On the border with Azerbaijan, the ancient monastery complex of Davit Gareja Lavra. The surrounding area offers great wild camping opportunities. The original monastery, was founded by Davit Gareja, one of the 13 ascetic Syrian fathers who returned from the Middle East to spread Christianity in Georgia in the 6th century. The monasteries were destroyed by the Mongols in 1265, revived in the 14th century by Giorgi V the Brilliant, sacked by Timur, and then destroyed on Easter night 1615 when Shah Abbas’ soldiers killed 6000 monks and trashed many of the artistic treasures. The monasteries never regained their former importance, though they remained active until the end of the 19th century. During the Soviet era, the military used the area for exercises and vandalised the monasteries.
Sighnaghi sits on a hilltop 60km southeast of Telavi and is full of 18th and 19th century architecture with an Italianate feel. Sighnaghi has some great views over the Alazani valley to the Caucasus beyond, and is a pleasant place to spend a night.
Sighnaghi was originally developed in the 18th century by King Erekle II, partly as a refuge for the area’s populace against Lezgin and Persian attacks.
In a couple of days we will crossover into Azerbaijan. Although we are in a picturesque part of Georgia a front of rain is passing through. Not camping weather! Will be glad to leave, to many churches and monasteries.