Gelati (Georgian: გელათის მონასტერი) is a medieval monastic complex near Kutaisi in the Imereti region of western Georgia. One of the first monasteries in Georgia, it was founded in 1106 by King David IV of Georgia as a monastic and educational center.
The monastery is an exemplar of the Georgian Golden Age and a gold aesthetic is employed in the paintings and buildings. It was built to celebrate Orthodox Christian faith in Georgia. Some murals found inside the Gelati Monastery church date back to the 12th century. The monastery was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 because of its outstanding architecture and its importance as an educational and scientific center in medieval Georgia.
Construction began on the Gelati Monastery in 1106, under the direction of King David IV of Georgia, at which time Kutaisi was the capital of Georgia. It was constructed during the reign of the Byzantine Empire; in this period Christianity was the ruling religion throughout the empire. The monastery's main church, known as Church of Virgin the Blessed, was completed in 1130 (under the reign of David IV's successor, Demetrius I of Georgia), and was dedicated to Virgin Mary. The Monastery also acts as the burial site for King David IV, near which the Ancient Gates of Ganja, which were taken by King Demetrius I in 1138, can be found. The smaller chapels within the monastery date to the 13th century.
In addition to its religious purpose, the monastery was also constructed to function as an academy of science and education in Georgia: King David IV employed many Georgian scientists, theologians, and philosophers, many of whom had previously been active at various Orthodox monasteries abroad, such as the Mangana Monastery in Constantinople. Among its notable scholars were Ioane Petritsi, who translated several classics of philosophy but is best known for his commentaries on Proclus; and Arsen Ikaltoeli, known for his Dogmatikon, or book of teachings, influenced by Aristotle. The Gelati Academy employed scribes to compile manuscript copies of important works, and people of the time called it "a new Hellas" and "a second Athos".