Ubisa Monastery (Region of Imereti)
Ubisa Monastery (Georg. უბისას მონასტერი) was founded in the 9th century by St. Gregory Khandzteli. The monastic complex comprises a St. George’s church, a 4-floor tower , fragments of a defensive wall and several other buildings and structures. The basilica temple of the monastery is built of shell rock, in which pieces of limestone with inscriptions are walled up in places. The Ubisa Monastery was an important cultural center. Books have been copied here for centuries, there were schools of embossing and icon painting. The monastery has preserved unique samples of Georgian painting school.
From the inside, the temple is very archaic, the floor is paved with stone slabs, everything is uneven and ancient in appearance. The monastery houses a unique cycle of murals from the late 14th century by the medieval Georgian painter mononymously known as Damiane. Ubisa frescoes are rare for Georgia, a brilliant example of the Byzantine Palaiologos periods so-called “Paleologic painting” . Despite the dampness Ubisa frescoes survived relatively well. Another interesting feature of the Ubisa temple is its altar iconostasis – made in the form of stone pillars with a wooden beam on top. In Georgia, the iconostases are most often made of stone in the form of arches, but the Byzantine style has also been preserved here.