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The church is situated on the right bank of the river Chkheri (the left tributary of the river Terek), at an elevation of 2400 meters, under Mt. Svetitskhoveli, known as the burial site of Christ's mantle, has long been the principal Georgian church and remains one of the most venerated places of worship to this day.
It presently functions as the seat of the archbishop of Mtskheta and Tbilisi, who is at the same time Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia. According to the old Georgian annals, the church was built by the King Dachi of Iberia (circa 522-534) who had made Tbilisi his capital.
Davidgareja Monastery Complex is located in the Kakheti region of Eastern Georgia, on the half-desert slopes of mount Gareja.
Among others was the son of the King of Georgia David the Builder (1089-1125), Demetre (Demetre I), the author of the famous Georgian religious hymn "Shen Khar Venakhi" ("Thou Art a Vineyard").
In the 11th century the Davidgareja monastery complex was invaded by Seljuk Turks.
The look of the structure was drastically changed in the 1870s, when a dome was added.
During the Soviet occupation of Georgia, all religious ceremonies at Anchiskhati Basilica were halted, and the building transformed into a museum for handicrafts. From 1958 to 1964 restoration works took place in celebration of the 1500th Jubilee of the founding of Tbilisi, which changed the view of the church back to the seventeenth-century version, however, it was not until 1989, after the independence of Georgia was restored, that the basilica reverted to religious use.
Later David's disciples Dodo and Lukiane founded two monasteries Dodo's Rka and Natlismtsemeli.
The most prominent saint of the 9th century Ilarion Kartveli (Ilarion the Georgian) greatly contributed to the development of this monastery complex. Many prominent monks carried out their activities in Davidgareja.
The city included a church, a throne room, and a complex irrigation system watering terraced farmlands.
The only access to the complex was through some well hidden tunnels near the Mtkvari river.
is a cave monastery dug into the side of the Erusheli mountain in southern Georgia near Aspindza. The monastery was constructed as protection from the Mongols.