A short drive outside Sighnaghi is a fairly big convent called the Bodbe Convent. We get to the small road in front of the convent – and there is a traffic chaos long before we get to the entrance to the place. There are lots of cars and tour buses trying to find a spot to park. When we see a spot along the road we take it instead of trying to move forward to the parking lot in front of the convent.
After parking it is still a bit of a walk to the convent – but when we look at the traffic along the small road we both agree it was a very vise decision to park when we did. The traffic on the road is chaos with cars parked along one side of the road so there really only is one lane open – and there are lots of cars trying to go both ways. The traffic is gridlocked and it is barely moving while we walk by one car after the other.
After observing the traffic chaos we don’t expect a private visit to the convent where we can enjoy it alone. And there are a lot of people walking around the area of the convent. There are some foreign visitors but it seems like most of the visitor on this Sunday seems to be locals going to visit the convent as a part of a weekend pilgrimage from the nearby Sighnaghi or other villages.
The convent has a fairly big ground with a lot of cypress trees on the ground. There are two churches on the area – the one is pretty old and it is the most famous dating back to the 9th century but it has bene heavily remodeled since. Inside the old church is the grave of St. Nino which is one of the most important saints in Georgia since she were one of the first pilgrims spreading Christianity to the Georgian areas – and she was responsible for the conversion of the kingdom of Iberia to Christianity. The king decided to make a shrine at her tomb and I guess that small memorial later turned into this large convent. Her grave is in the corner of the church and there is a bit of a line waiting to go in and see the grave – unfortunately there are no pictures and a lot people who don’t seem to be ok with tourist snapping a photo while visiting the grave.
There is another bigger church at the convent as well – but this one is newer without the old charm of the other church. It is located right at the edge of the convent from where there is a good view of the nearby country side.
After the visit we walk back out on the street outside the convent. There is still chaos on the parking lot so we are happy we parked a bit down the road. Fortunately the road is still clear where we parked so we can turn the car around and drive away from the chaos to the main road.
We had our own car making it easy to get to the convent. I think it is a two kilometer walk so if you don’t have your own transport you probably will need a bit of time to walk to the place or you can catch a taxi to get you out there and have it wait a bit while you are visiting the place.