Located in Kakheti, southeast of Tbilisi near the Azerbaijan border, the David Gareja Monastery is a rock-hewn Georgian Orthodox monastery complex. It’s perhaps the most remarkable of all Georgia's ancient sites.
The 6th century David Gareja monastery, also known as Davit Gareja, Davit Gerejaor David Gereji, is one of Georgia‘s most important landmarks. It’s located on the arid half-desert slopes of Mount Gareja, in the Kakheti region of Eastern Georgia, at an elevation of 695m above the sea level. Monstrously neglected during the Soviet era, the monastery is located in a very remote area. It's pretty much a lunar landscape in many places, but it's transformed from April to early June when the steppe flowers bloom.
The road to the monastery, totally isolated from the community, is called Road 172. Starting from Sagarejo the road is 45km long. It’s a rough dirt track up and down the hills.The road is in a very bad state (4-wheel drive only). This track can get very muddy and slippery after rain making it challenging to get through. During and after a storm the road may be impassable, even with a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
This trail passes through remote areas, so you need to be prepared. Remember to carry extra water and a lot of sunscreens as it gets really hot. Take care with the snakes. If you dare to take the risk and travel along this dusty and bumpy route, then make sure to be driven by someone who has experience of the road. Make sure you have a good GPS software, as the road signs are almost non-existent.
Pics: Archil Kikvadze