David Gareja monastery complex
Share
mail
License license
loading...
Loading ...

Panoramic photo by foto360 EXPERT Taken 13:15, 12/04/2011 - Views loading...

Advertisement

David Gareja monastery complex

The World > Asia > Georgia

  • Like / unlike
  • thumbs up
  • thumbs down

David Gareja is a rock-hewn Georgian Orthodox monastery complex located in the Kakheti region of Eastern Georgia, on the half-desert slopes of Mount Gareja, some 60–70 km southeast of Georgia's capital Tbilisi. The complex includes hundreds of cells, churches, chapels, refectories and living quarters hollowed out of the rock face.

Part of the complex is also located in the Agstafa rayon of Azerbaijan and thus has become subject to a border dispute between Georgian and Azerbaijani authorities. The area is also home to protected animal species and evidence of some of the oldest human habitations in the region.

The complex was founded in the 6th century by David (St. David Garejeli), one of the thirteen Assyrian monks who arrived in the country at the same time. His disciples Dodo and Luciane expanded the original lavra and founded two other monasteries known as Dodo's Rka (literally, "the horn of Dodo") and Natlismtsemeli ("the Baptist"). The monastery saw further development under the guidance of the 9th-century Georgian saint Ilarion. The convent was particularly patronized by the Georgian royal and noble families. The 12th-century Georgian king Demetre I, the author of the famous Georgian religious hymn Thou Art a Vineyard, even chose David Gareja as a place of his confinement after he abdicated the throne.

Despite the harsh environment, the monastery remained an important centre of religious and cultural activity for many centuries; at certain periods the monasteries owned extensive agricultural lands and many villages. The renaissance of fresco painting chronologically coincides with the general development of the life in the David Gareja monasteries. The high artistic skill of David Gareja frescoes made them an indispensable part of world treasure. From the late 11th to the early 13th century, the economic and cultural development of David Gareja reached its highest phase, reflecting the general prosperity of the medieval Kingdom of Georgia. New monasteries Udabno, Bertubani and Chichkhituri were built, the old ones were enlarged and re-organized.

With the downfall of the Georgian monarchy, the monastery suffered a lengthy period of decline and devastation by the Mongol army (1265), but was later restored by the Georgian kings. It survived the Persian attack of 1615, when the monks were massacred and the monastery's unique manuscripts and important works of Georgian art destroyed, to be resurrected under Onopre Machutadze, who was appointed Father Superior of David Gareja in 1690.

After the violent Bolshevik takeover of Georgia in 1921, the monastery was closed down and remained uninhabited. In the years of the Soviet War in Afghanistan, the monastery's territory was used as a training ground for the Soviet military that inflicted damage to the unique cycle of murals in the monastery. In 1987, a group of Georgian students led by the young writer Dato Turashvili launched a series of protests. Although, the Soviet defense ministry officials finally agreed to move a military firing range from the monastery, the shelling was resumed in October 1988, giving rise to generalized public outrage. After some 10,000 Georgians demonstrated in the streets of Tbilisi and a group of students launched a hunger strike at the monastery, the army base was finally removed.

After the restoration of Georgia's independence in 1991, the monastery life in David Gareja was revived. However, in 1996, the Georgian defense ministry resumed military exercises in the area, leading to renewed public protests. In May 1997, hundreds of Georgian NGO activists set up their tents in the middle of the army's firing range and blocked the military maneuvers. The army officials finally bowed to the public pressure and the exercises were banned.

The monastery remains active today and serves as a popular destination of tourism and pilgrimage.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Gareja_monastery_complex

comments powered by Disqus

Nearby images in Georgia

map

A: David Gareja

od Oleg Marchenko, 10 meters away

David Gareja

B: TestPanorama

od Tornike Zedginidze, 39.1 km daleko

TestPanorama

C: Ponichala bathing plant, HeidelbergCement Georgia

od Ilia Zakaraia, 44.3 km daleko

80 m3/hr capacity ready-mixed concrete plant on Marneuli Street, Ponichala, TbilisiHeidelbergCement, ...

Ponichala bathing plant, HeidelbergCement Georgia

D: Sighnaghi View Frome Mountain 1

od Ilia Zakaraia, 48.3 km daleko

Town Sighnaghi in Georgia. region of Kakheti . photo by Ilia Zakaraia. panotour.ge discover Georgia w...

Sighnaghi View Frome Mountain 1

E: Sighnaghi View Frome Mountain 2

od Ilia Zakaraia, 48.4 km daleko

Town Sighnaghi in Georgia. region of Kakheti . photo by Ilia Zakaraia. panotour.ge discover Georgia w...

Sighnaghi View Frome Mountain 2

F: Sighnaghi View Frome Mountain 3

od Ilia Zakaraia, 48.4 km daleko

Town Sighnaghi in Georgia. region of Kakheti . photo by Ilia Zakaraia. panotour.ge discover Georgia w...

Sighnaghi View Frome Mountain 3

G: Sighnaghi View Frome Mountain 4

od Ilia Zakaraia, 48.6 km daleko

Town Sighnaghi in Georgia. region of Kakheti . photo by Ilia Zakaraia. panotour.ge discover Georgia w...

Sighnaghi View Frome Mountain 4

H: Sighnaghi View Frome Mountain 5

od Ilia Zakaraia, 48.7 km daleko

Town Sighnaghi in Georgia. region of Kakheti . photo by Ilia Zakaraia. panotour.ge discover Georgia w...

Sighnaghi View Frome Mountain 5

I: Town Sighnaghi in Georgia 2

od Ilia Zakaraia, 48.8 km daleko

Town Sighnaghi in Georgia. region of Kakheti . photo by Ilia Zakaraia. panotour.ge discover Georgia w...

Town Sighnaghi in Georgia 2

J: Town Sighnaghi in Georgia

od Ilia Zakaraia, 48.8 km daleko

Town Sighnaghi in Georgia. region of Kakheti . photo by Ilia Zakaraia. panotour.ge discover Georgia w...

Town Sighnaghi in Georgia

This panorama was taken in Georgia, Asia

This is an overview of Asia

Asia is the biggest continent on Earth, a darling little gem floating around in space.

Hm, what is Asia? Who's in on it?

China and India are safe bets for Asian nations. Korea, Japan, Thailand, you're fine.

Europe? No. Europe would sort of be on the "Asian continent" if not for those pesky Ural mountains dividing things up in the middle, and then also the whole lineage of kings and wealth and nations and the EU and all that "give me my respect" stuff.
Russia would probably be happiest as its own continent, so for now we'll leave it in "Eurasia" and just hope the natural gas supplies keep flowing.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are dang close to Asia, but politically they show up in "Middle East" news stories an awful lot. Verdict: Eurasia.

I guess we'll actually have to consider everything from Turkey on eastward to be "Eurasian", although the moniker seems overlappitory of the territory.

The Asian economy is now officially raging like a wild furnace of lava that consumes everything in its path. Japan has had the largest individual economy in Asia for decades, but it is forecast that both India and China will outstrip Japan within twenty years.

China is the largest holder of United States debt and is positioned to become the world's next superpower, provided that Godzilla doesn't return and decide to stomp everybody back into the Shang Dynasty.

Text by Steve Smith.

Share this panorama