The view from the Jvari monastery. Here's where the river Mtkvari meets the river Aragvi from Khazbegi. To the right Alaverdi cathedral can be seen.
where East meet West.

Text and photo
Eistein Guldseth, 2006
    The church bells outside the monastery.  
THE ORTHODOX MONASTERY of Jvari stems from the 6th century near Mtskheta in the Mtskheta-Mtianeti region, Eastern Georgia. The name is translated as the Monastery of the Cross. It is approximately 30 kilometers drive from Tbilisi at the main road to Kutaisi. From the church you have a panorama. The river Aragvi from Caucasus meets the river Mtkvari from Turkey and floats together to the

Caspian Sea. You can see the changing color of the water as the rivers floats together. The church is clearly visible for anyone passing by on the main road some hundred meters below. According to traditional accounts, it was here in the early 4th century that Saint Nino, a female evangelist credited with converting the country to Christianity, stayed here to pray and erected a cross on Mtskheta’s highest hill.

From the 6th century.
The first church of smaller size was erected here circa 545 and named as the Small Church of Jvari. A second and large church, named the Great Church of Jvari, was built nearby between A.D. 586 and 605. The Great Church is representative of the tetra conch architectural type that was popular not only in Georgia, but the whole region of South Caucasus. It served as a model for many other churches in the country (e.g. Ateni Sioni). Unusual and varied relief sculptures decorate its facades. The importance of Jvari complex increased over time and attracted many pilgrims. The Great Church is still used for major celebrations, and part of St. Nino’s cross remains visible to this day. The Jvari buildings are now on UNESCOS list of endangered sites


The beutifully restored Jvari Monasteri.


A very popular place to visit. Here's an Armenian group.

The monastery is a landmark.