About Sights – Gelati Monastery
Gelati (Georgian: გელათის მონასტერი) is a monastic complex near Kutaisi in Imereti region in western Georgia. Built between the 12th and 17th centuries, it contains wonderful mosaics and wall paintings and is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
David IV “the Builder”, also known as David II (Georgian: დავით აღმაშენებელი) founded the monastery and is also buried here. He is considered to be the greatest Georgian ruler in history. After being elected President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili took an oath at David the Builder’s tomb as a symbol of his dedication to follow in David’s footsteps and bring unity and prosperity to Georgia.
It was David who began building the monastery in 1106, which was completed in 1130 in the reign of his son. Gelati Monastery was not simply a monastery: it was a center of science and education, and an Academy was established there.
The monastery complex is enclosed by a stone wall. The main church (Church of the Virgin) is in the center of the enclosure, flanked by the Church of St George (13th century) to the west and the two-storey Church of St Nicholas and the Academy building behind it.
The Church of Saint Nicholas is from the late 13th century. The ground floor of this unusual two-storied domed church is open with arches on all sides. The church itself is on the second floor and is polyhedral in form.
The complex also has a bell tower, one of the oldest in Georgia.
The interior of the Church of the Virgin is decorated with murals mainly dating from the XVI century but the mural depicting the Virgin and Child with two archangels against a gold background in the conch of the apse dates to 1125-1130.
GEORGIA ABOUT recommends a visit to the beautiful Gelati Monastery