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Azerbaijan, Georgia Agree On Access To Border Monastery

  • RFE/RL's Georgian Service

The David Gareja monastery is one of the Georgian Orthodox Church's most sacred sites.

The David Gareja monastery is one of the Georgian Orthodox Church's most sacred sites.

Visitors to one of the Georgian Orthodox Church's most sacred sites were able on May 21 to visit the entire complex after the border agencies of Georgia and Azerbaijan reached an agreement on access.

Earlier this month, the Azerbaijani government began preventing pilgrims from visiting the small portion of the 6th-century David Gareja Monastery that Baku says lies inside its borders.

The agreement between both countries came after the presidents of the two states discussed the issue on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Chicago.

The two countries have been unable to delimit the border in the region since they gained their independence two decades ago.

Baku regards the territory as a "strategic height."

The monastery complex comprises more than 20 churches and numerous caves over about 25 square kilometers.

With reporting by AP

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