David Gareja Monastery Complex Tour
David Gareja Monastery, Lavra Cave Monastery, Udabno Monastery
The David Gareja Monastery Complex Tour is active historical exploration at its finest. Leave the bustling streets of Tbilisi for Georgia’s arid border region to hike narrow trails alongside monks at Lavra Cave Monastery, clamber through rock-hewn classrooms and dormitories in David Gareja Monastery and discover medieval cave paintings in Udabno Monastery, which together form one of Georgia’s most beloved and sacred religious sites.
Stretching along the border between Georgia and Azerbaijan is one of the strangest and most unique monasteries on earth, the David Gareja Monastery Complex. Founded in a cave by Assyrian Father David in the 6th century, his followers and successors continued to build additions to the hermitage, and the result is an entire development of cathedrals, living quarters, cave cells and frescoes that continue to delight and amaze.
Your private guide and driver will meet you at your Tbilisi hotel. Drive to David Gareja Monastery Complex in Kakheti region via the small town of Rustavi and the Argali River (75km, 2hrs).
Arrive to David Gareja Monastery (dates vary) and start to explore this fascinating religious center. The first cave monastery was founded in the 6th century, and additions were made up until the 17th century. The expansive complex includes monasteries, churches, a chapel, living quarters and classrooms hewn into the rocky mountainside.
Of particular note at the complex is Lavra Cave Monastery, an active monastery with hundreds of cave cells and robed monks who still inhabit its quarters.
Enjoy some light hiking (45 minutes one way) to Udabno Monastery, a large cluster of cave cells famous for their 12th-century wall paintings depicting religious figures and Georgian royalty. Enjoy the colorful, semi-desert landscape that provides the perfect backdrop for memorable photos. Imagine the settlement’s long history as you have a short rest and listen to your guide provide informative background information.
Hike back to the entrance and drive to Tbilisi (75km, 2hrs). End of David Gareja Monastery Complex Tour.
Tour duration: approximately 7 hours
- We advise you to bring appropriate footwear, a raincoat, sunscreen and a hat.
- Please prepare a boxed lunch for this tour. You may also ask the driver to stop on the way to buy some snacks.
- Private, local guide;
- Entrance fees to the sights as per itinerary;
- Mineral water (0.5 liter per person);
- Transportation throughout the tour.
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