Martkopi monastery complex is located some 30km from Tbilisi, Georgia. This place is best reached by car, but some could get here by hiking too, see: Hiking Route in Georgia - Norio Village - Martkopi Monastery
We first discovered it the end of February 2017 with one goal - to make stunning photography, as I've seen some really nice shots from this place, the truth turned out to be a little bit complicated, it took us about 5km hiking (each way) from Norio village, and once on site, I did find it hard to make that stunning photography. But here is what I think could work - there is another tower atop of Martkopi monastery, take that extra mile and you could produce nice aerial photography or use a drone.
Update: We returned here again in 2020 and this I was equipped with a DJI Mavic mini drone, and I managed to take some cool photography and video
During our latest trip to the monastery, we met priest Dato, with whom we are now friends on Facebook. We have been told that the place shelters about 100 people, disabled persons, and homeless people. Now, that's the true spirit of a church.
Martkopi monastery complex
See that tower in the background? That's the place you should climb to make that special photo if you are not among lucky drone owners.
That's the best I could frame this time - the object is too close, so you are left wither using a wide lens or panoramic photography technique.
Here is some information about Martkopi monastery
Martkopi monastery was founded by father Anton of Martkopi in the 6th century AD. He spent the last 15 years of his life there. He lived as a hermit, what is implied by the "of Martkopi” designation in Georgian. From this designation came the name of the Georgian village Akriani, which initially was called Martodmkopeli and later Martkopi.
The monastery itself is situated on the most beautiful slope of Mount Ialno. The main building is the church of the Divine-Made Icon. The remains of an ancient foundation indicate that on the place of the contemporary cathedral there was an ancient cathedral of greater size, but for some reason in was destroyed.
On the threshold of the XVII-XVIII centuries it was reconstructed and the belfry, which was constructed in 1629 by master Akhverd, belongs to this period. In the XVII century the ancient frescos were destroyed and in 1848-1855 under the leadership of Ivane Arjevanidze, the monastery was restored.
For a long time, a Divine-Made image brought by St Anton of Martkopi from Edessa was stored at the monastery. But in 1395 it was lost during the Tamerlane invasion. The most sacred place of the monastery is the tomb of St Anton of Martkopi, which has been preserved to this day and is considered miraculous. East of the monastery there is a tower where evidently resided the saint.
A chamber with skulls and bones
I wouldn't say I'm a huge admirer of things like that, but I did find it interesting seeing skull and bone chamber for the second time in a short time, see: Green (Mtsvane) Monastery