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Shio-Mghvime Monastery

The Shio-Mghvime monastery (Georgian: Shio-Mghvime, literally meaning "the cave of Shio") is a medieval monastery complex in Georgia, near the town of Mtskheta. It is located in a narrow limestone canyon on the northern bank of the river Mtkvari (Kura), some 30 km from Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital.

According to a historic tradition, the first monastery community at this place was founded by the 6th-century monk Shio, one of the Thirteen Assyrian Fathers who came to Georgia as Christian missionaries. St. Shio is said to have spent his last years as a hermit in a deep cave near Mtskheta subsequently named Shiomghvime ("the Cave of Shio") after him. The earliest building – the Monastery of St. John the Baptist – a cruciform church, very plain and strict in its design, indeed dates to that time, c. 560s-580s, and the caves curved by monks are still visible around the monastery and along the road leading to the complex. The Upper Church (zemoeklesia) named after the Theotokos is a central part of the Shio-Mgvime complex constructed at the verge of the 12th century at the behest of King David IV of Georgia.