European experts in Georgia to safeguard David Gareji monument

  • The 6th century complex is located in Georgia’s south-east. Photo: Europa Nostra., 7 Nov 2018 - 17:40, Tbilisi,Georgia

The David Gareji Monasteries and Hermitage, one of Georgia’s most revered sites of cultural heritage, is in focus of a delegation of European experts looking to safeguard the endangered monument.

A delegation from Europa Nostra, a continent-wide heritage organisation, and the European Investment Bank Institute arrived in Georgia this week to visit the monument.

They will study the site — named among Europe’s seven most endangered sites earlier this year — to prepare a report for its safeguarding.

The team includes Piet Jaspaert, Vice-President of Europa Nostra, Campbell Thomson, Technical and Economic Adviser contracted by the Investment Bank Institute and Gaianè Casnati, Conservator Architect and Council Member of Europa Nostra.

They are led in the mission by Maka Dvalishvili, Head of the Georgian Arts and Culture Centre, which nominated the site for the list of endangered sites. The centre is cooperating with the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia.

The European delegation of heritage and financial specialists will meet with local, national and transnational authorities and stakeholders [...] with the aim of mobilising efforts towards saving this masterpiece of Georgian culture”, Europa Nostra said.

David Gareji is a complex of 22 rock-hewn monasteries and more than 5,000 sanctuaries and cave-cells, located in Georgia’s south-east.

Dating back to the 6th century CE, it is noted by Europa Nostra for its "combination of rock architecture, medieval murals, prehistoric archaeology and paleontological fields”.

The principal threat of "irreversible deterioration” facing the complex is coming from the disintegration of the rock formations comprising it.

The experts involved in surveying the monument will present their report for safeguarding it in early 2019.