ABOUT THE RELIGIOUS IMPORTANCE OF TAO-KLARJETI
In Georgian historiography the North-East parts of Anatolia, in particular Artvin, Erzurum, Ardahan and Kars are referred as part of Tao-Klarjeti. The mentioned region had gained particular importance during the IX-XII centuries. Here, even back to the era of King Vakhtang Gorgasali had started the building of the monastery, that took intensive form during the later period, when the Tao-Klarjeti kingdom. In the written source of the Xth century, "The life of the Gregory of Khandzta", we encounter the information that a priest from Kartli came to Klarjeti and enhanced the monastery-building and trained students. During the IXth century Ashot I The Great who had been expelled by the Arabs had moved to Klarjeti and established a kingdom there. Ashot I the Great and his descendants had helped Gregory of Kandzta in establishing the monasteries in Klarjeti and therefore assisted the establishment of spiritual culture in the region. During the later period, the Bagration dynasty had been divided into three branches: the main branch-Bagrationi's of Tao, the Kingdom of Georgia and the Bagrationi's of Klarjeti. During the later period the Bagrationi's of Tao had become stronger and they had assisted in buidling the new monasteries during the Xth century. By establishment of the monasteries in Tao-Klarjeti, the establishment of schools and educational institutions had also been present, where the Christian religion, philosophy, foreign languages and arts had been taught. Apart from this, these institutions where the places, where the stories about the saints had been written, where the original religious songs and theological texts had been produced. To sum up, we should say that these territories played significant part in the development of the Georgian culture and therefore, it deservedly had been called as "Georgian Sinai".
Keywords: Tao, Klarjeti, Artvin, Erzurum, Church, Monastery.