Ikalto Monastery is located 10 km away from the city of Telavi, in Ikalto village. The monastery was the first in Kakheti region; it was built in the VI century by a Christian preacher Zenon of Ikalto who was one of the Assyrian fathers settled in Georgia to preach Christianity. Zeno lived in the monastery, preached and healed. He had disciples and followers which led to the expansion of the monastery. Zenon Ikalto was buried under one of the churches of the complex.
The monastery played an important role in the life of the national hero Shota Rustaveli, who studied at the Academy (the Academy was attached to the monastery in the XII century during the reign of David the Builder). In 1616 the academy was destroyed during the invasion of Shah Abbas. Since then the life in the monastery gradually began to fade.
Today, on the territory of Ikalto there are three churches of different eras, as well as the ruins of the academy and the wine cellar, where the monks produced wine. At the entrance, there is the temple of the Holy Spirit (VII – IX cc). The Church of the Holy Trinity (VI c) is on the left. The church of Assumption of the Virgin was built last (XII – XIII centuries).
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