Gelati Monastery

Kutaisi, Georgia

Gelati is a medieval monastic complex near Kutaisi. A masterpiece of the Georgian Golden Age, Gelati is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The Gelati Monastery was built in 1106 by King David IV of Georgia. It was constructed during the Byzantine empire, during which christianity was the ruling religion throughout the empire. The main church was completed in 1130 in the reign of his son and successor Demetré. Further churches were added to the monastery throughout the 13th and early 14th centuries. The monastery is richly decorated with mural paintings from the 12th to 17th centuries, as well as a 12th century mosaic in the apse of the main church, depicting the Virgin with Child flanked by archangels. Its high architectural quality, outstanding decoration, size, and clear spatial quality combine to offer a vivid expression of the artistic idiom of the architecture of the Georgian “Golden Age” and its almost completely intact surroundings allow an understanding of the intended fusion between architecture and landscape.

Gelati was not simply a monastery: it was also a centre of science and education, and the Academy established there was one of the most important centres of culture in ancient Georgia. King David gathered eminent intellectuals to his Academy such as Johannes Petritzi, a Neo-Platonic philosopher best known for his translations of Proclus, and Arsen Ikaltoeli, a learned monk, whose translations of doctrinal and polemical works were compiled into his Dogmatikon, or book of teachings, influenced by Aristotelianism. Gelati also had a scriptorium were monastic scribes copied manuscripts (although its location is not known). Among several books created there, the best known is an amply illuminated 12th century gospel, housed in the National Centre of Manuscripts.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Address

Gelati, Kutaisi, Georgia
See all sites in Kutaisi

Details

Founded: 1106
Category: Religious sites in Georgia

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Tamás Szalai (17 months ago)
It was under renovation when I was there, but it is still breathtaking! The paintings stayed conserved on the walls!
Dina Klimentieva (17 months ago)
Unusual blue frescoes. Definitely worth a visit if you are nearby.
GREAZE (18 months ago)
Beautiful place. Some of the artwork inside is amazing. Please note, there are external works taking place as of April 2019 - the building has a lot of scaffolding around it.
Giorgi Kiknavelidze (19 months ago)
The Gelati Monastery was built in 1106 by King David IV of Georgia. It was constructed during the Byzantine Empire, during which Christianity was the ruling religion throughout the empire. The Monastery is known as Church of Virgin the Blessed, meaning that the church is dedicated to the virgin mary and her spiritual powers. Mary has a motherly component to her that shows the important factors to the Virgin Mary, mother to Jesus Christ. Overall, the church was not just used for religious purposes, it was also used to teach science. It became the academy of math and sciences in all of Georgia.
Petra Benkoe (19 months ago)
Under renovation. Amazing frescoes. Guide to understand the frescoes advisable. On a beautiful day a lovely scenery into the valley
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Derbent Fortress

Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.

Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.

A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.

The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.

The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.

In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.

In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.