- Davit Gareja
Lonely Planet review for Udabno
The caves of Udabno were churches or chapels or rooms, and their inner walls still bear frescoes painted by the renowned fresco school that flourished here between the 10th and 13th centuries. The monastery's refectory, where the monks had to kneel to eat at low stone tables, is decorated with beautiful light-coloured frescoes, the principal one being an 11th-century depiction of the Last Supper.
Paintings on the north wall of what was the main church show Davit Gareja and Lukiane surrounded by deer, a reference to the story that deer gave them milk when they were wandering without sustenance in this remote wilderness. Below them are figures of Kakhetian princes.
To get to Udabno, take the uphill path beside the church shop outside Lavra. Watch out for poisonous vipers on this route, including in the caves and especially from April to June. When you come level with a watchtower overlooking Lavra, take the path leading straight up the hill. In 10 to 15 minutes you will reach a metal railing. Follow this to the left and up to the top of the ridge, then along the far side of the ridge (where the railing deteriorates to a series of posts). The plains and low hills below you now are in Azerbaijan, and the caves alongside and above the path are the Udabno monastery.
Finally the path climbs up to a stone chapel on the hilltop, then down past a cave known as Davit's Tears (because of the spring inside) and the top of Lavra monastery, to the watchtower you passed earlier.