery since 1690, has done much for its revival. The monastery was returned to its former possessions and built a wall that protected the Shrine from enemy attacks. However, in the XIX century, when in many Georgian cities there were religious schools, interest in the monastery slept, it gradually emptied, and only in Natlismtsemeli lived a few monks.

Since the territory of the monastery complex is divided in half by the border, it is the subject of a territorial dispute between the two countries since 1991. Georgia wants to return its shrines, which are of great cultural and historical importance for the country, and for Azerbaijan this territory is important because of the strategic location of the heights. Currently, the David Gareja Monastery attracts tourists like a magnet. Some even stay here overnight, as one day is not enough to see all the local attractions. Amazing and picturesque views from the monastery, as well as its energy, which allows you to forget about the hustle and bustle of life. Since there are no organized food outlets in David Gareja, food and water should be taken with you.

David Gareja Monastery

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