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Historical township of Nekresi was located in Kakheti, near the hamlet of Shilda in today’s Kvareli region, on the mountain slope. The township was founded by the king of Kartli, Parnajom (II c. BC). In IV century king Mirdat built here a church where Assyrian st. Father Abibos Nekreseli settled in the VI century and Episcopacy Cathedra was founded. From Nekresi the political and cultural influence of the Kartli Kingdom spread to Hereti, mountainous regions of eastern Caucasus and Dagestan.

The Nekresi complex encompasses several monuments the oldest of which is Small Basilica of the second half of IV century (size: 4,6 x 3,8m, one of the first Christian constructions in Georgia). Big three-church Basilica was constructed in the name of Assumption of the Virgin Mary in VII century and was painted in XVI century (in the western part of the southern wall there are portraits of king Levan and his spouse Tinatin under the auspices of whom the paintings were made). And the dome church derides from VIII-IX centuries. From the two-level palace of Nekresi Bishop there are only ruins left. The tower was added to the Palace in XVI century. On the territory of the monastery have also survived remnants of living and farming buildings. Archeological excavations in Nekresi have discovered character signs which in the opinion of the part of scholars are ancient Georgian inscriptions. Nekresi is surrounded by stone fence which used to have entrance from south-west.

Nekresi observes the procedure distinct from all Orthodox churches. Only in this church they slaughter a hog. This tradition stems from one occasion. Nekresi fortress was assulted and surrounded by the Lezghins. When the Georgians felt that difficulties are unbearable, they resorted to a sly prank: they slaughtered all swines available in the fortress, spilled the blood over the fence and dropped the meat. Muslim Lezghins lifted the siege and returned back. So was spared the fortress and the monastery from plunder. After that every November 7 the celebration called Nekresoba is held.

Copyright © 2011. Publishing House “Clio”

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