Nekresi Monastery

Monastery in Around Telavi

Nekresi’s early Georgian architecture and the views across the Alazani valley from its hillside-woodland site are marvellous. The monastery is 4km off the Kvareli road from a turning 10km past Gremi (Kvareli-bound marshrutky will drop you at the turn-off). Vehicles must park 1.5km before the monastery; from there marshrutky (1 GEL return trip) shuttle up and down the hill from about 9am to 5pm, approximately mid-April to mid-December.

Considerable repair and reconstruction has been done in recent years. The first church you come to is a three-church basilica from the 8th and 9th centuries, with a plan unique to early Georgian churches, the three naves being divided by solid walls into what are effectively three churches. Nekresi’s tiny first church (one of the earliest in Georgia, dating from the 4th century) stands in the centre of the complex. Beside it stands a 9th-century bishop’s palace, complete with wine cellar and a 16th-century tower. Immediately east is the main Church of the Assumption, another three-church basilica, from the 6th to 7th centuries, with 17th-century murals adorning its smoke-blackened interior.