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Unique Frescos Damaged at David Gareji Monastery Complex

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, May 24
Unique frescos have been damaged at David Gareji cave monastery complex in the south-east from Tbilisi, The National Agency of Cultural Heritage Protection has reported.

The damage have been made on the frescos of the monastery church and in the dining-room.

“The damage is superficial, inflicted by line of chalk and the frescos can be clean and restored,” the agency representative Beka Baramidze said.

He stated that in most cases students or tourists stand behind the damage.

He stated that the complete restoration of the monastery complex and creation of a special mechanism to protect the cultural heritage will avoid such vandalism.

David Gareji served as a centre of monastery activities and grew to incorporate an increasing number of cave monasteries in the area over centuries.

In the 12th Century Georgia's famous King David the Builder made David Gareji state property and supported its development but the unique place also suffered damages through invasions over the next two centuries.

Today the cave complex serves as one of Georgia's premier cultural tourism destinations along with the Vardzia cave city in the country's south and mountainous villages of the Caucasus range.

Georgia's unique David Gareji monastery cave complex was selected by the National Geographic Magazine among its "most wild and beautiful" places from across the world.

“David Gareji is a complex of 19 medieval cave monasteries. Considered masterpieces of Georgian art, the caves once housed nearly 5,000 monk cells."

One cave is still functioning as a monastery, and monks can sometimes be heard chanting in the eerie silence of the deserted steppe," said National Geographic.