The Shio Mgvime monastery (Region of Mtskheta-Mtianeti)
The Shio Mgvime monastery is located in a beautiful forest place on the left bank of the river Kura in Georgia. The road follows a narrow limestone canyon from the main square in the town Mtskheta. The medieval monastery consists by several buildings from different periods: The oldest one is the Monastery of St. John the Baptist (dated 560-580) – the simple cruciform building with octagonal dome; The Upper Church Theotokos (12th c) was a domed church destroyed by invasion and in 1678 was restored as Basilica; Refectory (12th -17th cc); the Cave of St. Shio (6th c ) and a small chapel (12th c) adorned with medieval murals stands separately on a nearby hill.
In 1937, an archaeological expedition revealed, a 2 km long aqueduct supplying the monastic communities from the nearby village of Skhaltba, and chronicled in 1202 as being constructed by Bishop Anton of Chkondidi, a minister at Queen Thamar’s court.
The story of establishment of the Shio Mgvime monastery goes back to the 6th century when the one of the Thirteen Syrian Fathers, monk Shio, chose to live in a dark isolated cave near a 6th century church North-West of the ancient city of Mtskheta. It is where the name derives from: Mgvime in Georgian language means Grotto, Cave. His grave is still visible there today. In 11th century, a church was built over Shio’s tomb. Another church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, was erected by King David the builder