Monastery Sapara is located near the town of Akhaltsikhe, about 30 km from Vardzia. Its name is translated as «shelter». Well, it is really hard to find it in a wooded mountain valley.
To get to it from Akhaltsikhe is better through the village Hreli. It is about a kilometer, and then there is a straight road to the monastery. Sapara was built in the X — XI century. It was being rebuilt and restored for a long time. Now it is male functioning monastery. Now it is opened to public, you can even stay there overnight. Beautiful frescos are preserved on the walls of Sapara.
The technology of cross-dome system was well developed, so in the construction of such elegant buildings much attention was paid to compositional and decorative elements. Temples are decorated with ornaments carved in the stones: this art reached extraordinary richness and diversity in the middle of XI century.
Carving is becoming deeper and more plastic, which creates a play of light and shade. The walls and vaults inside the temple are covered entirely with paintings. The rich decoration is always logically “merges” with the building. It is the time of the artistic maturity.
The structures of the golden age are characterized by total external and internal balance, peace, monumentality. It may seem that the Georgian churches are a bit harsh. It is not like this, because the colour of the stones gives a joy of life, because the walls have bright and warm colours and the sizes of buildings are proportionate to the «human sizes». Also it is a big pleasure to see how the buildings blend with the area. Do not miss the next post, because it will be about the art of painting churches!