A beautiful Shavnabada Monastery is almost unknown among the tourists. That is why I decided to tell you about its history and legends. Shavnabada Monastery is located in the south-eastern part of Georgia, just 30 kilometers far from Tbilisi.
Shavnabada Monastery of St. George is a medieval Georgian Orthodox monastic complex that is constructed on the Shavnabada Mountain. The original monastery was built in the 12th century, and it was renewed in the 17th century. In the past, such kind of monasteries and churches were built on the strategical places. During various invasions, those churches and monasteries could light a fire to give a sign about the attack. Shavnabada Monastery was built on a high hill not only because of the invading forces but also to give hope to people during the difficult times. This monastery reminded people that God was with them. The monastery that is functioning until today was founded in 1992, with the blessing of Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia.
In 1795, after Agha-Mohammad-Khan conquered Tbilisi, the Persians started to rob the city. Their camp was located on a high mountain, on the left side of the Mtkvari River. The Persian army was returning to the camp late at night.
According to the legend, every night when the Persians were returning with the loot, unusual trouble was happening to them. At midnight, when the soldiers were falling asleep, a man on the horse would intrude into the camp. The rider would kill many of them, frightened the army, and then he would disappear unexpectedly. He was wearing a black cloak called ‘Shavi Nabadi’ in Georgian. The names of the monastery and the mountain come from there. This would repeat night after night. Persians decided to kill the rider. However, they could not catch him, and Agha-Mohammad-Khan decided to leave Georgia with his army. He made a promise that he would definitely return to Georgia the following year to destroy everything.
Georgians were very happy that the conquerors left the country, and they built a church on the Shavnabada Mountain that was named after St. George. They believed that this rider was Saint George himself, who saved their lives. After one year, Agha-Mohammad-Khan decided to come back to invade Georgia finally. However, the night before the travel, they found him killed with the sword in his own tent.
The church that is located in the Shavnabada monastic complex is very bright, and you can see the original frescos that were painted on the walls. Many of the frescoes tell different interesting stories. For example, you can see a fresco of St. Nino that shows her holding a cross made out of the grapevine and her hair. She was the one who spread Christianity in Georgia during the 4th century. Several monks live in the monastery, and they are making a rare variety of wine. There is a building next to the monastery, where several Qvevri (clay pots) with wine are buried in the ground.
While being in Tbilisi, do not miss to visit the Shavnabada Monastery, where you can explore its history and legends. You will also enjoy the beautiful landscapes around it. In addition, don’t forget to taste the original Georgian wines from Shavnabada Wine Cellar, that will make your experience even more interesting.
Cover Picture © Credits to Facebook/შავნაბადის მონასტერი
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