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.


salt lake

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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