A One Day Gastro Tour of Pankisi
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Ikalto Monastery - The monument of Georgian architecture is located in Kakheti region, Telavi municipality.
The monastery was founded in the VI century by one of the Assyrian fathers Zenon, whose sacred parts are rested in the same monastery. According to the legend, Arsen Iqaltoeli (XI-XII centuries) founded the academy there. Here we have relatively late period manuscripts and it does not contain information about Ikalto Academy.
Three churches and the ruins of various buildings, academy and refectory buildings are remained on the territory of the monastery complex. Among churches the main one is Peristsvaleba church “Ghvtaeba” of VIII-IX centuries.(Built on the site of the old church in which Zenon was buried). A little church of Sameba, where despite thorough restructuration remained parts of the VIII century domed church. Also single-nave Kvelatsminda church, which belongs to the XII-XIII centuries. Elongated building is built with the cobblestones. The first floor consists of 2 rooms,and the second one is the whole hall (24,5 mx9 m) and it seems to have been intended for scientific gathering. The building style looks like the feudal palaces of VIII-IX centuries and It should be built then.
Ikalto Academy was the highest educational institution in Georgia during XI-XII centuries. This is confirmed by the ruins of the building that remain in the monastery yard, which are more like the construction of secular-purpose building than the monastery. The ruins are visible on the base
of cathedral. The building should have been monumental, similar to the Gelati Academy building. The difference is that the building of Ikalto Academy is two-storey. The first rector of Ikalto Academy was Arsen Ikaltoeli, who moved there from Gelati. Ikalto academy mastered theology, rhetoric, astronomy, philosophy, geography, geometry, chanting, etc. In addition to the theoretical courses, pupils studied metal processing, ceramic production, viticulture and winemaking, pharmacology and others.
In the Ikalto Academy there was a wide range of educational work. Many important works were translated from the Greek, the manuscripts were multiplied, precious lists were created. The founder of Ikalto Academy and the first rector Arsen Ikaltoeli translated such an important work as "the rule of the Great Law" during being in his homeland.
It is known that the Ikalto Academy ceased its functioning in 1616 when the Shah-Abbas invasion destroyed the monastery by fire.
The Ikalto Monastery was a tomb of Makashvili family. One of the greatest assistants of the monastery was Ioane Makashvili, son of Omani, Metropolitan and his nephew - Monk Gabriel, that was renewed by Ikalto Monastery philanthropist Dimitry (Titiko), son of Ivane Makashvili, in the XIX century.
Since 1921, after Russias’ repeated annexation in Georgia, the Ikalto monastery was closed and the service was banned.
In 1965, on the initiative of Ikalto "Peoples’ University" a museum was opened in Gvtaeba Monastery.
Along with ecclesiastical items and books, the big bell of the main temple is lost as well.
In 1991, after the overthrow of the Communist regime, liturgy was restored in Sameba monastery and in Ikalto monastery Gvtaeba.
In 2004-2009 the Ikalto Academy was rehabilitated.
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