The Ikalto Monastery Complex has been built about 7-8 km to the north of Telavi. It is founded by one of the Assyrian Fathers, St. Zenon, in the 6th century. It was a vibrant center of Georgian culture, spirituality, and education for many centuries. According to tradition, a school of higher education – an academy had been established here, where a well-known Georgian philosopher Arseni of Ikalto was active (11th-12th cent.). As a result of archaeological excavations, it was discovered that many structures – a workshop, a blacksmith shop, a wine cellar, and other subsidiary facilities existed around the Academy.
There are three churches on the monastery grounds, with the chief one being the 8th-9th century cruciform-domed church “Divinity”, altered in the 19th century and built upon the site of an old church. Despite considerable alterations, in the small Church of the Trinity, parts of the 6th century domed church have survived. And finally, the single-nave church of “All-Holy Virgin” from the High Middle Ages has been preserved here. The monastery churches are currently operational. St. Zenon (commemoration day – 20 May) and St. Arseni (commemoration day – 19 February) of Ikalto are buried here.