Gelati Monastery (Region of Imereti)
Monastery of Gelati (Georg. გელათის მონასტერი) – monastic complex near Kutaisi, western Georgia. It contains the Church of the Virgin founded by the King of Georgia – David Builder (Georg. დავით აღმაშენებელი), in 1106, and the 13th-century churches of St George and St Nicholas. The Gelati Monastery for a long time was one of the main cultural and intellectual centers in Georgia. It had an Academy which employed some of the most celebrated Georgian scientists, theologians and philosophers, many of whom had previously been active at various orthodox monasteries abroad or at the Mangan Academy in Constantinople. Among the scientists were such celebrated scholars as Ioane Petritsi and Arsen Ikaltoeli. Due to the extensive work carried out by the Gelati Academy, people of the time called it “a new Hellas” and “a second Athos”.
The Gelati Monastery has preserved a great number of frescoes and manuscripts dating back to the 12-17th centuries.In Gelati is buried one of the greatest Georgian kings, David the Builder (Davit Agmashenebeli in Georgian). In the the XVI century Bishop cathedra was set up in Gelati, and at the end of XVI century the seat of the Catholicos-Patriarch of Western Georgia was removed from Bichvinta to a more secure venue in Gelati. In various times the richest Georgian manuscripts and national treasure were kept in Gelati. In 1923 the Bolsheviks closed the monastery. Its renovation occurred in 1990.
In 1994, Gelati Monastery was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.