About Alaverdi


Best time to visit: All Season

Alaverdi - Cathedral and Monastery is located in the Kakheti region of Akhmeta municipality, on Alazani valley, near the village of Alaverdi, 20 km from Telavi.


The temple is one of the largest church buildings in Georgia. Its height including dome is above 50 meters.


The complex includes buildings: Alaverdi St. George Cathedral, defensive wall, chapel, Peikar-Khan's palace, wine cellar and bath.


Alaverdi Monastery was founded by Joseph Alaverdeli, one of the Assyrian fathers in the middle of the VI century.


At the beginning of the XI century, Kvirike the King of Kakheti built a cathedral (which is known by the name of Alaverdi)  at the site of the little church of St. George.


Alaverdi was one of the most outstanding chapels of medieval Georgia. Alaverdoba (September-October) was very popular ecclesiastical and public holiday. Which was celebrated not only by Georgians (from Kakheti, Kiziki, Ertso-Tianeti, Pshav-Khevsureti) but Kists And Dagestan people as well. The market was also held.


History

Alaverdi Monastery was founded in the VI century by Joseph Alaverdeli, one of the 12 Assyrian fathers. Is located on the Alazani valley, on the background of the snowy mountains of the Caucasus Range, 20 km away from Telavi. In the first quarter of XI century the king of Kakheti, Kvirike, built the temple of St.George at the site of old, little church. One of the largest cathedrals (41,7m X 26,4m) in Georgia is more than 50 meters high.


Alaverdi was the episcopal center and the residence of the bishops of the diocese from the XI century.  From the same century the Alaverdi Cathedral became the tomb of the royal palace of Kakheti.


Alaverdi Cathedral has been damaged many times by earthquakes. During its first great restoration (in the 80s of the XV century, during the reign of Alexander, king of Kakheti) the dome was completely restored and the parts of the walls. In 1742 the earthquake damaged Alaverdi Cathedral. Its restoration started by Queen Tamar (1750)  and finished by Erekle II. The restored part of the temple is built of bricks. At the end of the XIX century Alaverdi Cathedral was completely whitewashed inside. After clearing the walls (1966) several layers of painting were revealed: The first and most important are the fragments of the XI century painting. The frescoes of XV-XVI centuries have remained on the southern walls and XVI-XVII centuries frescoes on the western and northern walls. 


Alaverdi architectural complex, which is surrounded by a defensive wall (XVII-XVIII cc), unites buildings of different times. The palace, which is one of the most important buildings of Georgia, is a three-storey building. Its lower floor - a large size cambered hall was a refectory in the XVI-XVII centuries. In the nearest period of 1615 was built Peikar-Khan's( the ruler of Gandza) brick Palace. Its main residential building is octagonal, a building covered with cameras and a wide open arch on which is build up a low, square room. There are other residential buildings, as well as bath, wine cellar, the bell tower and others. Initially, Alaverdi was fathers monastery. 

In the XVII-XVIII centuries, the mother monastery was also founded. The royal family members of the nuns lived there. Georgian writers, calligraphers and scribes were engaged in literary activities in Alaverdi. Among them were: Philippe Alaverdeldi (XVI-XVII cc), Zebede Archbishop (XVII c.),Niceforo Irbachi (Nikoloz Cholokashvili, XVII c.), Mariam-Makrine Bagrationi (XVIII c.) and others.


Legend

The holy monk, Ioseb Alaverdeli lived in Alaverdi floodplain, in Kakheti. At that time, Naghara-Khan had a palace on one mountain ridge in Tskhrakara. On the second mountain slopes along the palace there is a domed church, where is depicted the face of Queen Tamar.


Once Naghara-Khan went hunting and left off a Falcon. Suddenly, the falcon chased to the pheasant, which ran to the monk. Then the falcon sat on the tree and was waiting for his sacrifice. 


Naghara-Khan went to the monk and asked how he dare to shelter the pheasant. Then he took a sword to kill the monk, but suddenly his arm freezed. When Khan saw this miracle he begged monk to cure his hand and instead he promised to do everything for him. Through the power of praying the monk cured him and instead he asked to build a church. Khan fulfilled his request. So the church of St.George was built in Alaverdi.


The boys often played and wrestled in the yard of the church. One of them was always a loser. He brought fried egg in the church as a gift for St. George and asked him for strength and victories. At this time wealth Greek traders passed through the church and when they saw a fried egg in front of the door they immediately started to eat it. In the road they became very sick and went to the monk to ask the reason of their sickness. The monk tell them that it was related to the anger of St. George. After traders made a promise that if they were cured they will build a large temple. In fact all of them were healed and after traders fulfilled the promise - they built the current Alaverdi Temple.


There is a Georgian proverb: “No one can take St. Georges scrambled eggs”. On the top of the door of the temple are drawn the young players. 

Location
42.032462, 45.377167
Distance from the Capital
104 km (64.62 mi)

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