About Sights – Nekresi Monastery
Nekresi Monastery (Georgian: ნეკრესის მონასტერში) is one of the largest monastery complexes in the Kakheti region of Georgia and was founded by St. Abibos Nekreseli, one of the famous thirteen Syrian fathers.
Situated on top of a steep hill overlooking the Alazani valley, the complex contains various ecclesiastical buildings built at different times, including: the Blessed Virgin Church (VI-VII century); a basilica-type church that dates to the IV century (one of the earliest surviving Christian churches); a two-storey bishop’s palace (IX century); a four-storey tower (XVI century); and a wine cellar (marani).
The monastery is noted for having withstood the expansion of Zoroastrianism in Georgia. The bishop of the monastery, Abibos Nekreseli, was sentenced to death after pouring water on the Zoroaster fire to show it should not be worshiped as sacred. Nekreseli was canonized for his martyrdom.
The monastery is also famous for repelling an invading Muslim army by releasing pigs down the mountainside. At the sight of the pigs the invaders withdrew. To commemorate this event, the Blessed Virgin Church at the monastery became the only church in Georgia to which a pig can be sacrificed.
The entire monastery complex has been restored and it is possible to climb the tower, and to enter the monastery churches and the ancient wine cellar (marani).
How to get there: The monastery is located in Kakheti region about 42km from Telavi. Located on the top of a steep hill it can only be reached on foot or by a monastery shuttle mini-bus that departs from the foot of the mountain, by the entrance to the complex (cost 1 Lari). No cars are allowed up to the monastery.
The panoramic views of the Alazani valley are spectacular!