Excursion to David Gareji complex

A complex of Georgian cave monasteries of the VI century. The complex consists of about 20 monasteries carved in the rocks and covers the territory of three regions of Georgia – Gardabani, Sagareja and Signagh. The main monastery is St. David’s Lavra, which is located on the northern slope of the mountain separating Georgia and Azerbaijan. The border runs along the top of the mountain, which Georgian historians call Udabno, after the name of one of the monasteries. This monastery is on Azerbaijani territory – on the southern slope of the mountain. In addition to them on the southern slope of the mountain there are more than 100 caves, which were used by the monks as cells. Most distant from the border is the monastery of Bertubani (dating back to the twelfth century), which is about two kilometers from it. In many churches and refectories of the complex there are frescoes (VI-IX centuries), including a portrait of Queen Tamara.

The David Gareji Monastery Complex occupies a large territory and it would take many days to walk around all the caves. Therefore, four main groups are distinguished: David’s Lavra, Tetri-Udabno Monastery, Natlismtsebeli Monastery and Dodo-Rka Cave. Tourists usually pass the so-called “small circle”, which includes David’s Lavra and Tetri-Udabno monastery; this route can be completed in 2-3 hours.

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