Nekresi, Georgia

The Thirteen Assyrian Fathers are known as a group of monks who arrived to Georgia to strengthen Christianity. Each one of them found monasteries in different part of Georgia. Abibus of Nekressi was one of the Assyrian monks who came in 6th century in a village in the Alazani Valley and established a monastery. This atmospheric Georgia monastery used to be a part of an ancient town of the same name, but, unfortunately, it’s everything what’s left from the town. Nekresi monastery was established during period of Persian rule, when state religion was Zoroastrianism. Saint Abibus put out sacred Zoroastrian flame with water and was brutally killed by pagan priests.

This Georgia monastery had been the center of cultural and religious life of Kakheti region for a long time. It was also attacked by invaders several times. There’s an interesting legend behind one of invasions. Once, when the Muslims were trying to take over the town, monks let a herd of pigs go out the gates. The Muslims backed off, when they saw pigs. Since then pigs have been considered holy animals in Nekresi Monastery.

Today this Georgia monastery is a complex of religious buildings. One of the buildings is the oldest basilica of 9th that had been built long before arrival of Saint Abibus; it’s the first Christian church in Georgia. It’s made from rough stones and has tombs of Georgian princes inside. The main basilica of Nekresi Monastery is St. Virgin’s Church. It was built in 8th century and has a gallery with wonderfully beautiful paintings and frescoes.

Another interesting building on the territory of the monastery is wine cellar or marani. It’s an open construction with round deepens for kvevri – large, clay jugs. The territory of monastery complex exposes travelers to breathtaking views on the Alazani Valley. Visitors can enjoy the view or take a stroll around the territory.  

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