David Gareja Monastery, Udabno

The Orthodox David Gareja Monastery complex conceals hundreds of cells, churches, and monks' quarters, hollowed out in a rocky mountain verge. In this semi-desert setting you can see shepherds herding their flock and birds of prey hunting, while the monks pick wild herbs emerging from rocky pathways. Visit the monastery and its quarters, and climb a hill from which you can see both Georgia and Azerbaijan. Look for the tomb of St. David Garejeli, the Assyrian monk who founded the complex in the 6th century. The climate at this site can be harsh, so bring warm clothes and have enough food and water for lengthy walks. To find out how to plan a trip to Udabno, use our trip itinerary maker.
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David Gareja Monastery Reviews
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  • Simply magnificent complex in beautiful area bordering on Azerbeidzjan. If you climb the hill past the tower, you can follow the path marking the border, giving you incredible views over the valley in...  more »
  • That is a very interesting monastery located in the dry mountains at the Georgian-Azerbaijani border. The surrounding landscape is unbelievable. The place is worth to go!  more »
  • Located at the border between Georgia and Azerbaijan, David Gareja is a very special place to visit. The remote area and long hike you have to make through the rough landscape give the frescoes in the...  more »
Google
  • This is an awesome place to explore, but beware Google Maps! If you are coming from Tbilisi and your maps app tries to send you through Rustavi, DON'T! Rustavi itself is just fine, but eventually, you'll hit a dirt road that only gets more rocky and rough. That being said, you can make it, but I would highly advise against it unless you have four-wheel drive. That route also takes you through what appears to be a military training facility which was a little nerve-wracking. And should you break down, be aware that we didn't see another car until we were about 15 minutes away from David Gareji. That being said, if you take S5 to Sagarejo you'll come up on a turn (41.721338, 45.354982) that will take you down a road called Sagaredjo-Udabno-David Gareji Monastery. I didn't notice a sign, but on an electronic map that is how it comes up. Head south down that road, staying on it the entire time (there will be turns so just pay attention to your map) and it will take you right there. At this point, Google doesn't seem to recognize that route, but it is visible on your map and is much more taken care of that the dirt road. We didn't come upon any closures, just a good amount of potholes. Be sure to load a return map as well before going out there, as we couldn't get one to load even in the areas where we did have service. And If you are the type of person that it counting the countries you have been to, watch closely for the 45-second dip you'll take into Azerbaijan on the road there :) The monastery itself was really neat to see! There is a little church shop where you can buy religious information, relics, water, etc. There is also a bathroom that costs .5 GEL to use. The monastery did have some construction going on when we were there, but we were still able to get in and explore quite a bit. Despite the drive, it really is a cool place to see!
  • Probably the best monastery seen in caucuses, hard to reach (you need a 4wd car) and to hike, but the efforts are paid back. Wonderful building and wonderful view of the Azerbaigian border. Unique.
  • This is place a must visit location when you visit Georgia ... Close to Azerbaijan border and you can reach this monastery after crossing Udabno dessert stunning scenes . Give wonderful feeling !
  • Monastery is in the middle of nowhere, on the Azeri border with some of the caves on the other side of the border. Border guards allow visitors across, where some of the best preserved caves with some of the frescoes intact are. On the Georgian side, there are picturesque monastery buildings. Surrounding the monastery are rolling colorful hills.
  • Beautifully restored monastery and other features. Great wandering around admiring the views and the wonderful coloured rocks across the valley. Enjoyed climbing around the rocks and admiring the cave houses.

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