"time has stopped & history has been frozen" Udabno by josephescu

Udabno Travel Guide: 13 reviews and 113 photos

Just 60 km south east of T’bilisi, on the half-desert slopes of mount Gareja on the border with Azerbaijan, there are around 20 rock-cut monasteries founded between the 6th – 9th centuries. These complexes are known as David Gareji monasteries, and the region is called Udabno. (aka desert or uninhabitable in Georgian).

While the area was in fact inhabited during the second and first millennia BC, as archaeological finds relating to mining and metallurgical activities attest, occupation then ceased until a monastic community was established here in the 6th century, under the leadership of the monk known as David Garejeli, one of the so-called “13 Syrian Fathers”.

These 13 Syrian Fathers, probably Georgians who received ecclesiastic education in Syria, launched monastic activities in different parts of Georgia to strengthen the Christian faith, legend says responding the call of Virgin Mary.

some events

6th -century – first monastery (the Lavra) founded by David Garejeli

6th-9th century – other monasteries appeared, the Lavra developed

11th century – invaded by Seljuk Turks

11th – 13th century - economic and cultural development of David Gareji reached its peak. New monasteries Udabno, Bertubani and Chichkhituri were built, the old ones were enlarged and well organized. Renaissance of fresco painting.

13th century – Mongol invasion, monasteries revived only a century later

1615 – Persian army under the command of Iranian Shah Abbas killed all 600 monks and set fire to all manuscripts and religious works of art

1690 – monastic life revived

1811 – 1917 – monasteries remained uninhabited, following the abolition of the autocephaly of the Georgian orthodox church, as a result of Russian annexation of the Eastern Georgian kingdom of Kartl –Kakheti

1918 – 1921 – short independence of Georgia brought monks to David Gareji monasteries

1922 – 1980 – monasteries uninhabited

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:serenity & solitude
  • Cons:awful road to Davit Gareji
  • In a nutshell:definitely not just another cave complex
  • Last visit to Udabno: Aug 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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