Earlier this year, I shared some of my best shots of Kutaisi with you (click here) which was literally the largest city that I visited in the lovely Caucasian country, Georgia. On the day when I was returning from Gori to Kutaisi, I had plenty of time remaining, therefore I decided to take a taxi to Gelati. Gelati is a small village about 10 km away from Kutaisi and it is world-famous for its monastic complex that was founded in the 12th century.
"Gelati Monastery, eulogized as the " New Athens" and " the Second Jerusalem", was one of the greatest spiritual and cultural centres of Georgia in the Middle Age. The monastery was founded by King Davit Agmashenebeli (1089-1125) in 1106.
At the monastery there functioned an academy, where there lived and worked outstanding Georgian scientists, philosophers and theologians.
Since 14th century Gelati has been an Episcopal Cathedral. The central building of the Monastery is a central cupola church of the Virgin. Its interior is covered with paintings of different times. Alter apse is decorated with a brilliant mosaic composition of a standing Virgin holding the Child with archangels on her sides dated to 1125-1130. In the western narthex, there are mural paintings of the 12th century depicting seven ecumenical councils. Most of the murals in the Cathedral were executed in the second half of 16th century.
Other architectural monuments of Gelati Monastery are of 12th and 14th centuries. These are the Academy, Church of St. George, an interior of which was painted in XVI century, a two-storied building of the Church of St. Nicholas and a bell tower, one of the oldest in Georgia.
Gelati Monastery was also a burial vault of Georgian Kings. At the Southern gates of the wall of the monastery was a grave of King David.
Since 1994 Gelati Monastery has been inscribed upon the World Heritage List of the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. Inscription on this list confirms the outstanding universal value of a cultural or natural property which deserves protection for the benefit of all humanity."
Enjoy the journey!
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