Gelati Monastery: Gelati is a monastic complex near Kutaisi. It contains the Church of the Virgin founded by the King of Georgia, David the Builder in 1106, and the 13th-century churches of St George and St Nicholas.
The Church of Saint Nicholas is from the late 13th century. The ground floor of this unusual two-storied domed church is open with arches on all sides. The church itself is on the second floor and is polyhedral in form.
The Gelati Monastery for a long time was one of the main cultural and intellectual centers in Georgia. It had an Academy which employed some of the most celebrated Georgian scientists, theologians and philosophers, many of whom had previously been active at various orthodox monasteries abroad.
The central building of the monastery is the church of the Virgin. The interior of the church is adorned with paintings of different periods.
The central apse is decorated with a mosaic dated to 1125-1130 depicting the Virgin with the Child and archangels.
Church of Virgin the Blessed, mosaic and mural in the apse depicting Theotokos, Archangels Michael and Gabriel. Arc de Triomphe (Arch of Triumph).
Most of the murals in the church belong to the second half of XVI century.
The Gelati Monastery has preserved a great number of murals and manuscripts dating back to the 12th to 17th centuries.
Gelati monastery, Church of Virgin the Blessed. Mural on north wall. From left to right: Queen Rusudan, Prince Bagrat, King George II, Queen Helen, King Bagrat III of Imereti, Catholicos Yevdemon Chetidze, David the Builder
Undying body case of the shrine attached to The Gelati Monastery
David the Builder, David IV of the Bagrationi dynasty was a king of Georgia from 1089 until his death in 1125.
Popularly considered to be the greatest and most successful Georgian ruler in history, David
IV succeeded in driving the Seljuk Turks out of the country, winning the major Battle of Didgori in 1121. His reforms of the army and administration enabled him to reunite the country and bring most of the lands of the Caucasus under Georgia’s control. A friend of the church and a notable promoter of Christian culture, he was canonized by the Georgian Orthodox Church.
The Georgian people respect and admire David IV and still worship David as their saint. One of the left women is offering a light on his memorial and other makes the sign of the cross. The right man kisses the gravestone.
I was impressed by their naivete and piety. And I thought that I should be able to live with these people in this country.
I left the Gelati Monastery and met a family taking a walk. I was not able to see them wealthily, but looked them to be happy.