David Garedja Cave Monastery and Telavi
Tuesday morning we piled into our bus and headed for the cave
monastery of David Garedja on Georgia's southern border with
Azerbaijan.. It was a long ride, first on a good road but
then on unpaid roads through dry grassland.
We arrived at a small parking lot then hiked steeply up a
ridge. On the other side we found caves that had been enlarged
and carved into a monastery. The complex was built in the sixth
century by Saint David. Hundreds of cells, churches,
refectories and living quarters were hewn into the rock face at the
steep slopes of Mount Garedja. The Soviets closed the
monastery but it reopened following Georgia's indpendence.
At the bottom of the hill, near the parking lot, is a functioning
monastery. It is also dug into the mountain caves but they
have supplemented the caves with other walls. The monks live in the
small caves behind the monastery.
After a picnic lunch under a tree near the monastery we piled back
into the bus and headed for Telavi. More than once we had to stop
because sheep or cows blocked the road.
Shortly before Telavi we stopped at a small winery. In good
Georgian tradition the wine ages in clay lined holes in the ground.
We sampled his production and I bought two bottles of red wine and a
small bottle of cognac. My apologies to the wine maker for not
getting a better picture!
The next morning we explored the market of Telavi. I was too
busy hunting for a pillow to make me more comfortable on the bumpy
roads and some sunblock. Fewer shop keepers here spoke English
than in Tbilisi but I persevered and succeeded with both
purchases. As a result I did not take any pictures.
After seeing the market we began our drive to the Jvari
Monastery. Click Here.
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