Nekresi – Monastery Complex and urban archaeology is located in the Kakheti region of Georgia, in Kvareli municipality, near Shilda village. It’s about 140 kilometers east of Tbilisi, the capital city of Georgia. The fortress is situated on the edge of the Caucasus range, overlooking the surrounding countryside. It provides panoramic views of the Alazani Valley and the Gombori Mountains.
A brief history of the Nekresi monastery complex
The monastery dates back to the 4th century. It is one of the oldest and most important spiritual centers in Georgia.
According to legend, the monastery was founded by Saint Abibos Nekreseli, a Christian missionary who traveled to Georgia from Palestine. Nekresi became known for his healing abilities, and his reputation drew many followers to the monastery.
Over the centuries, the Nekresi monastery complex grew in size and importance. It became a center of learning and culture in the region. In the 6th century, the monk Giorgi of Nekresi founded a theological school at the monastery, which became famous throughout Georgia.
During the Arab invasions of the 8th and 9th centuries, the monastery was partially destroyed. It was later restored by King David the Builder in the 12th century. Under King David, the Nekresi monastery complex once again became a center of learning and culture. Many important religious and cultural figures were associated with the monastery over the centuries.
Today, visitors to the Nekresi monastery complex can explore the well-preserved ruins of the ancient churches, towers, and other structures that make up the complex. The site is also home to a museum. It displays artifacts from the region’s rich history, including ancient manuscripts, religious objects, and works of art.
Infrastructure around the fortress:
Here are some of the main facilities and services in the vicinity of the monastery:
Parking: There is a large parking lot at the base of the hill that leads up to the monastery complex, which can accommodate cars and tour buses.
Accommodations: There are several hotels and guesthouses in the nearby town of Kvareli, which is about 10 kilometers from the monastery complex. These accommodations offer a range of amenities, including comfortable rooms, restaurants, and bars.
Dining: There are several restaurants and cafes in the vicinity of the Nekresi Monastery complex, where visitors can enjoy traditional Georgian cuisine and refreshments.
Overall, the infrastructure around the Nekresi Monastery complex is relatively well-developed, and visitors can expect to find a range of facilities and services that make their visit to the site comfortable and enjoyable.
How to get there:
There are several ways to get to the Nekresi monastery complex. Here are some of the main options for getting to the monastery complex:
- By car: The most convenient way to reach the Nekresi Monastery complex is by car. The site is located about 140 kilometers east of Tbilisi, and the drive takes approximately 2.5-3 hours. From Tbilisi, take the Kakheti Highway to Telavi, then follow the signs to Kvareli and Nekresi.
- By taxi: Taxis are readily available in Tbilisi and other major cities in Georgia, and it is possible to hire a taxi to take you to the Nekresi Monastery complex. Negotiate the fare with the driver in advance, as prices can vary depending on the distance and time of day.
- By bus: There are regular bus services from Tbilisi and other cities in Georgia to Kvareli, which is the nearest town to the Nekresi Monastery complex. From Kvareli, visitors can take a taxi or walk up the hill to the monastery complex.
- By tour: There are many tour companies in Tbilisi and other cities that offer day trips to the Nekresi Monastery complex, often combined with visits to other nearby attractions such as the Alaverdi Cathedral and the Gremi fortress. These tours typically include transportation, guided tours, and sometimes meals.
Once you arrive at the Nekresi Monastery complex, there is a parking lot at the base of the hill where you can leave your car or taxi. From there, a path leads up the hill to the monastery complex, and visitors can either walk or take a shuttle bus (for a small fee) to the top.
Here are some useful tips to help you make the most of your experience:
- Dress appropriately: The Nekresi Monastery is a religious site, so it’s important to dress appropriately. Women should wear clothing that covers their shoulders and knees, and men should wear pants and a shirt with sleeves. It’s also a good idea to bring a scarf or shawl to cover your head when entering the churches.
- Wear comfortable shoes: The monastery complex is located on a hilltop, so visitors should be prepared for some uphill walking. Wear comfortable shoes that are suitable for walking on uneven terrain.
- Bring sunscreen and water: Georgia can get very hot in the summer, so it’s a good idea to bring sunscreen and plenty of water to stay hydrated during your visit.
- Take a guided tour: To fully appreciate the history and significance of the Nekresi Monastery complex, consider taking a guided tour. Guided tours are available in several languages and can be arranged at the entrance to the complex.
- Visit in the morning or late afternoon: To avoid the hottest part of the day, it’s best to visit the Nekresi Monastery complex in the morning or late afternoon. The complex is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and it’s busiest during the middle of the day.
- Explore the surrounding area: The Kakheti region is home to many other historical and cultural sites, including the Alaverdi Cathedral and the Gremi fortress. Consider visiting these sites to learn more about the history and culture of the region.
By following these tips, visitors can have a comfortable and enjoyable experience exploring the Nekresi monastery complex.
Tours via the Kakheti region
Nekresi Monastery Complex on a map