Cultural and enlightening work at the Monasteries increased especially in the 18th century. Well-known Georgian writers, Sulkhan-Saba, Orbeliani Besarion, Baratashvili-Orbelishvili., Nikoloz Cherkerishvili, Grigol Vakhvakhishvili, Anton 1, Romanoz Eristavi, Tiraote Gabashvili worked here at that time. Side by side with these authors, Onophre Machutadse, Gabriel Saginashvili, Gabriel Mtsiri, Geronti Sogulnshvili, and others wrote original hagiographic works, spread man- uscripts. prepared new catalogues, and were engaged in various enlightenment activities Cultural work the Monasteries continued till the close of the 19th century.The rich collection of the monastery manuscripts, a great national literary treasure, has come down to us as a witness of the prolific creative activity of the Gareja scholars.
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Davidgareja (Kakheti)



Davidgareja (Kakheti)

Davidgareja, one of the most remarkable religious and cultural centers of feudal Georgia, is a cave monastic complex ,situated in a rocky mountainous terrain in the historical region of Gareja, 60-70km south-east of Tbilisi. The monastery was founded in the first half of the 6th century by David Garejeli, one of the Assyrian Fathers. The holy father came to the Georgia wilderness with its discipline Lukaiane and took up this abode in a small, natural cave, thus laying the foundation to a monastery which , in later centuries, came to be known as St David’s lavra.

St David’s lavra was the center of the monastic life in Gareja. In the course of time it was joined by the new monasteries whose number, at a certain time, reached twelve. The appreciation “the twelve Gareja monasteries” must have come down from that time. Later, little by little, a system of monastic complexes, lying at some distance from each other ,was formed : tsamebuli (Martyr), Natlismtsemeli (Baptist), Chichkhituri, Dodos Rka, Bertubani (Monk’s Quarter) and others.

In the 12th century king David 4, the builder, made the monasteries royal property , freed them from taxes, and facilitated their advaticement.The monastic life was disrupted by numerous invasions of Mongol hordes, Tamerline Persians.
The appearance of the David Gareja monasteries, this epoch was totally different from the - monastic style of the previous centuries. The former simplicity and spontaneity of the main Churches and refectories gave way to magnificence and grandour, to a tendency towards more free space. The murals on the walls of these Churches, and common refectories intensified the impression. The importance of the Davidgareja murals is heightened by the numerous portraits of the contributors, including the portraits of the Georgian royalty; Queen Tamar and her son Giorgi Lasha (the Bertubani Church).

The of the donors’ portraits is much larger than that of the religious personage, which demonstrates the freedom of the Georgian master from the rules set by the Byzantin art. The frescos of the Bertuhani refectory are remarkable for the solemn and magestic impression they create. David Garejeli's life, was written at Gareja under the supervision of Onophre Garejeli, the well-known 12th century scholar. King David IV’s son and successor, Demetre, took monastic vows here, and composed iambics.

Cultural and enlightening work at the Monasteries increased especially in the 18th century. Well-known Georgian writers, Sulkhan-Saba, Orbeliani Besarion, Baratashvili-Orbelishvili., Nikoloz Cherkerishvili, Grigol Vakhvakhishvili, Anton 1, Romanoz Eristavi, Tiraote Gabashvili worked here at that time. Side by side with these authors, Onophre Machutadse, Gabriel Saginashvili, Gabriel Mtsiri, Geronti Sogulnshvili, and others wrote original hagiographic works, spread man- uscripts. prepared new catalogues, and were engaged in various enlightenment activities Cultural work the Monasteries continued till the close of the 19th century.The rich collection of the monastery manuscripts, a great national literary treasure, has come down to us as a witness of the prolific creative activity of the Gareja scholars.



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