This place is picturesque year-round, but it is particularly stunning in the autumn when the red and yellow stones look like they’ve been taken straight from an artist’s palette. The Shio-Mghvime monastery is a medieval monastic complex near the town of Mtskheta. It is located in a narrow limestone canyon on the northern bank of the Mtkvari River, some 30 km from Tbilisi. According to historic sources, the first monastic community in this place was founded by the 6th-century monk Shio, one of the thirteen Assyrian monks 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 medieval monastery consists of several buildings from different periods: The oldest is the Monastery of St. John the Baptist (dated 560-580) – a simple cruciform building with an octagonal dome; The Upper Church Theotokos (12th c) a domed church destroyed by invasion and in 1678 restored as Basilica; Refectory (12th -17th cc); the Cave of St. Shio (6th c ) and a small chapel (12th c) adorned with medieval murals and standing separately on a nearby hill.
The distance from Tbilisi is 30 km (30 min) and from Mtskheta 13 km.