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World Heritage Site

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Gelati Monastery

Gelati Monastery

Gelati Monastery is the distinctive expression of the flowering of feudal monarchy in medieval Georgia.

The Gelati Monastery (near Kutaisi) was founded in 1106. It remained for a long time one of the main cultural and enlightening centers in old Georgia. It had an Academy which employed the most celebrated Georgian scientists, theologians and philosophers. The Gelati Monastery has preserved a great number of murals and manuscripts dating back to the 12th-17th centuries.

Map of Gelati Monastery


  • Cultural

Community Reviews

Verena Gautschi, Lucerne, Switzerland 17-Oct-13

Our group from Switzerland visited both places this September. We were happy to see that Bagrati Cathedral shows no more outward signs of damage. We were even spontaneously given a little concert of Georgian songs by four men in traditional costumes.

As for Gelati Monastery, it was a great joy that the academy building was completely restored, including a solid roof. So it was easy to picture the academic life of those times.

Alfons and Riki Verstraeten Netherlands 13-Oct-12

After visiting Azerbeidzjan, we continued our trip to Georgia. Wonderful Mtskheta and in Kutaisi: Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery. The construction inside Bagrati Cathedral to restore the building is perfect, but outside, left from the entrance it is awful

Irene Kopaliani, USA 05-Jul-12

We've visited Bagrati Cathedral yesterday. The restoration process is coming full force, transforming the building. During my last visit, the church had no roof. Now, the roof is done and building is almost reconstructed. I really enjoyed the "original" no roof look. Now, it looks just like any other church in the area.

Solivagant UK

Gelati Monastery by Solivagant

The “double headed” WHS of “Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery” consists of a ruined (in 1691 by the Turks) Cathedral of the 10th to 11th centuries in the town of Kutaisi and a (still functioning) monastery complex built between the 12th to 17 centuries situated in the countryside some 12kms away.

Apart from the geographical proximity and the fact that, taken together, the 2 buildings represent a long and continuous period of Georgian religious architecture, I know of no reason why they are linked together in a single WHS.

Even in “shell” form the cathedral is an enormous building. It is named after Bagrat III the first king of united Georgia and is no doubt of considerable architectural interest. I also understand the comments made by another reviewer about the open roof not necessarily detracting from its religious impact (UNESCO has severely criticised the idea, apparently floated in the early 90’s, presumably as some sort of “Georgian independence celebration”, of rebuilding the Cathedral!). I however did not find the building and its setting particularly inspiring.

I personally far preferred the Gelati complex. It is beautifully set in countryside of woods and fields of greenest hue. A stream runs through the grounds and the ensemble of 2 main buildings complement each other superbly. The interior contains many fine mosaics and frescos. We had the place to ourselves. (Visited Aug 2000)

Warren Dent, USA

Bagrati Cathedral was a beautiful experience. Our church plans a mission trip every year to the Republic of Georgia to help out orphanges and we always visit Bagrati Cathedral because it is such a beautiful place. We do not have anything like this in the USA. I was so impressed with the architecture and at night our group went up there at sunset and we took candles because there is no electricity. What an awsome experience. We met many native Georgians that night and made many new friends. This will be a place we will always return to because of the many wonderful memories there. I found this quote that I thought was very fitting to Bagrati.

C. S. Lewis once said “that all churches should be roofless, for this very reason: worshipers would be overcome by the world God has fashioned rather than shut up in their man-made boxes.”

Warren Dent

Atlanta, Georgia

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Community Rating

Community Rating 3.57. Based on 7 votes.

Site Info

Full name: Gelati Monastery

Unesco ID: 710

Inscribed: 1994

Type: Cultural

Criteria: 4  

Link: By Name By ID

Site History

  • 2017 - Removed from Danger list After excluding Bagrati Cathedral, which has undergone major reconstruction detrimental to its integrity and authenticity.
  • 2017 - Boundary change Bagrati Cathedral removed
  • 2015 - Referred Major Boundary Modification referred, where Bagrati Cathedral would be delisted and Gelati Monastery was renominated on its own
  • 2010 - In Danger "The Committee expressed its serious concern about irreversible interventions carried out on the site as part of a major reconstruction project. The Committee believes this project will undermine the integrity and authenticity of the site and should be immediately halted." (unesco)
  • 1994 - Inscribed 


The site has 1 locations.

  • Gelati Monastery


The site has 13 connections.





  • Dubbed as another WHS: Gelati Monastery: From its very foundation it was called the "Second Athos" as the cradle of literacy and the "Second Jerusalem" as the religious center. (state party in nomination TList Gelati Monastery)
  • On Banknotes: 500 lari, 1995 Link

WHS on Other Lists

  • World Monuments Watch (past): Gelati Monastery and Academy, Kutaisi (2008)
  • Memory of the World: Georgian Byzantine Manuscripts
  • U.S. Ambassadors Fund : Documentation of Frescoes in the Church of the Virgin in Gelati Monastery (2003), Conservation of the Chapels and Narthex of the Early 12th‐Century Church of the Virgin at Gelati Monastery in Kutaisi (2016)

World Heritage Process