Shuamta Monasteries

Shuamta Monasteries, ancient architectural masterpieces of Kakheti, are nestled amidst the Gombori mountain range's deciduous forest. These impressive complexes, Old Shuamta and New Shuamta, are situated near Telavi, the capital of the Kakheti region. The name "Shuamta" translates to "between the mountains," reflecting their picturesque location.

Old Shuamta, a testament to Georgia's early feudal architecture, consists of three churches from different eras. The 5th-century triple-naved basilica, the 7th-century domed church resembling Jvari Monastery, and another small domed 7th-century church compose this enchanting complex. However, Old Shuamta was abandoned in the 16th century, giving way to the construction of New Shuamta just two kilometers away.

New Shuamta, or Akhali Shuamta, is home to the Khakhula St. Mary Monastery, built under the patronage of Queen Tinatin, wife of King Levan of Kakheti. Queen Tinatin, a fascinating figure who left her husband due to his infidelity, lived in the New Shuamta convent until her death in 1591. The main church of the monastery houses her tomb, as well as the graves of King Levan and his heir Giorgi.

The 19th-century poet and public figure Aleksandre Chavchavadze, along with other members of the prominent Chavchavadze family, also found their final resting place in the church. The Shuamta monasteries have housed numerous treasures donated by Georgian kings and feudal lords throughout history, with the Khakhuli Triptych being the most notable. This exquisite work of art, embossed in gold and adorned with precious gems, can now be found in the National Art Museum of Georgia in Tbilisi, while a perfect replica remains in the church.

The communist government closed the monastery in 1926, but after Georgia regained independence in 1989, worship and monastic life resumed. Today, visitors can explore both Old and New Shuamta Monasteries, admiring the stunning architecture and natural beauty that surrounds these historic sites.

A trip to Shuamta Monasteries promises an unforgettable journey into Georgia's rich history and architectural prowess. The beautiful, serene surroundings make it a must-see destination for history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Plan your visit and experience the wonders of these ancient Georgian treasures for yourself.

Nearest to Shuamta Monasteries

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