Alaverdi Monastery (Region of Kakheti)
Alaverdi monastery and Episcopacy cathedral is located near the hamlet of Alaverdi in Akhmeta region, 20 km from Telavi. Alaverdi Monastery was founded in VI century by St. Father Joseph Alaverdeli who arrived from Assyria (his tomb is the most important deity of the cathedral). Today‘s cathedral was built on the site of the church of St. George in the beginning of XI century on the Decree of the king of Rahns and Kakhs, Kvirike III (1010-1037), and after that it became the center of Episcopacy.
Alaverdy cathedral is the tallest construction (51 meters) among the Medieval Georgian architectural monuments. It is a cross-type, three arch construction. There are three entrances from three sides. Big space of the cathedral interior (42 m x 26 m) is illuminated by a light from 16 windows in the neck of the dome. Alaverdi has a relatively austere decoration with carving and ornaments generally typical for Kakheti religious monuments. The cathedral is built of cobblestone with internal part covered with pumice stone. The Alaverdi cathedral roof is constructed with glazed blue tiles. There are many instriptions of the walls of the cathedral.
The monastery is surrounded with a fence (XVII century) within which there is a three-level chamber – the residence of a Bishop; brick palace (constructed in 1615 by the potentate of Kakheti, Peiqar-Khan), bath, wine cellar, cells for monks. Alaverdi cathedral was one of the important centers of Georgian literacy. Here was rewritten one of the oldest Georgian manuscripts – Alaverdi Gospels (1054) which today is kept at the National Center of Manuscripts.
Alaverdi is presented for inscription on UNESCO World Heritage List.