Ancient monastery in middle of Caucasus border dispute
Monks settled on this arid land in the early 600s, less than 200 years after Georgia became one of the first countries to adopt Christianity. They carved their homes into the stone and over the centuries built churches and towers that loom overhead on the long road to the monastery.
A handful of black-robed Georgian Orthodox monks still live here much as their forebears did, maintaining long-held traditions of seclusion and reflection. The modern world intrudes only in the form of occasional tourists on day-trips from the Georgian capital Tbilisi, about 85 kilometres (55 miles) away...
From one side of the ridge, eastern Georgia spreads out below at the foot of the snow-capped Caucasus Mountains. On the other, a steep drop leads down to the western steppes of Muslim Azerbaijan.
But neither country can agree on exactly where the border lies and tempers have flared in recent weeks with both sides claiming the land Davit Gareji sits on as their own.
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