Grotto of St Simon the Zealot

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Novy Afon, Georgia

Grotto of St Simon the Zealot Novy Afon Reviews

maykal maykal
85 reviews
Grotto of St Simon the Zealot Jul 07, 2016
I have to admit, I didn't know where the path behind Psyrtskha Station was going to take me, but a dozen other tourists seemed to know what lay ahead as they strode purposefully across the railway tracks and followed a stream through the woods. Just by a waterside cafe, I spotted one of the rarest things in Abkhazia, a sign for tourists, this one showing a map of a tour through the woods visiting a couple of small waterfalls and a cave. There was some description underneath, but it was all in Russian, so it wasn't until I got home and looked up Novy Afon on Google Earth that I found out what I had seen.

A rough path leads uphill through the woods, and eventually you reach some steps leading up into the rocks. The steps become steeper and narrower until they disappear into a cave. It was hard to see, suddenly plunged into darkness like that, but I felt my way up using the rock and found myself inside a tiny little church. Once my eyes had adjusted to the candlelight, I noticed I wasn't alone and that there was quite a crowd in this hot and sweaty little cave, all busy with prayers behind a priest who was chanting. It probably isn't the done thing, but turning my phone on silent I took a couple of photos without flash, trying not to disturb anyone in the process. They're the two very dark and blurry photos above. I took a photo of the entrance too, to show how dark it was, but realised on editing the photo that by reducing the shadows, people appeared in the cave! The reality is much much darker.

Anyway, back home I found out this was the grotto of St Simon the Zealot, the cave where he spent a long time praying. Back down by the busy waterfall, the not-that-old looking 10th church of St Simon the Zealot was built on the spot where he supposedly was killed, and sits neglected next to an equally neglected museum on the opposite bank of the stream to where all the action happens (like cafes, shops, tourists having fun with chained up animals, that sort of thing...) Both the church and the museum were fenced off (for renovation I hope), so I can't tell you too much about either.
Entrance to Grotto of St Simon the…
Grotto of St Simon the Zealot
Stream on the way to Grotto of St …
Church of St Simon the Zealot
planxty says:
Another brilliant find, just shows what you can discover just by following the locals, they usually know.
Posted on: Mar 26, 2017
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Grotto of St Simon the Zealot Map
Novy Afon
photo by: maykal