friend took me to the 'Davit Gareji' monastery complex on the Azeri border.
This area is famous in Georgian history for all the invasions it's endured,
the most notorious being one by the Persians in the 17th century that
resulted in the deaths of 6,000 monks. Despite its tragic history, it was a
fascinating place to visit with beautiful views in all directions.
The day began in an interesting fashion. My friend picked me up at a
predetermined location downtown and brought another friend along with him.
The latter happened to be a monk, which came as a bit of a surprise! At
first, I felt a bit uncomfortable thinking I might need to monitor my
behavior. But then, I figured having a monk along was probably the best way
to explore a monastery. He didn't speak English as well as my friend but he
was a very nice person and we got along quite well the rest of the day.
The drive was so scenic moving from wine country to a semi-desert
environment. We eventually veered off on gravel roads and entered an area
that reminded me of the great plains except with bigger hills. I was
immediately warned about the prevalence of poisonous snakes in the area with
some having venom comparable to a cobra!! I'm not sure if that's true but
there were certainly a lot of snakes as you will see from the pictures.
The main monastery itself was amazing and the pictures don't quite convey
the enormity of it. Anyway, let me narrate them in the order they appear:
#1 Good view of the surrounding area!
#2 Under this rock there are tunnels that act as a viaduct for the water.
#3 Entrance to the monastery
#4 Rooms carved out of rock
#5 A little friend
#6 Me with my friend
#7 Can you guess what this is??
I have so many more pictures of this trip and others and will put them up on
my site if you want to see them. As always, feedback is appreciated.