Shuamta Travel Guide

  • The three churches of Dzveli Shuamta
    The three churches of Dzveli Shuamta
    by JLBG
  • Dzveli Shuamta
    Dzveli Shuamta
    by JLBG
  • Akhali Shuamta
    Akhali Shuamta
    by JLBG

Shuamta Things to Do

  • Akhali Shuamta, the bell tower

    The bell tower stands left to the entrance. It is clearly seen that it was built in bricks, as well as the other small buildings that half hide its basement. We did not stay long enough to hear the bells ringing. I was impressed by Dzveli Shuamta but rather disappointed by Akhali Shuamta that I found unfriendly.

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  • Akhali Shuamta, the church

    Though we were not more than 100 meters away, the church could not be seen clearly. It was built in the XVIth century by Tinatin Gurieli, the wife of King Levan II and has some wall paintings preserved from that period. It was later restored by Irakli II. I have found that it was built in bricks and designed in the form of a cross. I have also...

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  • Akhali Shuamta, entrance into the...

    The final enclosure has an entrance with other warning signs (photos 1 and 2); It says “The guests of the Monastery are requested to wait at the gate for the sister of the Monastery, who will lead them into the Church”, and another “Ring the bell” (I hope this is not the bell from the bell tower !)Photo 3 shows another poster addressed to guests.We...

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  • Akhali Shuamta, alley towards the...

    Once passed the outer entrance, an wide ally framed by tall pine trees lead to a second entrance, in the inner enclosure. On the right, in the haze, a church with a round tower can be seen and on the left, the clock tower, together with several smaller buildings, most probably designed for housing.

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  • Akhali Shuamta, the outer enclosure

    Akhali Shuamta is closer to Telavi but stands also in the forest. Unlike Dzveli Shuamta, it is locked as it is still a living monastery.The outer enclosure seems to have been built recently. It is all built in cobblestones but here the cobblestones are arranged to be seen. On the entrance a large warning (last photo) tells that men should wear...

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  • Dzveli Shuamta, inside the VIIth-VIIIth...

    The smallest dome church is no different from the basilica and the larger dome church: the inside is bare, white washed and black stained. The visit of Dzveli Shuamta is a must because of the setting of the churches in a small clearing in the middle of a forest wilderness, not for the inside

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  • Dzveli Shuamta, inside the VIth-VIIth...

    Same as the basilica, the interior of the dome church is white washed and stained with candle black. The apse has no columns, unlike the basilica. All three churches are built with cobblestones but only in this one can the be seen: on the others, the cobble stone are coated and completely hidden. The walls are made of cobblestones and only the...

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  • Dzveli Shuamta, from basilica to dome...

    The basilica and the dome church are very close, side by side : there is less than 2 meters between them.Photo 1 was taken from the basilica towards the dome church (southwards view)Photo 2 was taken the other way, from the dome church towards the basilica (northwards view)Photo 3 was taken the same way but from the north wall (southwards view)

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  • Dzveli Shuamta, inside the Vth-VIth...

    The inside of Dzveli Shuamta is white washed and there are no paintings on the walls. The walls are dotted with black produced by the combustion of wax candles and by wax that has flowed from the melting candles.The apse is sustained by three columns (photos 1 and 2)

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  • Dzveli Shuamta, the three churches

    On arrival, one sees only two churches and it is difficult to see the three churches altogether and how they are set.On photo 1, I have made a montage that shows the three churches : from left to right, - the apse of the first basilica (V-VIth century), - the apse of the second church (VI-VIIth), a domed church same as Jvari Church in Mtskheta but...

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  • Deciduous forest at Dzveli Shuamta

    The word "Deciduous" means "trees with leaves falling off or out at a certain season". This is why in April, all trees had pale green leaves just coming out. The type of deciduous forest found in many part of Georgia is named Colchian forest. It is characterized by a variety of trees but here around Shuamta monastery, I noticed mostly Black Alder...

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  • Amphorae at Dzveli Shuamta

    In Greece, each monastery makes its own wine, kept in amphorae. Though there are no monks anymore in Dzveli Shuamta, empty amphorae are still leaning on the ground close to the churches. Though, as Dzveli Shuamta is surrounded by forest, I wonder where they could possibly grow vine.

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  • Worshipers at Dzveli Shuamta

    All of a sudden a pale sun pierced through the thin haze, just when arrived a full makrushka load of Greek worshipers that we had already seen in Ikalto. That brought some color to the sight and the landscape was not a fairy tale décor anymore!

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  • Dzveli Shuamta, churches in the haze

    After the grid, a narrow meadow surrounded on both sides by the forest leads after 200 meters to the buildings of the monastery. There are three churches but at first only two show in the haze (photo 1).Photo 2 and 3 show the church on the right.

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  • Dzveli Shuamta, the entrance

    On arrival at Dzveli Shuamta (old Shuamta) monastery, the hazy forest makes the landscape unreal and looking almost like a fairy tale décor. Behind the grid, are we going to find the Sleeping Beauty’s castle or Bluebeard’s mansion?

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Shuamta Transportation

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    How to get to Akhali and Dzveli Shuamta 1 more image

    by JLBG Written Nov 13, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Dzveli Shuamta stands 8 km south east of Telavi as the crow flies. The drive is about 15 km among beautiful deciduous forests that on the day of our visit were pleasantly hazy. Drive west of Telavi on M38. After 6 km, leave on the right the M38, do not take in front the Shuamta Tsivi Mountain but turn left to the Old Shuamta gravel road.

    On a clear day, the drive to the Tsivi Mountain (gravel road) should offer a landscape on Old Shuamta and further on Telavi. We did not try it as it was too hazy.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Road Trip
    • Religious Travel

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