Zedazeni Monastery is a Georgian Orthodox monastery. It is located on the Zedazeni mountain the hills of Saguramo, northeast of Mtskheta, and to the east side of the Aragvi River.
A brief history of Zedazeni Monastery
Founded in VI c AD by the head of the 13 Assyrian Fathers – St. Ioane Zedazneli. The monastery is located northeast of Mtskheta, on the slope of a hill covered with dense virgin forest.
Mount Zedazeni had crucial religious importance during the pre-Christian Kingdom of Iberia. Moreover, according to a legend, the name Zedazeni comes from Zaden – a god from Georgian mythology, whose idol was standing on a mountain. So, by Georgian Christian tradition, John of Zedazeni founded a monastery here after arriving in Iberia in 535.
Historical parts of the complex include:
- three-nave basilica
- a defensive wall
- monastic cells
Three-nave basilica of John the Baptist was constructed in the 8th century, by the Catholicos Clementos. Church has two entrances. One of which was built later, in the 19th century. The burial place of St. John of Zedazeni is also here. Meanwhile, the church has severely damaged fragments of frescoes and ornaments, dating to different periods of the middle ages.
Fortifications of Zedazeni date to the 17th century. Thus, defensive curtain walls surround Zedazeni from three sides, and there is a stiff cliff on the fourth side.
Monastic cells of Zedazeni are cut in the steep slope of the mountain and can be accessed by a narrow path from the other parts of the monastery. Cells are located in the south-eastern part of the complex.
Infrastructure around the Zedazeni Monastery:
- Nearby there is no other infrastructure except the drinkable spring water about 100 meters from the monastery.
- The closest shops and restaurants are in the village of Saguramo.
How to get there:
- Because of tough road conditions, especially in winter, we recommend a 4x4WD/Crossover type of transport.
- Taxi from Tbilisi. The price will be no more than 60-70 GEL
Don’t forget to take a good camera. It’s a brilliant place for golden hour photography. Unfortunately, you can’t use the drones at the site.
You can also hike to the monastery. The road begins after Saguramo at an elevation of 770 meters and climbs for four kilometers up to 1,200 meters. So, be sure to wear comfortable hiking shoes and appropriate clothing for your trek. There is also a camping area and rest stop ideally situated near the complex, making it a great option for a day hike or an overnight getaway from the city.
The monastery is open every day from 09:00-18:00. The entrance is free. Admission is limited during the liturgy and the Dress code is required