Nekresi Monastery


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, from 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 a 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.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kakheti attractions

1. Winery Khareba


What's special here is the 7.7km of wine tunnels, dug out of a hillside in the early 1960s for storing and ageing wine at constant temperatures. Today the…

2. Gremi Fortress

5.93 MILES

From 1466 to 1672, Gremi was the capital of Kakheti, but the town down to the west of the citadel was totally devastated by Shah Abbas in 1616. Within the…

3. Shumi

11.43 MILES

This interesting smallish winery produces wines of numerous appellations under the Shumi and Iberiuli labels, and has a vineyard of 432 vine varieties,…

4. Chavchavadze Estate

11.73 MILES

Prince Alexander Chavchavadze (1786–1846) was one of the most colourful and influential characters in Georgian history, and the palace and gardens he…

5. Schuchmann

12.73 MILES

A very professional modern operation 7km southeast of central Telavi, producing 1.5 million bottles a year – 30% is qvevri wine (under the Vinoterra label…

6. Twins Old Cellar

14.4 MILES

A family-run operation making qvevri and European wine, 23km north of Telavi. Visits include its comprehensive qvevri wine museum and a tasting of three…

7. Batonistsikhe Castle

15.59 MILES

Batonistsikhe was the residence of the Kakhetian kings in the 17th and 18th centuries and remains today a superbly preserved old castle right in the…

8. Bazari

15.7 MILES

Telavi’s busy market bursts with fresh produce from the area’s villages and is a chaotic visual feast to wander through.